Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Oxford Hills and Washington County Demonstrate Their Innovation

Oxford Hills School District and Narraguagus High School in Washington Country are the 2010 winners of the CI2 Awards, a statewide video contest that highlights Maine’s most innovative, creative, and imaginative school projects. The winners were chosen by the Maine Design Team, a group of educators and thinkers from local schools, the Maine Department of Education, the arts community, and the Maine Learning Technology Institute (MLTI), who have come together to help kickstart Maine’s learning environments and build on all the ways that we can teach our students to imagine, innovate, and create.

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The Oxford Hills School District's video documents the M’iMovie Film Festival, an annual, district-wide film festival that promotes creativity, learning, and student engagement. This year’s festival, the 9th annual, was attended by more than 700 people and featured its usual paparazzi, red carpet and Hollywood-themed awards night. To make it to the festival, teams of students had to collaborate, create, and edit their 5-minute films to perfection.

“We now have students in our middle school and high school interested in making a movie every year to the point of ‘bringing the teacher along’ who has not yet been involved…. Many teachers have reported how there are few discipline issues when the class is working on a movie project, on how the subject area incorporated into the movie has "stuck" with them, and how well they tested on the
subject.” –Richard McIntosh, Technology Support Specialist

Narraguagus High School's video is a great example of how—using students’ ideas—one school creatively re-thought its annual college night to generate enthusiasm and engage high school juniors and seniors in thinking about their futures. With the help of prizes donated from the local community, delicious pies baked by NHS teachers, and a variety of workshops for students and parents, they transformed college and financial aid information sessions into a vibrant community event that has a powerful effect on how students think about their prospects for college.

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“Many of our students at Narraguagus High School are first generation college students. Having an event which fosters such family involvement truly helps pave the way for navigating the often daunting journey of applying to college. This night makes parents ultra aware of what is needed for the FAFSA. It makes parents feel more comfortable having those college discussions with their kids even if they did not attend college. Our students see the advantage of developing positive mentoring relationships…, and they become better skilled at advocating for their needs when it comes to college.” –Brittany Ray, Guidance Counselor

The CI2 Awards take their name from Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity, E=mc2. In Maine, we have a new theory of prosperity for the 21st century, which is that prosperity is tied to education and education is only as good as our students’ creativity, imagination, and innovation. In other words, E=CI2.

The winning schools will each receive a $250 award from the Maine Arts Commission to help fund their future creative projects.

For more information about the M’ iMovie Festival, contact Richard McIntosh, Technology Support Specialist, Oxford Hills School District, rmcintosh@sad17.k12.me.us.

For more information about PIE Night, contact Brittany Ray, Guidance Counselor, Narraguagus High School, 483-2747 or bray@msad37.org.

The Maine Design Team includes the following members:

Angela Faherty, Interim Commissioner, Department of Education
Carol Trimble, Executive Director, Maine Alliance for Arts Education
Argy Nestor, Visual and Performing Arts Specialist, Maine Department of Education
Gretchen J. Berg, Performing Artist, Lecturer in Theater Performance
Gibson Fay-LeBlanc, Executive Director, The Telling Room
Ann Marie Quirion Hutton, Professional Development, Apple Inc
Linda Nelson, Executive Director Opera House Arts, Stonington
Diana Hansen, Music Teacher, Lunt School, Falmouth
Trudy Wilson, Former Coordinator of the Art Education Program at USM
Patrick Phillips, Superintendant of Schools MSAD #61
John Holdridge, Center for Creative Literacy

Advisory Board:

Susan Gendron, Former Commissioner of Education
Donna McNeil, Director, Maine Arts Commission
Jim Moulton, Apple Inc
Jen Oxman Ryan, Education Researcher, Project Zero, Harvard

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