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Farewell and Thank You From the Executive Director

Dear Friends and Colleagues:

I have recently made the decision to leave AEMS and try retirement. Retirement is scary, so I am thinking of this as an attempt to slow down and catch up on some missed fun. My final day at AEMS is Thursday, September 24.

Attached is the announcement for my position, Executive Director of AEMS. As you know, AEMS is a robust organization with both policy and program agendas. I hope you will think about who would be the best person to continue our important work in this present environment of increased attention to the arts.

I have loved joining you in a collective advocacy for the arts for all children in our state. Thank you, each one of you, for being a supporter of the AEMS mission. I will miss you, but in my own way, I will continue to advocate for arts education, artists, arts organizations, and all who teach our young people.


Mary Cary

Cultural Arts for Education (CAFE) - May 28, 2015

CAFE 2015 was a terrific success. The three remarkable thinkers, Dr. Solomon Snyder, Dr. Martha Bridge Denckla, and Ms. Susan Magsamen, filled the opening session with thought-provoking ideas on interconnections between and among aspects of brain research, the arts, and the sciences. The breakout session presenters were excellent, and the student performances reminded us all why we care about access to the arts for all Maryland students. AEMS thanks all of the participants and the presenters for a learning, networking, and fun day.

Honoring the memory of Jay Tucker, retired Coordinator of Fine Arts at the Maryland State Department of Education, who passed away in January, the annual AEMS award was renamed The Jay Tucker Award for Outstanding Leadership in Arts Education in Maryland. As part of the award presentation, remarks were given in memory of his work. During the morning session, the 2015 award went to Dr. Nancy S. Grasmick, former Maryland State Superintendent and current Presidential Scholar at Towson University.

Click here to learn more about CAFE.


Governor Martin O’Malley’s P-20 Leadership Council Unanimously Approves Task Force Report on Arts Education

Tuesday, September 16, Governor O’Malley’s Leadership Council voted unanimously to accept the recommendations from his task force on arts education. These ten recommendations are based on the principles of equity and quality of arts education. The Governor, winner of both state and national awards in leadership in the arts, has expressed his strong support of students having access to the arts in their PK-12 education by stating, “The arts give our children the skills and diverse knowledge they need to become the leaders and innovators of tomorrow.”

The recommendations are on policy, curriculum and instruction, resource allocation, and professional development. Mary Ann Mears, co chair of the task force and founder of Arts Education in Maryland Schools (AEMS), stated in her remarks to the council that the arts “connect our whole being because they speak to our emotions, our reasoning, and our creativity.” Her co chair, Dr. Jack Smith, Chief Academic Officer at MSDE, stated that “students need a complete education.” All council members expressed their support by voting yes; there were no abstentions.

The full tast force report can be downloaded here: Task Force Final Report

An executive summary of the task force report can be downloaded here: Task Force Executive Summary of Final Report

The Review of the Literature and Bibliography can be downloaded here: Task Force Appendix C: Review of the Literature and Bibliography

STEM + Art: A Brilliant Combination by John Ceschini

John Ceschini, former AEMS Executive Director, wrote STEM + Art: A Brilliant Combination which was published in the December 3rd Edition of Education Week. His article investigates the power of integrating the arts into other subject areas, especially STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) subjects. As an educational leader, John is able to see firsthand the value of arts-integrated learning..

The full article can be found here.

Introducing the New National Core Arts Standards

On Wednesday, June 4, 2014, the National Coalition for Core Arts Standards (NCCAS) launched the new National Core Art Standards and interactive website. The new preK-12 standards for dance, media arts, music, theatre, and visual arts are now available. The standards were written by and for arts educators to support quality teaching and learning. They were shaped with the input of more than 6,000 educators, teaching artists, parents, students, and focus groups. The standards integrate the four artistic processes — creating, performing, responding, and connecting — with the skills and knowledge, sample assessments, and criteria necessary for successful arts learning. The new, interactive NCAS website can be found here.

Four Maryland Principals Named Outstanding Leaders in Arts Education

Arts Education in Maryland Schools (AEMS) Alliance announced the 2014 Alvin and Louise Myerberg Arts Leadership Recognition Awards on March 13th at a luncheon held at The Walters Art Museum. The winning principals were John Ceschini, principal of Seven Oaks Elementary in Anne Arundel County, Barbara Liess, principal of Kensington Parkwood Elementary in Montgomery County, Regina Rando, principal of Willards Elementary in Wicomico County, and Dr. Sharon Robbins, principal of Sudbrook Magnet Middle School in Baltimore County.

There were fifteen nominees who were recognized at the luncheon, and they represented nine counties in the state. All of the nominees received Certificates of Acknowledgement for establishing arts-rich environments in their schools. The four winners received a trophy and a monetary gift to support their arts programs. School system leaders and teachers attended the luncheon to show support for their principals. Lyn Frankel, Chair of the AEMS Board of Trustees, Mary Cary, Executive Director of AEMS, and Dr. Jack Smith, Chief Academic Officer at the Maryland State Department of Education, gave remarks and congratulated all of the principals. Wendy Jachman, AEMS trustee, spoke of her parents in whose honor the awards are given.

For more information about the winners and nominees, click here.

Governor Martin O'Malley's P-20 Leadership Council Creates a Task Force on Arts Education in Maryland

On Monday, September 16, 2013, Governor Martin O’Malley’s P-20 Leadership Council voted unanimously to have a statewide task force on arts education in Maryland schools. Dr. William E. (Brit) Kirwan, Chancellor of the University System of Maryland, made the initial motion to endorse and commented on the power of the arts in his life and the importance of the arts for all students. Co chairing the task force will be nationally known sculptor and founder of Arts Education in Maryland Schools (AEMS) Alliance, Mary Ann Mears, and Dr. Jack Smith, Deputy Superintendent at the Maryland State Department of Education. Governor O’Malley’s commitment to arts education is longstanding, and he has been recognized nationally with the prestigious Public Leadership in Arts Award. To continue Maryland’s standing as a national leader in education, the Governor wants to ensure that all students have access to a quality education which includes the arts. Council members commented on the critical importance of creativity and innovation in the workforce and the need for students to have a creative edge in order to be globally competitive. The P-20 Task Force on Arts Education will present the final report to the Governor and the Council in September 2014.

Task Force Press Release

Task Force Charge

ArtsEdSearch – new resource from Arts Education Partnership (AEP)

"ArtsEdSearch is the nation's first online research and policy clearinghouse focused entirely on student and educator outcomes associated with arts learning in and out of school. Featuring user-friendly summaries of high-quality research, and overviews of current research examined through different lenses, ArtsEdSearch provides reliable and objective information about the academic, cognitive, personal, social and professional outcomes of an arts education. ArtsEdSearch also identifies gaps in research and serves as a valuable roadmap for researchers and funders looking to tackle the most pressing education issues of our time." – from Arts Education Partnership website

Bates Middle School featured on Edutopia's "Schools that Work"

Edutopia's Schools That Work series profiles K-12 schools, districts, and programs that are dramatically improving the way students learn. Wiley H. Bates Middle School, in Annapolis, MD, was chosen as a School that Works because of their strong arts integrated classrooms.

To see the video and find out more...

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Mary Cary Retiring as AEMS Executive Director
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