Category: Board News

Advocate for Arts Education During COVID-19

During these uncertain times, MAEA members are working hard to advocate for the continuation of rigorous arts education programs and educators. There are advocacy resources available here to help support and advocate for your local and state arts programs. In addition, use these images to help promote the arts on your websites, blogs, and social media pages.

Right click to download the image below and share using the hashtag #ArtsEdIsEssential #VisualArtsEdMatters #wickedsmART and tag @NAEA or (@WhyArtMatters on Instagram) and @MassArtEd.

Join us for our 1st MAEA Virtual Confab

MAEA wants to hear from art educators across the state during this time of remote learning. Join Melissa Mastrolia, MAEA President, as well as other MAEA Board members on Thursday, June 4th at 7:30pm to check in and speak about your experiences with remote learning and teaching. The virtual confab (informal conversation) will be held on Zoom, details below. Can’t make this virtual confab? We plan to host more in the future!

Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 831 8024 7150  Password: 544206
Dial by your location: +1 646 558 8656 US (New York)

Resources for Remote Learning

With many art educators across the state planning for distance learning or online learning for at least the next three weeks, through April 6, the MAEA Board of Directors wanted to share a collection of resources we’ve put together ourselves or have seen shared online.

Each school and/or district are approaching this differently, so please check with your appropriate administrator before implementing any of these resources.

If you have additional items to add to this resource list, please feel free to email with additional materials.

Governor Announces Emergency Actions to Address COVID-19

March 15, the Baker-Polito Administration announced a three-week suspension of school operations for educational purposes at all public and private elementary and secondary (K-12) schools in the Commonwealth beginning Tuesday, March 17, and a series of new guidance and legislation in response to COVID-19.

“Our administration is taking these rapid steps to protect the health and safety of our residents to mitigate the spread of COVID-19,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “We know that a lot of the measures we are putting into place, including mandatory school closures and prohibiting gatherings of 25 people or more, will cause disruption in people’s day to day lives. With the steps we are taking today, we can ensure residents can still access key state services while taking necessary precautions to limit the spread of COVID-19.”

“The legislation our administration is filing will help ease burdens on cities and towns regarding municipal governance as they work to keep their residents safe,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “We look forward to working with the Legislature to swiftly enact these bills to help provide our cities and towns with relief.”

The bills and guidance that Governor Baker outlined today include the following:

Schools in the Commonwealth

Elementary and Secondary Schools: suspend educational operations from March 17 until April 6. Full order available here.

Given the evolving data regarding cases of COVID-19 and out of an abundance of caution for the health and safety of children and school staff, the Governor is ordering a 3-week suspension of school operations for educational purposes at all public and private elementary and secondary (K-12) schools in the Commonwealth (not including residential and day schools for special needs students), beginning Tuesday, March 17 and continuing until Monday, April 6. The suspension of educational programming would not necessarily affect the availability of school buildings for the provision of food or other essential non-educational services. As April 6 approaches, the administration will provide additional guidance.

During this period it is critical that students and their families, as well as school staff, stay home as much as possible. If an individual needs to leave home, it is essential to strictly follow social distancing guidelines by avoiding crowds, canceling social gatherings, and maintaining a safe separation of at least 6 feet from others. Restricting access to school buildings will have little impact on public health if these best practices are not followed in good faith.

Although schools must suspend in-person educational operations, staff should be planning for how best to equitably provide alternative access to student learning opportunities during this period and potentially beyond. Equally important, school personnel should develop plans for ensuring to the greatest extent possible that families have access to essential non-academic services for their children – especially involving special education and food services for students who are most vulnerable.

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) will work in partnership with schools and districts to develop strategies and resources to sustain learning and vital services throughout this closure period. Already, DESE has received a partial waiver from the U.S. Department of Agriculture providing greater flexibility regarding food service in certain districts with higher concentrations of low-income students and is actively pursuing additional waivers for the remaining schools and districts.

Early Education and Care:  follow EEC/DPH guidance regarding closure based on actual cases

The suspension of educational operations at K-12 schools will inevitably affect the provision of pre-school and childcare services. Although we are not ordering the closure of childcare programs at this time, we are strongly urging childcare providers to strictly observe guidelines that are being issued by the Department of Early Education and Care (EEC) and the Department of Public Health (DPH), which call for temporary closures based on actual direct or indirect exposures to individuals with COVID-19.

At the same time, EEC will prioritize the maintenance and expansion of childcare capacity serving front-line healthcare workers and first-responders across the state.

Higher Education: continue to move towards remote learning

With regard to higher education, the Department of Higher Education and DPH strongly recommend that colleges and universities, both public and private, continue to pursue strategies to reduce the need for students to be on campus, including suspending in-person classes and implementing institution-wide programs to shift to remote learning, technology enabled solutions, and other tools to allow students to successfully complete course and degree requirements. Institutions should also pursue strategies to reduce the need for faculty and staff to be on campus by maximizing remote work opportunities, while maintaining essential on-campus services, especially for residential students who cannot safely return home.  Additional guidance will be forthcoming.

The Administration will continue to update the public on further developments and individuals are encouraged to consult both the Department of Public Health and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention websites for the most up to date information.

The latest information and guidance regarding COVID-19 is always available at

DESE COVID-19 Information & Resources

As many schools are choosing to close for the next week or longer, we want to share more information from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has shared more information about the 180 School Day Requirement.

Message from DESE – Read full message here.

In light of concerns about possible school closings for public health reasons, I have updated DESE’s guidance about the requirement for 180 days of school to provide relief to districts. (Note: The Department will continue to revisit this guidance if the situation warrants it.):

  1. All days lost to health, weather, or safety emergencies between the first day of the school year and March 15 must be made up by rescheduling full school days to ensure a 180-day school year.
  2. All days lost to health, weather, or safety emergencies between March 16 and June 1 must be made up to ensure a 180-day school year or until the district has reached its previously-scheduled 185th day, whichever comes first. If all five snow days have been used prior to this point, the district is not required to scheduled additional school days.
  3. Districts will not be expected to make up any days lost to health, weather, or safety emergencies that occur after June 1.

This change means that if you have already canceled school for five days before March 15, you do not need to schedule additional make-up days for any days that school is closed after March 15. The longest that any school district will be required to go is its scheduled 185th day. No schools will be required to be in session after June 30. This policy applies to the current (2019-20) school year only. Anyone who feels that they have special circumstances should contact Associate Commissioner Helene Bettencourt at  or 781-338-3120.


Join the Board!

We are always looking to welcome MAEA members to the Board of Directors and Committees. All board meetings and committee meetings have the option to meet virtually, so we welcome members from across the state!

We have the following positions open for a partial or full term:

  • Museum Education Division Director – Now – December 31, 2020
  • Middle Level Division Director – Now – December 31, 2020
  • Retired Representative – Now – December 31, 2021
  • Awards Committee Chair – Now – December 31, 2020
  • Exhibitions Committee Chair – Now – December 31, 2021

Interested in becoming more involved, but aren’t ready to take the plunge into an official board position? Consider joining one of our active committees like awardsyouth art monthpublic relationsstudent recognitions, or exhibitions .

For additional information about responsibilities and descriptions please refer to the MAEA Bylaws, Article III: Directors and Representatives .

Questions? Please contact Melissa Mastrolia at

Welcome and Thank You!

The MAEA Board of Directors is excited to welcome our new board members and a number of returning board members. Thank you to everyone for your commitment to MAEA. View the entire Board of Directors .
Newly Elected Board Members
Jacob Ginga – President-Elect
Newly Appointed Board Members
Rebecca Kostich – Secondary Division Director
Alyssa Taranto – Media Arts Representative
Margaurita Spear – Early Childhood Representative and PD Committee Chair
Continuing Board Members
Melissa Mastrolia – President
Laura Marotta – Past President
Jaimee Taborda – Secretary
Helen Downey – Treasurer
Billy Claire – Independent Schools Representative
Heidi Hurley – National Art Honor Society Representative
Lydia Gruner – Special Needs Representative
Laura Evonne Steinman – Community Arts Representative
Katie McEwan – Elementary Division Director
Kay Furst – Higher Education Division Director
Patty Klibansky – Supervision/Administration Division Director
Rebecca Bourgault – Preservice Division Director
Diana Adams Woodruff – Student Recognitions Committee Chair
Shannon Carey – Conference Committee Chair
Eleena Rioux – Youth Art Month Committee Chair
Alice Gentili – Advocacy Liaison
Jane McKeag – Publications Editor
Brittany Martinez – Webmaster
Special thanks to Tobey Eugenio and Sheila Tetler who are stepping down from their roles as Middle Level Division Director/PD Committee Chair and Retired Representative. We wish them well and know they will continue their work supporting the mission of MAEA!