Cynthia Clingman: “Drop Everything”

By Cynthia Clingman

The MAEIA Leadership Fellows present general and specialized professional learning presentations to educators, administrators, and community organizations who interact with K-12 schools.

Below, Cynthia Clingman outlines what is was like developing her first virtual presentation as a MAEIA Leadership Fellow with colleague, Liz Andrews.

How are you dropping everything, taking risks, and promoting the arts? Share with us in the comments.

As I remember from years ago, I read Beverly Cleary books to my 3 daughters and son.

Beverly Cleary wrote about D.E.A.R. in Ramona Quimby, Age 8. We even have a copy of this book signed by Beverly in 1976. Since then, “Drop Everything and Read” programs have been held nationwide on April 12th in honor of Mrs. Cleary’s birthday.

As we approached the Drop Everything and Read day, I couldn’t help but apply the “Drop Everything” philosophy to our first MAEIA webinar!

The proposition for each of us planning a webinar as MAEIA fellows, is really to “drop everything” and think about how to support the Arts through professional development. Our first challenge was to plan and deliver an overview webinar for interested Arts Educators.

My presentation partner, Liz Andrews, and I discovered this was no easy task! We did have to drop any previous notions that we had about webinars, and really start from scratch.

Here are all the challenges we faced as well as successes we experienced;

Finding a host site

I met with the Professional Development Consultant, Mary Nell Baldwin, at Kent Intermediate. She helped me set a date, reserve a room, and assisted in creating the flyer. She also posted them on the ISD online registration catalog.
How to publicize?

She and I also met with the Assistant Superintendent to request time on the agenda of the upcoming area-wide monthly administrator meeting.I met with 40 administrators on March 2 to provide a MAEIA “pep talk,” encouraging them to share the webinar invitation with teachers.
Tackling technology

I then scheduled a meeting with the technologist, Mark Raffler, to ask for suggestions for setting up the webinar. He suggested using Adobe Connect or Google Hangout. We decided to go with Hangout and scheduled a practice date with Liz. A practice session is critical! What support will the technologist give? Did we have the correct dial-in link? Are we visible, can we be heard? Will we know who has dialed in? Who will advance the slides? It took awhile to sort all of this out.

Develop the Collaborative Responsibilities

In the meantime, Liz and I worked on the presentation PPT slides, created notes for each slide and assigned speaking roles. We printed the slides with notes. We were ready to “drop everything” and go live on March 22nd!

Managing Setbacks 

Of course, there were a few setbacks – the link that we sent to registrants the morning of the webinar, was no longer active in the afternoon! So we put a second technologist to work to help contact the registrants with a new link. Those that dialed in late, though, were unable to connect and had to watch the recording of the webinar the next day. (We sent out the webinar recording, the PPT presentation and evaluation survey the next day).

Do your homework and promotion work!

Secure a location that will give you some technical support, and help with registration. This was so helpful to us.

“Drop everything,” keep a smile on your face, and hope for the best!

Click here for a Printer friendly version of this article.

One Comment

Cheryl Poole

Cindy, thanks to you and Liz for helping to spread the word about MAEIA. Also thanks for breaking down the steps of setting up a webinar through an ISD. What suggestions do you have for finding hosts for a webinar in the event the ISD is not available? How might one go about appealing to a local district or using a community center? Just curious……

Leave a Reply