Programs & Initiatives - Visual & Performing Arts


In partnership with national non-profit, Little Kids Rock (LKR), the Maine Kids Rock (MKR) Initiative aims to fulfill its vision and mission by focusing on the development of three key areas:

Supporting Teachers and Students

We believe that for any educational initiative to be deemed successful, teachers and students must feel supported throughout each step of its implementation. Therefore, MKR prioritizes the continued expansion of teacher capacity; the establishment of networks of support; and consistent and timely responsiveness to teacher questions and concerns. With the help of the training staff at LKR, we provide both in-person and virtual professional learning workshops targeted to the specific needs of our MKR partner teachers and guided by their regular feedback. Throughout the year, teachers have access to free online resources, to the guidance from the DOE, and, as necessary, to direct one-to-one guidance from the expert staff at LKR. Teachers and students connect and showcase their work at the culminating “Jam Summit” (formerly “Concert at the Capital”). Notably, all first-time partners receive modern band instruments – provided by LKR - for their classrooms.

Establishing and Fostering Sustainable Partnerships

Through 2016, the work of LKR primarily targeted urban schools. Recognizing similar needs in rural areas, like Maine, the Maine DOE initiated a partnership with LKR, resulting in the 2017 pilot of the MKR Initiative. To date, LKR continues to be one of the initiative’s most valuable partners, providing professional development, performance opportunities, and program evaluation. As we consider the sustainability of this work, we recognize the need to build capacity not only among our practicing teachers, but also among our pre-professional teachers. As a result, LKR and the DOE have partnered with the music education departments of UMaine and USM to offer modern band instruction to teachers-in-training. Additionally, the Maine Music Educators Association (MMEA) will have a modern band leader on its board, and will work to incorporate modern band into the existing festival structure of music education in Maine. As the professional association for music education in Maine, MMEA is integral to the shifting of responsibility for maintaining the work of the initiative from the DOE.

Changing the Landscape of Music Education in Maine

We believe that by effectively supporting music educators and establishing sustainable partnerships, the MKR Initiative has the potential to meaningfully change the landscape of music education in Maine, eventually placing modern band in the ranks of concert band, chorus, orchestra, and jazz in our schools. To be clear, this initiative in no way intends to replace existing school music ensembles. Rather, it aims to provide an additional musical experience to those students who may not currently be involved in their school’s music program, ultimately broadening that program’s positive impact. The potential benefits of a quality music education are plentiful, and, as such, we believe that every student deserves access to a music education that is relevant and culturally responsive. This belief is fundamental to the work of the MKR Initiative, and to that of our partners at Little Kids Rock.

Participating Schools

  • Houlton Middle/High School
  • Medway Middle School
  • Central Community Elementary School
  • Hitchborn Middle School/Penobscot Valley High School 
  • Waterville Senior High School
  • Lawrence Middle School
  • Mount Jefferson Junior High School
  • Walton Elementary Schools
  • Sherwood Heights Elementary School
  • Edward Little High School
  • Oak Hill Middle School
  • Winslow High School
  • Mattanawcook Junior High School
  • East End Community School
  • Meroby Elementary School
  • Spruce Mountain High School
  • Orono High School
  • Woodland Consolidated School
  • Winslow Elementary School
  • Searsport District Middle School
  • Windham Primary School
  • Molly Ockett School
  • Southern Aroostook Community School
  • Leavitt Area High School
  • Wisdom High School
  • Washington Academy
  • Marcia Buker Elementary School
  • Andover Elementary School
  • Miles Lane School
  • Nokomis Middle School
  • Glenburn School
  • Easton Elementary/Junior/Senior High School
  • Manchester Elementary School
  • Woodland Elementary School
  • Princeton Elementary School