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September 3, 2010

Volunteer Spotlight: UMS Teacher Advisory Committee

By Omari Rush

Please note: Updated information about the UMS Teacher Insight Group (formerly the UMS Teacher Advisory Committee) can be found on

While I would like to think that UMS Education staff have fully-formed, brilliant ideas that spring from our heads into realization or that we know intuitively what the school community needs, that’s not quite how our UMS Youth Education Program works.

Rather than solely relying on our own ideas, we consult quite a bit with our UMS Teacher Advisory Committee, an invaluable and indispensable resource to us. Its members (about 40 educators from throughout southeastern Michigan) represent the range of K-12 stakeholder and service providers: classroom and retired teachers, administrators, school board members, university faculty and staff, and others.

We see these folks formally three times a season and informally throughout the year in meetings at our office, in the lobby at performances, at professional development workshops for teachers, or in various community meetings. During these interactions, the committee members let us know what’s working and what’s not…and they feel comfortable being very honest…

In our chats with this committee, we might learn the following:

– that a prospective Youth Performance fits in perfectly with certain grade level content expectations or that a school group loved/hated a past Youth Performance

– that teachers are now choosing professional development sessions based on based on state certification standards rather than just based on their personal interests

– that a school district is focusing its energy on improving student achievement in one particular content area, like math

The volunteer service they provide of sharing this feedback with us allows UMS to stay responsive to the K-12 community and it’s a service that we GREATLY APPRECIATE and upon which we rely heavily.

Thank you to all who participate and we’re happy to have any interested educator join us. For more info contact me at 734-615-0122 or


Omari is the Education Manager at UMS. He is a recovering clarinetist, and an avid NASCAR fan.