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K-12 Talk Out: Students on Ragamala Dance

Talk Out: Ragamala Dance Company – School Day Performance | UMS presents from UMS (University Musical Society) on Vimeo.

After each UMS K-12 School Day Performance, students get the chance to reflect on the stage. Hear what students had to say after seeing Ragamala Dance on October 20, 2017.

K-12 Students, Teachers, Artists Come Together for Special Residency

Last year, we worked with 400+ students and teachers during a residency with Ping Chong + Company. What happened may brighten your day.

UMS hosted Ping Chong + Company for an extended artistic residency during the 2017-18 performance season. This residency involved a diverse population ranging from public events, University groups, and seven high schools from throughout southeast Michigan.

Field Trip to Jake Shimabukuro, ukule

Did you know that UMS offers a series of school day performances throughout the season? Performances serve kindergarten through high school students, and teachers receive UMS learning guides to facilitate meaningful connections between the performance and classroom curriculum.

Here’s what two students had to say about ukulele star Jake Shimabukuro:

Find out more about attending UMS School Day Performances.

Celebrating the 2016 DTE Energy Foundation Educator of the Year

We’re pleased to honor Ann Arbor Public Schools teacher Beth McNally as the 2016 DTE Energy Foundation Educator of the Year and Ann Arbor Public School Allen Elementary as the 2016 DTE Energy Foundation School of the Year. The awards honors excellence in K-12 arts education.

Beth McNally is honored as the DTE Energy Foundation Educator of the Year for her passionate commitment to integrating the arts into the core curriculum of Wines Elementary School in Ann Arbor. McNally is especially praised for her exceptional use of arts-integration through her concert performance program, which comprises popular and classic songs, each selected and arranged to reflect the curricular topics of the students’ respective grade levels.

Allen Elementary has become a model among its peers in the integration of arts into the curriculum, in large part because of the collaborative nature of its art and music teachers, Deb Campbell and Kimberly Coulson-Mobley. Campbell and Coulson-Mobley work consistently with the school’s classroom teachers to incorporate the arts with the students’ daily academic curriculum.

Beth McNally and Allen Elemenary were nominated through a public nomination process and will be honored at UMS’s Ovation gala, on Saturday, May 14 at the Crisler Arena Hall of Honors (333 E Stadium Blvd., Ann Arbor, MI 48109).

DTE Energy Foundation sponsors this award as part of a $50,000 grant to UMS Youth Education Programs.

View the full press release [pdf]

NY Phil at Schools

Last week, New York Philharmonic Assistant Conductor Joshua Gersen visited Huron High School and other Ann Arbor area schools as part of a 5-year partnership between the orchestra and UMS.

Interested in more? Explore more behind the scenes video moments with the orchestra on our Facebook page.

UMS K-12 Workshops



Students at Farmington High School created their own dances in a post-show workshop led by UMS Education Coordinator Terri Park. Learn more about how UMS engages the community and check out upcoming events you can attend here. 


Terri Parks Image

UMS Education Coordinator Terri Park taking notes on how students felt about the Abraham.In.Motion School Day Performance.

Students TalkOut After Abraham.In.Motion

After attending a school day dance performance by Abraham.In.Motion students talk out and share their thoughts! Did you attend a performance recently? Share your thoughts on UMS Lobby. 

At the Accessibility Immersion

Participants of the accessibility immersion
This October, UMS Education & Community Engagement hosted several events focused on accessibility, including a workshop for parents and caregivers and a day-long immersion for K-12 educators.

Pictured here, participants at the immersion. Photo by Kelly Van Singel.

Interested in learning more? Check our our other Education & Community Engagement programs.

Kennedy Center Annual Meeting Reflection and Report

The Kennedy Center’s Partners in Education Annual Meeting is a provocative, rewarding, and beyond worthwhile professional development experience…EVERY YEAR! I attend as part of the “Michigan 1997” partnership team, which also includes Robin Bailey (Ann Arbor Public Schools), Jennifer Scott-Burton (Washtenaw Intermediate School District), and Jim Leija (UMS). We get great work done as a team and spend individual time thinking slow, reflecting, and connecting with colleagues from around the country.

Some highlights:

Equally as significant as the convening’s great content delivery was the precipitation delivery that shutdown DC, documented through many tweets.




MI 1997 was highly engaged in leadership roles at this year’s conference…maybe more so than any other team:

  • The whole MI 1997 was a lead presenter in two sessions: “Making Partnerships Work” and “Preparing to Bring Students to Performances and Exhibits
  • Jim gave a presentation on the new UMS TalkOut program at the “Bright Ideas” session (check out the slides)
  •  Robin is on the National Advisory Committee and had various facilitation duties
  • Omari was on the Nominating Committee for the Advisory Committee

Other presenters led wonderful sessions too:

  • Daniel Pink motivated us with his talk about embracing unconstrained work time…”Fedex Time”
  • Ryan Hourigan spoke about the power of making the arts accessible and inclusive to students in special education programs (he’s a U-M PhD alum too!)
  • Eric Jansen presented compelling and fully digestible brain research highlighting the connections between arts learning and personal development
  • ALSO, Barbara Shepherd, Garry Golden, and Eric Booth extended their streaks of presenting bold ideas that invite paradigm shifts in thinking.


We get LOTS done too…and this this year we actually REDESIGNED our UMS K-12 Program!!! More soon…

Three Take Aways

  1. Commit to a Gaudy Goal: something that’s big, ridiculous, and creates stretch
  2. Make Learning Links Explicit: Sometimes the links are so obvious that we forget to do this.
  3. Integrate Advocacy: To be effective, impact assessment and sharing needs to be embedded rather than added on

Our team finds bits of inspiration throughout the Annual Meeting, and some of that comes from hearing what’s inspiring others around the country.

 Photos: From L to R: Barbara Shepherd with Jennifer Scott-Burton (left) and Omari Rush with Eric Booth (right).


What inspires you, Barbara?
“Connecting people to the people they need to know or connecting people to the resources they need to have. That’s what inspires me to come to work every day.”

— Barbara Shepherd, Kennedy Center’s National Partnerships Director, overseeing programs such as the Partners in Education Program and Any Given Child Initiative

What’s inspiring Eric Booth right now??
“El Sistema! Never before has he encountered an idea that has spread around the world with so many different manifestations, but that all have the same core idea of intense arts engagement that produces significant and meaningful social benefits, and each county working within El Sistema has unique social benefits that they are looking to realize. He’s really excited about this moment in time!”

 — Eric Booth (who is described as “the father of the teaching artist profession” and “one of the 50 most important US arts leaders.”)

Photo: Robin Bailey (right) and Kathy Dewsbury-White (left)


What inspires you, Kathy?
“My great colleagues…the good ideas around the US…yeah, that’s what inspires me!”

 — Kathy Dewsbury-White, Arts-Related and Integrated Professional Learning Coordinator for the Ingham Independent School District, and a member of the MI 2007 partnership team.

…and Jim captured video of his inspiration probe:

Now, back in Ann Arbor, our task is to use our refreshed minds to spur the positive change and development we envisioned at the Annual Meeting…it’s definitely possible…and already happening.