Burns Park Elementary named UMS School of the Year

Editor’s note: A more detailed story about this award and Burns Park Elementary will be published in the Monday, March 15 edition.

The University Musical Society has honored Ann Arbor’s Burns Park Elementary School as its 2009-10 DTE Energy Foundation School of the Year. The award was to be announced to The Ann Arbor Public Schools Board of Education during its March 10 meeting and will be formally presented during the 15th Annual Ford Honors Program to benefit UMS education programs on March 20 in Ann Arbor.

Principal Kathy Morhous said the entire Burns Park school community is thrilled with the honor. “We’re proud to be part of the Burns Park community,” she said. “We all value what the arts bring to life. It’s nice to know we’ve been recognized.”

The DTE Energy Foundation sponsors this award through a two-year financial commitment to UMS’s Youth Education Programs. “UMS is delighted to honor Burns Park Elementary as a cherished partner in bringing arts education to youngsters in Ann Arbor,” said UMS President Ken Fischer.

Fred Shell, DTE Energy vice president of corporate and government affairs and president of the DTE Energy Foundation said the award can make a real difference. “Helping students develop an appreciation for the performing arts is something that can enrich their lives forever,” he said.

The award honors Burns Park for its dedication and commitment to arts education and partnerships. Through myriad activities and relationships, including its partnership with the UMS K-12 Education Program, the school community consistently seeks out new opportunities to discover and explore arts and culture.

During the past year, the school participated in a UMS-sponsored cultural immersion of Detroit’s Mexicantown, a hip-hop performance by Montreal’s Rubberbandance Group, and in a workshop that demonstrated how theater and drama can be used as pedagogical tools to teach tolerance.

In addition to the Burns Park award, Washtenaw Intermediate School District administrator Deb Clancy will be honored as the 2009-10 DTE Energy Foundation Educator of the Year for her work as the WISD liaison to the UMS Youth Education Program. 

Now in its 131st season, UMS presents some 60-75 music, dance, and theater performances and more than 100 free educational and community activities each season. The UMS Education Program reaches up to 25,000 children and adults each year, giving many students their first opportunities to experience the live performing arts.

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