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UMS Honors Washtenaw Technical Middle College and Kristi Bishop as DTE Energy Foundation School and Educator of the Year

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UMS Honors Washtenaw Technical Middle College and Kristi Bishop as DTE Energy Foundation School and Educator of the Year

The University Musical Society (UMS) is pleased to honor Washtenaw Technical Middle College as the 2014 DTE Energy Foundation School of the Year and Bach Elementary School Music Teacher Kristi Bishop as the 2014 DTE Energy Foundation Educator of the Year. Both recipients were nominated through a public nomination process. The awards will be formally presented during the 19th Annual Ford Honors Gala (benefiting UMS Education and Community Engagement programs) on Sunday, March 30, 2014.

The Ford Honors Gala will take place in the Michigan League (911 N. University Ave., Ann Arbor) on the University of Michigan campus and follows a Hill Auditorium concert by Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis. DTE Energy Foundation generously sponsors this award through a financial commitment to UMS's Youth Education Program.

The DTE Energy Foundation School of the Year award honors Washtenaw Technical Middle College (WTMC) for its dedication and commitment to arts education. WTMC has become a model among its peers in the integration of arts into the curriculum, in large part because of the efforts of the WTMC English Department.

This fall, the WTMC English Department partnered with professors from the University of Michigan's Theater Department to infuse and deepen the study of Shakespeare into the curriculum. By aligning WTMC's curriculum with the university's productions of Midsummer Night's Dream, Comedy of Errors, and Romeo and Juliet, English teachers at WTMC were able to bring their students to read-throughs, designer presentations, and open rehearsals of the productions to help them connect with the material from the inside out.

Kristi Bishop is honored as the DTE Energy Foundation Educator of the Year for her passionate commitment to integrating the arts into core curriculum at Bach Elementary School.

A longtime vocal music teacher in the Ann Arbor Public School District, Kristi Bishop has eagerly embraced the concept of arts integration and has crafted lessons that allow students to articulate their knowledge of subjects outside of the arts, such as social studies and science. In one project, Ms. Bishop's students wrote songs and created music videos to demonstrate their knowledge of cell structure. Encouraging students to reaffirm and communicate knowledge is not only a key 21st century skill, but also a great way to engage the students with their learning on an entirely different level.

"It's important to recognize the tremendous difference educators like Kristi Bishop and schools like Washtenaw Technical Middle College can make in the lives of young people and in the community at large," said Fred Shell, Vice President of Corporate and Government Affairs for DTE and Chairman of the DTE Energy Foundation. "Integrating the arts within learning opportunities in all subjects can change the way students approach critical thinking, and providing students with opportunities to participate in the performing arts can enrich their lives forever. We are very pleased to again sponsor the DTE Energy Foundation Energy School and Educator of the Year Awards to acknowledge the important contribution teachers, schools, and organizations like UMS make in the quality of life in our community."

UMS President Ken Fischer noted, "UMS is thoroughly impressed with the work that Washtenaw Technical Middle College is doing, especially with respect to using the incredible community resources at the University of Michigan. The arts provide an immediate and deeply-felt gateway to different world views and different moments in history, and they demonstrate the very best in human achievement. The arts contextualize and reinterpret our world and draw from many different skill-sets to do so; exposure to the arts can help young students do the same. WTMC understands this, bettering the lives of young people and the community at large."

Ken Fischer continues, "UMS is also very pleased to honor Bach Elementary School's Kristi Bishop for her commitment to music education and her creative approach. Through her efforts, Ms. Bishop has enriched the lives of her students and taught them new ways to understand, interpret, and communicate the core curriculum through the arts. We are also very grateful for the DTE Energy Foundation's renewed commitment to UMS and its recognition of the value and excellence of UMS's artistic and educational endeavors."

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