BPS elementary students will have the opportunity to spend quality time with award winning author, Maria Dismondy, this week as part of the Author & Artist in Residency Program. Sponsored by the Birmingham Education Foundation (BEF), the Author & Artist in Residency Program links children in the BPS district with a real author or artist for real-life exposure to the arts.
“Thanks to the BEF, Greenfield Elementary along with seven other schools in Birmingham are honored and excited for the upcoming author visits with Maria Dismondy! Maria’s mission to empower children to be themselves is the theme of March Reading Month at Greenfield. Maria works to inspire boys and girls to write stories using their creativity. She encourages them to allow their individuality to pour into their writing through her books; Spaghetti In A Hot Dog Bun, Pink Tiara Cookies for Three, The Potato Chip Champ, Spoonful of Sweetness, Chocolate Milk, Por Favor!, and The Juice Box Bully. Her message of courage and kindness for students to ‘BE THE DIFFEFERNCE’ is contagious beginning with every student, spreading through classrooms, families, and throughout the Birmingham community. We are grateful for this opportunity to welcome Maria Dismondy!”
Dismondy, a Michigan resident, aims to empower children through her writing. Regarding her visit to BPS elementary schools, Dismondy says, "I am thrilled to be visiting the Birmingham School District. Sharing timeless messages in my books through school assemblies allows students to see how an author takes an idea through the writing process to create a published book. I am inspired to teach children necessary skills needed in life such as problem solving, empathy, kindness and more."
The Authors and Artists Program will continue later this spring, when author Eric Kahn Gale visits BPS middle schools to talk with students about his books, The Bully Book and The Zoo at the Edge of the World.
Music in our Schools!
Many of you may know that March is Reading Month, but did you know that it is also Music in Our Schools month? To celebrate, we are highlighting the many ways that we support BPS music programs!
The BEF is proud to support the annual fourth grade field trip to experience a live performance of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, at Orchestra Hall in Detroit with a grant of $3,318. The fall program exposed students to a variety of music, from classical to contemporary, as well as introducing students to the instruments that make up the orchestra. The students were able to listen to a performance of Hedwig’s Theme from Harry Potter, and shout along to the DSO’s masterful performance of Mambo, from West Side Story. Feedback from students was overwhelmingly positive, as you can see below:
Berkshire Middle School has a new choir teacher this year, and Ms. Priebe is doing a terrific job! This November, she was awarded a $1,200 grant to purchase world drumming equipment for her sixth grade general music classes. In her grant request, Ms. Priebe said that it was her goal to use the equipment in conjunction with her background in music therapy to engage all of her students, especially the different learners in her class who often struggle to participate in daily classroom activities. On March 2, Ms. Priebe was able to put the drums to use in her Berkshire Middle School Spring Concert!
Students in the Groves Band and Seaholm Orchestra received support to bring musicians from the Detroit Chamber Winds and Strings in to their classrooms, thanks to a grant from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, and the BEF. Students had the opportunity to work in small groups, called sectionals, with professionals and to learn from their experiences.
The Groves Orchestra also had the opportunity to work with professional musicians this year. A $3,000 grant from the BEF supported bringing five string players from the DSO in to the school, including assistant concert master Hai Xin Wu. Orchestra director, Paul Shawver said, “Not every student has the opportunity to have world class musicians come right in to their classroom, and we are so thankful to the BEF for this grant and for supporting bringing DSO musicians in to work with our students here at Groves High School.”
If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to take part in one of these sections with a top musician, take a look at the video below, featuring Hai Xin Wu working with the first violins.
The BEF is proud to support BPS music programs, and all of the more than 8,000 students attending Birmingham Public Schools! Thank you for helping to make these opportunities possible for our students.