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July 2013 Archives

Usdan-Finale_2012GalaJazzEnsemble_for web.jpgUsdan Center for the Creative and Performing Arts, the renowned summer arts day camp now in its 46th season, will present its annual Gala Concert on Wednesday July 31 at 7 PM at the McKinley Amphitheater on the Center's 200-acre woodland campus.

The 2013 Concert will feature the World Premiere of two new pieces by Usdan Dance Chair/Broadway choreographer Maurice Brandon Curry, including one set to the songs of Judy Garland. They will be performed by students from Usdan's advanced dance programs, the Ballet and Jazz Intensive and the Ballet Interns. Last year's new Gala work by the chair, "An American In Paris", set to the George Gershwin music and videotaped in performance, was chosen as Dance Spirit Magazine's "Video of the Month"; and performances by the Usdan Jazz Ensemble, Senior Concert Band and Senior Chorus. The conductors will be Adam Glaser (Conductor of the Pre-College Orchestra at The Juilliard School), Orchestra; Robert Dalpiaz, Concert Band; Karen Lehman DiMartino, Senior Chorus; and Andrew Giammalvo, Jazz Ensemble.

Choreographer Maurice Brandon Curry is former Director of the Joffrey Ballet School and has directed, choreographed, and produced events as diverse as the Michael Awards for the Fashion Industry, tours and videos for Diana Ross and Prince.

Usdan Center's Gala Concert is the highlight of its summer season, during which 1,600 children, ages 6-18, study the arts with the Center's faculty of world-class artist-teachers. Students travel each day from New York City and throughout the Tri-State Area to the Center's campus in Huntington, Long Island. Since its founding in 1968, Usdan has introduced the arts to more than 60,000 children in the tri-state area through more than 40 three, four and seven-week programs in music, dance, theater, visual arts, writing, nature & ecology and chess.

There are also special opportunities for advanced high school-age performing and visual artists including Music Staff Internships, a Summer Ballet Intensive, and a Summer Jazz and Tap Dance Intensive.

For most of Usdan's programs, admission is based simply on an expression of interest in the arts. One-third of students attend on scholarship. Although the mission of the Center is for every child to establish a relationship with the arts, the unique stimulation of the Center has caused many to go on to arts careers. Alumni of the Usdan Center for the Creative and Performing Arts include jazz singer Jane Monheit, Natalie Portman, Olivia Thirlby and Mariah Carey. #

Usdan Center is an agency of the UJA-Federation of New York. For more information on Usdan Center, write to info@usdan.com, call (631) 643-7900, or visit www.usdan.com.

Tickets for the Gala concert ($25) can be obtained by writing to gala@usdan.com, calling (631) 643-7900, or by visiting www.usdan.com/gala. Special Patron packages including priority parking, pre-concert dinner, and priority seating are also available; call Patrice Frank at (631) 643-7900.

Usdan-Finale_2012CelloEnsemble_for web.jpgUsdan Center for the Creative and Performing Arts, the nationally renowned summer arts day camp, has long presented unique summer workshops on the latest techniques for arts educators. This summer, Usdan presented "Finale: A Vibrant Tool For Today's Music Educators" at the Center's 200-acre Long Island campus. Certified Finale clinician David Dolgon taught the workshops, which covered the notation and composition program that is the industry standard in music notation software, enabling composers, arrangers, musicians, teachers, students and publishers to create, edit, audition, print and publish musical scores.

Dolgon is a clinician for MakeMusic!, the creators of Finale. He has presented staff development workshops for the NY State Council of Administrators of Music Education, school districts and county organizations, in addition to teaching both graduate courses and music theory to high school students.

Usdan Center has introduced the arts, nature and ecology, and chess to more than 60,000 students ages 6 to 18 in its 46-year history. It presented the first New York State-wide Music Educator Technology Conference on Long Island and originated Long Island's first Canadian Brass summer workshops, attended by music educators from across the country. Other workshops have covered "Differentiated Instruction and Rubrics" and "Choral Conducting: Connecting Music and Literacy," taught by distinguished vocal music educators. The Center has also offered workshops for dance teachers in ballet and jazz techniques.

Usdan Center for the Creative and Performing Arts is open to all young people ages 6-18. No audition is needed for most programs - rather, admission is based on an expression of interest in the arts. Each summer, 1,500 students are transported to the Center in air-conditioned buses each day. One-third of Usdan's students attend on scholarship. Although the mission of the Center is for every child to establish a relationship with the arts, the unique stimulation of the Center has caused many to go on to arts careers. Alumni include members of musicians, singers, actors and dancers that have achieved worldwide renown. #

For more information, write to info@usdan.com. Call (212) 772-6060 or (631) 643-7900, or visit www.usdan.com.

Guest Editorial
By Anand R. Marri, Ph.D.
In these increasingly complex and uncertain economic times, many of us have tested our own financial literacy and gained a humbling respect for luck. We have tested what, in 2008, the President's Advisory Council called "the ability to ... manage financial resources effectively for a lifetime of financial well-being." While there will always be forces beyond their control as well, for young people, financial literacy increases their chances of being self-reliant and fully independent, even under the duress of straightened circumstances and a difficult economy. They also need financial literacy in recognition of their interdependence. They need financial literacy so that, when they go to the polls, they go with an understanding that their own financial well-being is deeply connected to the well-being of the nation as a whole.

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Like other forms of literacy, financial literacy can be developed in young people with practical, hands-on learning that draws on their current life experiences. Just as importantly, financial literacy must give young people the tools to imagine their future, to dream about it and to plan for it.
To strengthen and expand personal finance instruction in New York City classrooms, Teachers College, Columbia University through the generosity of Trustee Joyce Cowin, has developed a financial literacy program that will strengthen personal finance learning where it is most needed: in urban high school classrooms that serve students from immigrant and working-class families -- families which, under economic duress themselves, are least able to model financial literacy.

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Developed especially for social studies teachers, and in partnership with Working in Support of Education (W!SE), our initiative combines intensive professional development with the opportunity to create lessons that can be easily integrated into history and economics classes. Much of any existing curriculum is set by state and local requirements. Teachers will learn how to work inside these existing course contexts by using self-contained lessons -- lessons that can be dropped into these courses at multiple points.
Scholars have found that improving the financial education of teachers remains the best way to reach students, particularly those from at-risk backgrounds. Simply put, teachers need to understand the concepts of personal finance to effectively convey financial concepts and practical applications to their students.
The project's curriculum and professional development program will focus on helping teachers learn the principles of financial literacy (money, budgeting, cost of money, banking, credit, insurance, investing, financial planning and regulation) and how to teach these principles dynamically through a case study method. Once we have successfully piloted the program in New York City, we will work with W!se and other organizations and develop national financial literacy programs for students across the country. #
Dr. Anand R. Marri is an associate professor of social studies and education at Teachers College, Columbia University, principal investigator for the Understanding Fiscal Responsibility Project, senior research affiliate at the Institute on Education and the Economy and interim program coordinator for the program in social studies. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in curriculum and instruction.
Pictured above
Top: Teachers College Trustee Joyce Cowin has developed a financial literacy program in urban high school classrooms.
(L-R) Founder, President & CEO of W!SE Phyllis Frankfort Perillo, with longtime financial literacy advocate and philanthropist Dr. Charlotte Frank at an awards ceremony celebrating the 100 Best High Schools for Teaching Financial Literacy around the U.S., held at the New York Stock Exchange.

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