Ends on July 28, 2017

Montgomery County Public Schools, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and the Washington National Opera are pleased to announce a new opportunity for professional development for classroom teachers wishing to implement authentic, project-based learning.  Building on years of successful use and development in a handful of MCPS classrooms, this approach to the standard MCPS curriculum emphasizes student engagement—which is linked to positive academic and behavioral outcomes—and utilizes key practices for developing SEL skills, addressing the achievement and opportunity gaps, and developing skills necessary for the 21st-century workplace.

To learn more about this program and its impact, please watch our video here.

Kids Create Opera: A Vehicle for Learning —Professional Development

Who can participate?  No previous background in opera, music, or theater is necessary.  The program is designed for K-5 classroom teachers or equal partnerships between classroom and arts teachers.  However, the professional development seminar is open to all:  classroom teachers, special area teachers, special education and ESOL teachers, principals, staff, volunteers--anyone who may assist in the implementation of the project.  

If you are not currently working with a classroom, please contact staff at akday@kennedy-center.org or (202) 416-8846 before applying to discuss your interest.  We welcome you to apply and to participate.  However, in the unlikely instance that we cannot accommodate all applicants, preference will be given to those who are most likely to implement the program in the classroom in the 17-18 school year.

While the program will be tailored to the MCPS curriculum, teachers from around the greater Washington, DC area are welcome to participate.  In the unlikely instance that we cannot accommodate all applicants, MCPS teachers will be given preference.

Program Description

In this program, classrooms form an opera company in which students write, compose, produce, and perform their own original opera over the course of a full academic year.  This project becomes the authentic vehicle through which the standard MCPS curriculum is learned.  In a process-driven, student-directed project, students take on jobs parallel to those in professional opera companies such as the Washington National Opera (WNO):  composers, writers, PR representatives, set designers, electricians, costume and make-up designers, and performers.  Each student becomes an expert and a valuable, necessary contributor to the company.  The opera is based on a socio-emotional and/or cultural theme, determined by the students and  derived from issues that are important to the class as a whole:  past themes include barriers, failure, longing, empathy, and judgement.  These themes allow students to develop SEL skills as well as to become agents of change and voice in their communities—both of which are vital to growth and engagement.  The program is incorporated into all subject areas.

To help tie student work to the real world beyond the classroom, the Kennedy Center and the WNO provide insight into the work of students’ professional counterparts in opera production through opportunities such as classroom visits from WNO professionals, backstage tours of the Opera House, and tours of the WNO rehearsal and costume studios.

What is being offered?

The Kennedy Center, WNO, and MCPS are offering training and ongoing support to K-5 classroom teachers who are interested in implementing opera creation curricula in their classrooms. 

Kids Create Opera:  A Vehicle for Learning—Professional Learning

  • 8-day intensive session in August 
  • Monthly support meetings for participating classrooms

Kids Create Opera Partnership

A limited number of schools fully implementing opera creation curricula will be eligible to receive the following from the Kennedy Center and WNO:

  • Classroom visits from WNO professionals
  • Backstage tours of the Kennedy Center’s Opera House
  • Tours of the WNO rehearsal and costume studios
  • Dress rehearsal passes for participating teachers
  • Preferential registration for age-appropriate Opera Look-Ins and WNO Dress Rehearsals


Please use the following form to request to be registered for Kids Create Opera: A Vehicle for Learning professional development offered by the Washington National Opera and Kennedy Center Education.  In order for us to adequately prepare for the program, all participants (teachers, volunteers, staff, etc.) must submit an online registration form.  Your answers will help us understand your current goals, concerns, and experiences as an educator.

August 7-12 and 14-15, 2017
9 a.m.-6 p.m. daily

WNO Rehearsal Studios in Takoma Park
6925 Willow St NW
Third Floor
Washington, DC 20012

All materials are provided.

Participation at all sessions is required; participants must commit to attending each day for the full time period.  
During the training, participants will go through a parallel process similar to that which students will experience in the classroom.  Participants must commit to participating fully in all activities.  

Washington National Opera will cover the cost of participation for all attendees.

Optionally, teachers may choose to take this course for graduate credit from Trinity University.  Additional fees and registration processes will apply.  The cost is as follows:
Non-credit:  $0
3 credits:  $375
6 credits:  $750 (additional course requirements apply)
(Note:  Once a credit option is selected, it cannot be changed)
If you are interested in taking the course for credit, check the corresponding box on this online registration form to receive additional instructions.

Once your application has been reviewed, you will receive notification of your acceptance into the workshop or if further information is required.  

(202) 416-8846
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