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Home > About > News and Events > News > Field News > PCAH To Turnaround Schools Across The Country Through The Arts

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PCAH To Turnaround Schools Across The Country Through The Arts

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Apr 24, 2012

Through the  Turnaround Arts Initiative, the Presidents' Committee on the Arts and Humanities (PCAH) plans to turnaround some of the lowest performing schools across the country and prove the arts can make a difference. The initiative is a new public-private partnership designed to narrow the achievement gap and increase student engagement through the arts. Working in some of the nation’s lowest-performing elementary and middle schools, this program will test the hypothesis that high-quality and integrated arts education boosts academic achievement, motivates student learning and improves school culture in the context of overall school reform.

Turnaround Arts will work in eight “turnaround schools” across the country—public schools in the lowest-achieving five percent of their state that are receiving School Improvement Grants through the U.S. Department of Education. Over the course of two years, Turnaround Arts will bring intensive arts education resources and expertise into these schools and support the school leadership in using the arts as a pillar of their reform strategy. An external evaluation of the program will measure the impact and effectiveness of this approach.

“Effective and high-quality arts education can be a powerful catalyst for successful educational reform,” said PCAH Vice-Chair, Mary Schmidt Campbell, Ph.D. “All of the eight schools selected for this program are tackling overwhelming challenges. And all of them...are committed to harnessing the unique ability of the arts to help surmount those challenges. With Turnaround Arts, our goal is to increase the participating schools’ chances of successful turnaround and, in the process, build a cohort of stand-out case studies in the field that will ignite a national conversation on the ability of the arts to improve the climate and culture of some of our country’s lowest achieving schools.”

Participating schools were competitively selected from nominations by state and municipal authorities. In addition to being recipients of a School Improvement Grant, criteria for selection included demonstrated need and opportunity, strong school leadership with district support and a commitment to arts education. Turnaround Arts schools represent elementary and middle schools from across the country and encompass a diversity of student demographics and urban and rural settings.

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