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The Turnaround Arts initiative ((developed by the U.S. Department of Education and the White House Domestic Policy Council), launched as a pilot program is in 2012, is a public-private partnership to help reduce the achievement gap and increase student engagement through the arts. They work in some of the nation’s lowest-performing elementary and middle schools. This program is set to test the hypothesis that high-quality and integrated arts education helps improve academic achievement and improves school culture in the context of overall school reform.

Turnaround arts program

Turnaround arts program

“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.” (pacha.gov)

Three studies released (by the Council on Foreign Relations, the Department of Education and the National Endowment for the Arts) stressed the importance of access to arts education and said it lead to better grades, increased creativity, higher rates of college enrollment.

Turnaround arts

The Turnaround Arts Program was launched in three Hawaii schools last fall – Kalihi Kai Elementary, Waianae Elementary and Kamaile Academy Charter School. A study by Booz Allen Hamilton et al. found that participating schools showed an average of 23% improvement in match proficiency and 13% increase in reading proficiency over a three-year period. Celebrity artists participate by adopting participating schools over the course of the program. For more information on this program, please click here.

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