Turnaround Arts Adds New School Districts and Expands Focus to Early Childhood LearningTurnaround Arts Adds New School Districts and Expands Focus to Early Childhood Learning

The President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities (PCAH) will expand its successful Turnaround Arts initiative into five additional school districts, as the program continues to successfully help turn around low-performing schools, narrow the achievement gap and increase student engagement through the arts, announced the committee’s co-chairs, George Stevens Jr. and Margo Lion. This follows last year’s major expansion of the program after a Booz Allen Hamilton evaluation of the program’s effectiveness. Turnaround Arts now reaches over 24,000 of the country’s highest-needs students in 50 schools in 14 states and the District of Columbia.

The newly expanded program is funded through a public-private partnership, receiving over $5 million over the next three years from the U.S. Department of Education, the National Endowment of the Arts, the Ford Foundation and other private foundations and companies to bring arts education into low-performing schools. The program leverages approximately an additional $10 million contributed in local funds over the same period. The money will be used to hire new arts and music teachers; bring teaching artists, art supplies and music instruments into schools; and support arts integration with other core subjects such as reading, math and science.

In addition to its overall work in K-8 grades, Turnaround Arts also announced a new focus on Early Childhood Learning. With funding and support from the U.S. Department of Education, Turnaround Arts will provide specialized support and resources to Head Start and Pre-K through 3rd grade classrooms in Turnaround Arts schools to allow them to build creative, engaging and dynamic learning experiences for their students.

The program also added new  “Turnaround Artists” to support individual schools’ arts education goals: Paula Abdul, David Blaine, Misty Copeland, Cameron Diaz, Carla Dirlikov, Macy Gray, Jack Johnson, Thom Mayne, Mike McCready (Pearl Jam), Tracy Reese, Jake Shimabukuro, and Bernie Williams. These artists will join Troy Andrews (aka Trombone Shorty), Marc Anthony, Elizabeth Banks, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Frank Gehry, Clarence Greenwood (aka Citizen Cope), Josh Groban, Elton John, Rashida Jones, Jason Mraz, Tim Robbins, Doc Shaw, Russell Simmons, Chad Smith and the Silk Road Ensemble in adopting Turnaround Arts schools. PCAH members and artists who have been working with the program since its inception include Chuck Close, Kerry James Marshall, Edward Norton,Sarah Jessica Parker,Kal Penn, Kerry Washington, Forest Whitaker, Damian Woetzel, Alfre Woodard, John Lloyd Young, and Yo-Yo Ma.

National partners in Turnaround Arts include the U.S. Department of Education, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Ford Foundation, the Herb Alpert Foundation, the Rosenthal Family Foundation, the Keith Haring Foundation, the Steven and Alexandra Cohen Foundation, Crayola LLC, the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Foundation, and Music Theatre International. New partners to the program include the AOL Charitable Foundation, Little Kids Rock, JCPenney Cares, and the Wolf Trap Institute for Early Learning Through the Arts. The program is administered in partnership with Americans for the Arts.

Participating schools were competitively selected by program partners according to national guidelines. Selection criteria 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 in urban and rural settings. More information about the Turnaround Arts program and profiles of selected schools can be found here: http://turnaroundarts.pcah.gov