Thursday, May 22, 2014
The Arts turn around one failing school in New Orleans and
NEW ORLEANS -- There was a talent show at the White House Tuesday, and the first lady was right in the middle of it. The performers go to troubled schools that have added the arts to their core curriculum to try to turn them around.
Many schools tell you they teach across the content areas but in reality, they only play lip service to this.
"It's not just to have a music education class, you know, during the school day or after school," says Ron Gubitz, the elementary school principal. "But it's actually to use the music and use visual arts and use theater to teach core content."
With the new curriculum, the school has seen a 20 point rise in standardized tests over five years -- plenty of room for improvement, but enough to earn recognition from the White House. Renew is one of the Turnaround schools granted funding to hire more arts teachers, tripling the time kids spend learning the arts.
"We've been doing that work to set a template so that any school sees that it's possible to do this," says actress Alfre Woodard, who volunteers at the school. "Enrollment stays steady, or it goes up, behavioral problems go down and the culture of the schools are transformed."
It's transformed sixth-grader Jarred Gray.
Obama administration program that has been so successful, it was expanded Tuesday to a total of 35 schools.
With so much rhythm in the room, it's hard to imagine music nearly died at one New Orleans school. But four years ago, everything was failing at the school, now known as the Renew Cultural Arts Academy.
Fewer than 15 percent of students could read at grade level. It was one of the lowest testing schools in Louisiana. To read more plus the video... click the link below.