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Burbank Elementary becomes part of Presidential arts program

Grammy winner Jason Mraz will be working with Burbank Elementary School now that it has been selected as one of ten schools statewide to participate in the Turnaround Arts CA, a signature affiliate program of the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities.

Burbank ElementaryOver the next two years, Burbank Elementary will be working with the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities and Turnaround Arts CA to ensure that the arts are an available avenue to success for all students. The school will also have Mraz as its artist mentor, who will work with superintendents and principals to maximize support and awareness for their efforts.

Superintendent Cindy Marten and Principal Rachel Messineo accepted the award at a White House ceremony.

San Diego Unified is nationally known for its commitment to arts in schools, having been named one of America's Best Music Communities two years in a row and being honored by the Kennedy Center in 2011.

Turnaround Arts is a public-private partnership launched by the White House in 2012 designed to help failing schools develop and implement high quality arts education that will be used specifically to effectively address and turnaround the pervasive and persistent problems found in high-poverty, chronically underperforming schools. By using the arts as a strategic tool in failing schools’ turnaround efforts, students are engaged while they learn 21st century skills critical to their success.

“Through Turnaround Arts CA we hope to expand our successes in and out of the classroom by adding more opportunities for our students, families, and teachers to learn through dance, art, drama, and music,” says Burbank Principal Rachel Messineo. “The arts are a proven way to boost student achievement, keep kids interested in school, and help schools connect with their communities. We are thrilled to have been chosen to participate in this cutting-edge program.”

It has been proven that by placing the arts as the heart and soul of a school, leadership is provided with powerful tools in professional learning, curriculum development, improving school climate and culture, as well as increasing student and parent engagement ultimately contributes to improved academic achievement and successful turnaround of a failing school.

There is a growing body of research that demonstrates the positive effect of arts engagement on students. This is particularly important in a state like California where the arts play a significant role in the “creative economy.”

“This isn’t about bringing painting or music lessons to an already failing school and hoping for new and improved outcomes,” says Dr. James Catterall, Professor Emeritus, UCLA and Director of the Centers for Research on Creativity. “This is about the arts as ways of thinking, problem solving, and creative design.”

For more information on Turnaround Arts, please go to http://turnaroundarts.pcah.gov/