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WHITE HOUSE COMMITTEE ANNOUNCES EXPANSION OF TURNAROUND ARTS PROGRAM

WASHINGTON, June 3, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- 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 today. 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 22,000 of the country's highest needs students in 49 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 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.

Additionally, the President's Committee announced a number of new "Turnaround Artists," who will work 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, JakeShimabukuro, 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 who work with the program as Turnaround Artists, many since its inception, include Chuck Close, Yo-Yo Ma, Kerry James Marshall, Edward Norton, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kal Penn, Kerry Washington, Forest Whitaker, Damian Woetzel, Alfre Woodard, and John Lloyd Young.

"All children deserve to have access to the arts, not only to discover their passion, but as a tool to engage them in the joy of learning," said Cameron Diaz, actress and Turnaround Artist. "Turnaround Arts is an amazing organization, and I look forward to working to inspire the students at Bethune Elementary in Broward County, FL, to discover and reach for their dreams."

The program will be working in new schools in Bridgeport, CT, in partnership with the Bridgeport Public Schools; Broward County, FL, in partnership with Broward County Public Schools; Hawai'i, in partnership with the Hawai'i Arts Alliance; New York City, in partnership with The Fund for Public Schools; and Washington, DC, in partnership with District of Columbia Public Schools.

"We are proud that the progress at all our existing Turnaround Arts schools has made it possible for us to expand into even more schools and states," said PCAH Vice-Chair and President-elect of Spelman College, Mary Schmidt Campbell, Ph.D. "We continue to demonstrate that high-quality arts education positively changes young lives and turns around failing schools, thanks to the hard work of public and private funders, our artists, program partners, and school educators."

In May 2012, the President's Committee, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Education and the White House Domestic Policy Council, launched Turnaround Arts as a pilot program in eight "turnaround schools" across the country—public schools in the lowest achieving five percent of their state that were receiving School Improvement Grants through the U.S. Department of Education. Over the last three years, Turnaround Arts has brought intensive arts education resources and expertise into 35 schools and worked with school leadership to incorporate the arts as part of their reform strategy. Research evaluation results show that participating schools are demonstrating improved academic performance, increased student and parent engagement, and improved culture and climate. On average, Turnaround Arts schools showed a 23% improvement in math proficiency and a 13% increase in reading proficiency over three years, as well as showing reductions of up to 86% in student disciplinary issues and sharply increased attendance. (To learn more about evaluation results, visit http://1.usa.gov/1J00lrX.)

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 early years of a child's life are crucial to academic success. Schools and classrooms that embrace the arts provide important opportunities for creative expression, play, and discovery as a child develops," said Deborah S. Delisle, Assistant Secretary of Elementary and Secondary Education, U.S. Department of Education. "We are thrilled to partner with Turnaround Arts to provide training and resources for this kind of instruction in our country's highest priority schools."

All schools participating in Turnaround Arts will receive training and resources to address their individual needs. Resources will include a summer leadership program, in-school professional development, partnerships with community arts education and cultural organizations, art supplies, and musical instruments. Participating artists will "adopt" Turnaround Arts schools for the length of the program, working with students, schools, and communities to highlight their success.

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, and JCPenney. 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

More information about the PCAH can be found here: www.pcah.gov

For questions or to schedule interviews, please contact Jody Arlington at jodyarlington@mac.com,202.316.4316, or Annette Larkin at larkinannette@yahoo.com,

(703) 772-6427.

About the President's Committee on The Arts and The Humanities

Created in 1982 under President Reagan, the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities (PCAH) is an advisory committee to the White House on cultural issues. PCAH works directly with the three primary cultural agencies—the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services—as well as other federal partners and the private sector, to address policy questions in the arts and humanities, to initiate and support key programs in those disciplines, and to recognize excellence in the field. Its core areas of focus are education, cultural exchange, and creative economy. Under the leadership of the First Lady and Honorary Chairman, and through the efforts of its federal and private members, the President's Committee has compiled an impressive legacy over its tenure, conducting major research and policy analysis, and catalyzing important federal cultural programs, both domestic and international.

CONTACT: Jody Arlington jodyarlington@mac.com,202.316.4316

Source: Turnaround Arts