Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Presidentís Committee selects Perpich for national arts education initiative

White House committee selects state agencies, Perpich Center and Minnesota State Arts Board, for prestigious arts initiative to help improve schools in Minnesota

Contact: Debra Kelley, 763-279-4167, debra.kelley@pcae.k12.mn.us at Perpich Center for Arts Education for information, interviews, photos or video.

Washington, D.C. – Today the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities announced that Perpich Center for Arts Education in Golden Valley, Minn. has been selected to direct the Minnesota program of the national arts education initiative, Turnaround Arts, to help turn around school performance. 

The Turnaround Arts initiative is a public-private partnership designed to narrow the achievement gap and improve student engagement through the arts. Minnesota is one of three states and three city school districts in the country chosen through a highly competitive national selection process to participate in the second phase of the program. The program will be funded through monies from the state legislature and the Minnesota State Arts Board along with community support.

“We are honored to have the opportunity to be involved in the Turnaround Arts program,” said Sue Mackert, executive director of Perpich. “We have always been a force for arts education in Minnesota’s schools and we have worked intensively with teachers, administrators and teaching artists since our beginning to establish strong arts programs and arts integration practices. Just like our national partners in this endeavor, we know that arts education facilitates greater learning and academic success.”

Serving on the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities since 2009 is Minnesota State Senator Richard Cohen, chair of the Minnesota Senate finance committee. Turnaround Arts has been a centerpiece endeavor of the committee.

“We have extensive research suggesting the correlation between arts education and academic achievement,” Cohen said. “We’ve seen it here in Minnesota through the work that Perpich is doing. The committee has collected both anecdotal and empirical evidence showing the difference the arts can make in a school. It is significant and can truly turn around a school’s trajectory. It’s very rewarding to know that four Minnesota schools are going to benefit from this program.”

The selection process of participating schools in Minnesota will be completed within the next month. The first year of the Minnesota program will begin in July 2014 and will involve four schools that encompass a diversity of student demographics — urban, suburban and rural — that have applied, met the criteria and chosen by Perpich through a stringent, nationally-vetted process. 

Schools in the program receive intensive arts education resources and expertise and the schools’ communities will be involved in strategic planning processes with guidance from Perpich. The President’s Committee has appointed high profile artists – Clarence Greenwood (aka Citizen Cope), Doc Shaw and Sarah Jessica Parker – who will “adopt” Minnesota Turnaround Arts during the next two years to support the schools’ educational reform efforts. Local Minnesota artists and cultural organizations also will participate with funding from the Minnesota State Arts Board.

Perpich Center in Minnesota was selected by the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Education, the National Endowment for the Arts and several private foundations. Other locations chosen for the second phase are in California, Louisiana, Boston, Chicago and Des Moines. The first phase of Turnaround Arts was launched in May 2012. 

First Lady Michelle Obama, Honorary Chair of the President’s Committee, said, “The Turnaround Arts program has exceeded not just our expectations, but our wildest hopes and dreams. With the help of this program and some School Improvement Grants, math and reading scores have gone up in these schools… attendance is up, enrollment is up…parent engagement is up…suspensions have plummeted…and two of the schools in our pilot improved so dramatically that they are no longer in turnaround status. And today, the students in these schools are engaged in their education like never before.” Extensive information is available at turnaroundarts.pcah.gov. 

Mackert and Cohen led a Minnesota delegation of educators to the White House today to participate in a Turnaround Arts event hosted by Michelle Obama and the President’s Committee. The delegation includes two third-graders from McKinley Elementary STEM School in Owatonna, Carter Strawmatt and Lauren Waypa, and their art teacher, Amanda Gislason. They demonstrated a Claymation activity used to engage McKinley students in a science project in their classroom. The Owatonna contingent was chosen as a result of participating in Perpich‘s professional development network in arts integration for the past two years. Bob Olson, principal at McKinley, also attended. 

“We are proud to be involved in the kick-off,” said Principal Olson, whose school focuses on STEM—science, technology, engineering and math—but has essentially become a  “STEAM” school through its work with Perpich, integrating arts into its STEM curriculum. “We believe very strongly in integrating arts at our school. It fits perfectly for us and we’re happy that two of our students will be able to demonstrate our success with it.”

“Arts integration is a proven way to get the kids excited about what they’re learning,” said McKinley art teacher Gislason. “It motivates them and at the same time allows our teachers to address multiple standards and outcomes.”

Studies have proliferated on the importance of access to arts education, such as those by the Council on Foreign Relations, the Department of Education and the National Endowment for the Arts and the Perpich Center, citing better grades, increased creativity, higher rates of college enrollment and graduation as well as higher aspirations and civic engagement. 

Research shows that when students participate in the arts they are four times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement, have higher GPAs and SAT scores and show significantly higher levels of mathematics proficiency by grade 12. They are also more likely to be engaged and cooperative with teachers and peers and are more self-confident and better able to express their ideas. These benefits are particularly pronounced in high-poverty schools.

Turnaround Arts arranges for locally and nationally delivered professional development for instructors and administrators in participating schools. Also provided are art supplies, musical instruments and the involvement of high-profile artists, actors and musicians to increase student engagement, improve school morale and environment, boost parent involvement and foster creative thinking and innovation. 

The program will provide both uniform and customized resources to respond to the particular arts education-related needs of the individual schools selected to participate, including:

In-school professional development for the entire teaching staff

Strategic planning support and principal and teacher coaching

Partnerships with community arts education and cultural organizations

Teaching artist partnerships to provide supplemental instruction and teacher professional development

Funds from the Minnesota State Arts Board of up to $75,000 per school in FY 2015 and again in FY 2016

Participation in a national network of school leaders and teachers through Turnaround Arts

In its first year, the Turnaround Arts piloted the program in eight schools around the country. Each of the eight locations was a public elementary or middle school in the lowest-achieving five percent of its state that was receiving School Improvement Grants (SIG) through the U.S. Department of Education. 

The pilot phase tested the hypothesis that strategically implementing high-quality and integrated arts education programming in high-poverty, chronically underperforming schools adds significant value to school-wide reform. The approach is based on the premise that arts education provides powerful levers to improve school climate and culture and increase student and parent engagement—all of which contribute to improved academic achievement and reform efforts. 

A preliminary assessment of the pilot schools shows that the hypothesis is holding true, with math and reading scores going up and students and families increasing engagement. The report leading to the establishment of the Turnaround Arts program as well as a new interim report on its effectiveness can be found at www.pcah.gov/publications

Perpich Center for Arts Education is a state agency serving all schools, students and educators in Minnesota. Created in 1985 by the Minnesota state legislature, the agency seeks to advance K-12 education throughout the state by teaching in and through the arts. Perpich staff and faculty experts provide outreach, professional development, research, curriculum and standards development. Perpich is home to a public arts education library and an innovative, two-year, statewide residential high school that serves as a living laboratory for creative development in the arts. Additional information about Perpich is at perpich.mn.gov

The Minnesota State Arts Board is a state agency dedicated to ensuring that all Minnesotans have the opportunity to participate in the arts. It receives appropriations from the Minnesota State Legislature and funding from the National Endowment for the Arts and private sources. The Arts Board offers grants, services and other resources to individuals and organizations to stimulate and encourage the creation, performance and appreciation of the arts in the state. Additional information about the Arts Board can be found online at www.arts.state.mn.us.

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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 is an advisory committee to the White House on cultural issues. The committee works directly with the three primary cultural agencies—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. 

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