Montgomery Selected for National Arts Program

Montgomery Elementary Selected for National Arts Program
Posted on 04/18/2018
Montgomery Elementary Students are part of a nationally recognized arts program.

A nationally recognized arts organization will add John J. Montgomery Elementary to its high-profile network of campuses that use the arts to strategically support student learning and school improvement efforts.

Turnaround Arts: California was co-founded in 2014 by renowned architect Frank Gehry and arts education advocate Malissa Shriver to administer the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts’ Turnaround Arts program statewide. Ten high-need elementary and middle schools have been added to its network of now 27 schools across 20 school districts.

Arts supporters point to the relationship between students who are involved in the arts and academic achievement. Montgomery Elementary launched an arts academy that happened to coincide with a dramatic increase in Fifth grade student Aubrey Garcia hits the right note, thanks to an arts-infused curriculum.standardized test scores. CVESD Superintendent Francisco Escobedo, Ed.D., noted that Montgomery Elementary students posted the District’s highest year-over-year increase in English language arts  scores on standardized tests last year, with an incredible growth of 15.2%.

Montgomery is one of 18 CVESD schools to receive a VH1 Save the Music Foundation instrument grant. Montgomery also serves as one of the District’s five San Diego Youth Symphony and Conservatory “Community Opus Project” sites. Additionally, this year, the school launched a partnership with La Jolla Playhouse.

“Montgomery Elementary is already demonstrating how arts education can transform learning for all students,” Dr. Escobedo said. “Montgomery’s selection as a Turnaround Arts school validates its efforts to strengthen and enhance the arts as part of our broader goal to develop the ‘whole’ child. There is ample evidence to support the connection between academic success and the arts. We are honored to have a partner such as Turnaround Arts: California and help disseminate best practices throughout the state.”

Montgomery Principal Monica Ruiz said the school’s arts infusion is making a profound difference in the lives of her students, who might otherwise be unable to afford music or arts lessons on their own.

“If our students cannot go out to the world, it is my responsibility to bring the world to them,” Ruiz said. “Having this partnership with Turnaround Arts: California will be transformative by providing equity, access and opportunity to all students regardless of socio-economic background and race. We are ecstatic to begin our journey with Turnaround Arts: California.”

The expansion of Turnaround Arts schools is made possible, in part, by a $1 million gift by Gehry and matched by an anonymous donor.

"Seeing the strength and creativity in our Turnaround Arts: California students gives me hope for our future and fuels my own inspiration,” Gehry said. “Over the last 40 years, I’ve spent time with kids in the classroom using architecture and art to get them engaged, focus their attention, and even introduce mathematics, civics, and other subjects that they might not have otherwise been receptive to. This inspired me to partner with Malissa Shriver on Turnaround Arts: California in order to create the same opportunities for the California students who need it the most.”

Turnaround Arts: California will now reach schools serving more than 17,000 K-8 students from historically marginalized communities. It touts promising results in its existing partner schools such as: 

  • English language arts proficiency increased at 70% of partner schools, by as much as 14% at some sites.
  • Math proficiency increased at more than 50% of partner schools, by as much as 15%.
  • Arts-integrated instruction increased student engagement, share 90% of surveyed teachers.
  • Attendance is up and suspensions are down at more than 50% of partner schools.
  • Arts-rich events have increased family engagement at 100% of partner schools.

“We have the great privilege of partnering with these new, vibrant school communities across the state in using the arts to help students overcome obstacles and find their authentic voices as creators and scholars. We continue to believe that no achievement gaps exist where opportunity lives,” shared Malissa Shriver, President of Turnaround Arts: California.

On program acceptance, the District committed to ensuring that all students in the school will receive weekly, standards-based music, art and text-based arts Music teacher Marc Keehmer is part of the fabric of school reform efforts.integration, and that all teachers can attend trainings on how to use the arts to support student learning. Through the Turnaround Arts: California Regional Coach Program, the organization Collaborations: Teachers and Artists (CoTA) will provide regular, in-person support for the school team in strategically using the arts for teacher training, family engagement, and student learning.

“CoTA is honored to expand upon the partnership we have forged together with Turnaround Arts: California, recognizing our deep roots in an ideology we share with the Turnaround movement nationally. As a knowledge organization, CoTA looks forward to the opportunity to work with Montgomery Elementary, provide service, and add value on behalf of students, educators, and families in a symbiotic manner,” shared a CoTA representative.

Turnaround Arts empowers high-need schools with innovative arts, dance, theater, and music programs, arts integration across subject areas, arts resources, musical instruments, and high-profile artist mentors as a proven strategy to help address broader school challenges and turn them around. Now run nationally by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the program started in 2012 as a pilot program in eight schools to test the findings of a President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities report titled “Reinvesting in Arts Education: Winning America’s Future Through Creative Schools.” At the start of the 2018 school year, Turnaround Arts will have impacted and be working with more than 56,000 students in 84 schools across 17 states and the District of Columbia. Nationally, Turnaround Arts is made possible by the National Endowment for the Arts and a collaboration of government agencies, nonprofit partners, and generous corporate and private donations.

Initiated with financial support from Berta and Frank Gehry and the California Arts Council, Turnaround Arts: California is supported by the Herb Alpert Foundation, the Eisner Foundation, Facebook, Jane Fonda, the Goldhirsh Foundation, David Hockney, MasterClass, the Rosenthal Family Foundation, Elizabeth Segerstrom, the Segerstrom Family Foundation, and Susan Steinhauser and Daniel Greenberg. Turnaround Arts: California partners regionally across the state with Collaborations: Teachers and Artists (CoTA), Liz Harvey, North Coast Arts Integration Project, Orange County Department of Education, P.S. ARTS, and Sunset Cultural Center to deepen program implementation and impact.

 

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