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Obama Administration Selects Denver's Noel Community Arts School For Program To Help Turn Around Low Performing Schools

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President Barack Obama's Committee on the Arts and Humanities (PCAH) announced Monday that Denver's Noel Community Arts School has been selected as one of eight schools to participate in a new arts education initiative to help turn around low-performing schools.

Over the course of two years Noel Community Arts School will receive intensive arts education resources, art supplies, musical instruments, expertise and the involvement of award-winning actress Alfre Woodard, according to a press release.

"All children deserve access to high quality arts education which transforms lives and creates engaging places to learn," Woodard said in a press statement. "I am looking forward to working with Noel Community Arts School over the next two years to create those opportunities for their students."

Woodard, along with fellow presidentially-appointed PCAH artists Chuck Close, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kerry Washington, Forest Whitaker, Yo-Yo Ma and Damian Woetzel, "adopt" one of the eight selected schools and work with them over the course of the program.

In a press statement, Stacy Miller, Principal of Noel Community Arts School, said this about being selected for the initiative, “The Turnaround Arts program will be integral in driving the vision and mission of our school, offering the community and students an excellent school that aligns rigor and high academic achievement with creative thinking and individual expression through the arts.”

On Noel's selection, PCAH Vice-Chair Mary Campbell said that the Committee was impressed by the commitment of Miller and her faculty at Noel Community Arts School and believes that the Turnaround Arts program will help the school to transform into a "creative, engaging and high-performing learning environment."

According to a press release, Turnaround Arts will work in eight elementary and middle “turnaround schools” across the country—public schools in the lowest-achieving five percent of their state that are receiving School Improvement Grants through the U.S. Department of Education. An educational evaluation study will measure the impact and effectiveness of using rigorous and integrated arts education together with other educational reform efforts in high-poverty, low-performing schools.

Participating schools were competitively selected from nominations by state and municipal authorities. The eight selected schools are listed below, from the press release:

  1. Batiste Cultural Arts Academy at Live Oak School in New Orleans, LA (PK–8)
  2. Findley Elementary School in Des Moines, IA (PK–5)
  3. Lame Deer Jr. High School in Lame Deer, MT (7,8)
  4. Noel Community Arts School in Denver, CO (6,7)
  5. Orchard Gardens K-8 School in Boston, MA (K–8)
  6. Savoy Elementary School in Washington, DC (PK–5)
  7. Martin Luther King, Jr. School in Portland, OR (K–8)
  8. Roosevelt School in Bridgeport, CT (K–8)
For more information about Noel Community Arts School visit their Facebook page or website.

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