Kerry Washington has worked with Savoy Elementary in Washington, D.C. since 2011. In an article for the Huffington Post, Ms. Washington discusses the impact of the Turnaround Arts pilot program on this historically underperforming school: How to Save Our Schools: The Arts and Music are No Fairytale
Low-performing schools, most often in the poorest socio-economic neighborhoods, have witnessed the loss of art and music education through budget cuts. Research shows that when arts programs are integrated with the classroom curriculum and guided by the strong leadership of teachers, the students become more engaged, attendance increases, test scores improve and the overall school culture is enriched.
Reinvesting in Arts Education by the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities states, “Experiences in the arts are valuable on their own, but they also enliven learning of other subjects, making them indispensible for a complete education in the 21st Century.”
Community-Word Project is aligned with these potential outcomes. We believe that art in schools has the power to change entire communities, encouraging critical thinking, teamwork and leadship. We place teaching artists in some of the poorest schools in NYC. We believe exposure to various art forms – poetry, music, visual art and dance – gives students different points of entry to their other classroom subjects. This exposure, when sustained, is a powerful tool to help level the playing field and bridge the achievment gap.
Fixing failing schools is critical and, as Ms. Washington says, “arts education must be part of our education solution because it works for all students.”