Think 360 Arts for Learning works with Turnaround Arts Initiative to Bring Arts Integration to Schools

The arts have been linked with numerous academic benefits that help to rectify the disparity of achievement that traditionally exists between students in high poverty areas and their more financially able peers. In a 2012 study, The Arts and Achievement in At-Risk Youth, by Catterall, J.S., Dumais, S.A. & Hampden-Thompson, it was found that students with low socioeconomic status but high arts participation had an average school dropout rate five times less than students with low amounts of access to the arts. Not only do students with high arts involvement stay in school for longer, they also have a greater tendency to become more involved and invested in their own learning. Living through Language + Learning,a study by Brice Heath, S., showed that young people with high arts involvement are four times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement as well as to participate in an extra-curricular math or science fair. 

Think 360 Arts for Learning student creating a mask

Turnaround Arts is a President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities supported partnership that was created to bring together public and private organizations to help narrow the achievement gap, increase student engagement, and improve the culture and climate in the country’s highest poverty schools through the arts.  Turnaround Arts launched the pilot phase of their Turnaround Arts Initiative in 2012 at 8 different high poverty schools in locations across the country in order to provide training and resources to address each school’s needs. The program provides funding and other resources to support schools in their attempts to “turn around” scholastic underperformance through increased arts involvement. 
One of the participating schools, Noel Community Arts School in Northeast Denver, Colorado - through the support of Turnaround Arts - reached out to Think 360 Arts for Learning, a Colorado based affiliate of Young Audiences Arts for Learning, to help develop and implement arts integration practices that teachers could then translate into their more traditional subject classes. Through the use of a $10,000 Turnaround Arts mini grant, Noel Community Arts School and Think 360 Arts for Learning were able to provide 11 four-week arts integrated residency programs for their students that also focused on a high level of cooperative co-teaching between regular content teachers and teaching artists. These co-teaching opportunities allow for regular curriculum teachers to experience arts integration through a guided, hands-on residency and help them to become more familiar with arts integration under the tutelage of experienced teaching artists.
Throughout the course of the year, the students in the residency programs worked closely with arts specialists to create arts integrated projects including writing biographical sketches of famous dancers and pairing them with choreographed dances representative of the artist they were writing about, as well as creating their very own super hero stories, complete with superpowers based on elements of the periodic table. These programs culminated in a school wide “think show” to give students the opportunity to display the art works from their residency programs and allowed each class to present an arts integrated program for their parents and community.
Turnaround Arts has now expanded their Initiative to include 35 different schools in 11 different states. They hope to be able to extend the opportunity to experience arts integrated programs to many more students in the future by fostering many more, successful partnerships with organizations such as Think 360 Arts for Learning and Young Audiences Arts for Learning.
Click here to learn more about the impact that Think 360 Arts for Learning is having in communities throughout Colorado.

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