Using Arts To Turn Around a Troubled School

There’ve been a lot of recent discussion about the importance and value of making the arts an important part of a K-12 education. The federal government and many school officials have been promoting a STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education as our nation’s students have fallen behind their international peers in these categories. Proponents of an arts based education are campaigning to add arts into the acronym, i.e. STEAM.

NBC News recently profiled a troubled Massachusetts school that has seen a remarkable turnaround in student achievement since an ambitious principal made arts one of the primary focus of the school. From its inception, Orchard Gardens, a K-8 school, was to be built around the arts but several years later, the school ran into a host of problems: studios became closets and rampant on-campus violence led to it been one of the lowest ranked schools in Massachusetts. Enter Principal Andrew Bott, the school’s sixth principal in seven years. In just a few years, Bott has transformed the school and revived its arts programs. Watch the video below from NBC on the school, its inspirational principal and how students are thriving under an arts based education.

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