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Turnaround Ar ts Program Boosts Student Skills B Y R E N E E B R I N C K S I n March, students at Greenfield's Mary Chapa Academy spent an afternoon making music with Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith. Assisted by the rock star, a regular classroom guest, the school has introduced a guitar club, rock band and music program. Students are also rehearsing their second annu- al school musical, The Lion King. Smith works in Greenfield through Turnaround Arts, a national initiative led by the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities. Launched in 2011, the campaign brings arts programs and materials to high-need classrooms. Celebrity mentors work directly with students, and program leaders provide technical assistance as teachers integrate arts lessons into the wider curriculum. By this spring, Turnaround Arts will operate in 65 schools across 29 districts in 16 states. During the program's first three years, partici- pating schools recorded a 22.6 percent increase in math proficiency and a 12.6 percent boost in reading scores, plus fewer discipline issues and better attendance. Students in Greenfield and elsewhere are developing creativity and self- confidence, too. "Every kid in this country deserves the same kind of education, and a well-rounded education includes the arts and humanities," says Kathy Fletcher, national director for Turnaround Arts. "This works. It's exciting to see schools go from gray to color." SHORTCUTS ART Award-winning drummer Chad Smith of the Red Hot Chili Peppers performs with public school students in Greenfield as part of the President's national initiative Turnaround Arts. 54 C A R M E L M A G A Z I N E • S P R I N G / S U M M E R 2 0 1 6 Photo: DMT Imaging

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