Milwaukee Public Schools is proud to be part of Turnaround Arts! Turnaround Arts, a program of the Kennedy Center, empowers high-needs schools with innovative arts, dance, theater and music programs, arts integration across subject areas, arts resources, musical instruments, and high-profile artist mentors as a proven strategy to help address broader school challenges and close the achievement gap.
Turnaround Arts does more than provide greater arts access to students — the program has also increased student achievement using the integrated arts model. According to a national research organization, over a four-year period, Turnaround Arts schools experienced on average a 12.6 percent improvement in reading proficiency and a 22.5 percent improvement in math proficiency. Attendance increased and suspensions decreased following implementation of Turnaround Arts programs.
Turnaround Arts in Milwaukee
Four schools are the first in MPS to participate in the Turnaround Arts program: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Lancaster, William T. Sherman Creative Arts, and Roosevelt Middle School of the Arts.
In Milwaukee, Turnaround Arts will focus on three key areas: additional professional development for arts educators and arts integration education; integration of the five arts disciplines — visual arts, music, dance, theater, and media arts — within all content-area classrooms; and working with the district’s arts partners to provide both in-school and after-school enrichment programs to foster student engagement in learning and incorporating the arts into academic supports.
Some of Milwaukee’s top arts partners are part of the Turnaround Arts effort, including Cre8MKE, Danceworks, First Stage Children’s Theater, and the University of Wisconsin–Peck School of the Arts. In addition, UWM and Cardinal Stritch, through a grant from the Margaret Cargill Foundation, are partnering with MPS to recruit, train, and provide ongoing support for MPS arts educators.
Nationally, Turnaround Arts is made possible through a collaboration of government agencies, nonprofit partners, and generous corporate and private locations. Locally, the MPS Foundation coordinated support from the Herzfeld Foundation and the Zilber Family Foundation for the Milwaukee Public Schools’ Turnaround Arts effort.