Teachers at Meadow Homes Elementary School in Concord discover acting tools help students collaborate and concentrate.

Mt. Diablo Unified School District

Contra Costa County

Meadow_Homes_on_mapMeadow Homes is the largest school in the Mt. Diablo Unified School District, located in the city of Concord, CA. The student body is a rich mixture of ethnic groups, comprising approximately nineteen cultures. Meadow Homes was awarded a School Improvement Grant in 2012. Additional funding provided by the grant allowed all students to receive weekly science labs and visual and performing arts classes taught by fully credentialed teachers. Since these electives were introduced, student behavior issues declined and attendance improved, especially on arts “wheel days” when students attend their elective classes.

Since becoming a Turnaround Arts: California partner school in 2014, school staff has received intensive arts integration professional development through Focus 5, Crayola, and Visual Thinking Strategies. Prominent regional artists Yuyi Morales and Jose Luis Orozco visited classrooms and participated in Family Literacy Nights. Students have visited the Concord Art Museum, presented monthly performances, and produced their first school musical, Annie Jr. Turnaround Artist Marc Anthony has provided inspiration, and The White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics held a town hall at the school, during which opera singer Carla Dirlikov and designer Alvin Valley spoke with students about their experiences and educational journeys. Carla Dirlikov has since joined the ranks of Turnaround Artists and will continue to mentor students throughout the duration of the program.