Results From Our Annual Teacher Survey

Annually we survey teachers at our 24 partner schools across the state to understand the impacts of the Turnaround Arts program on their work as teachers, their school as a whole, and the impact they are seeing on their students. We also collect data to inform our progress toward our four Priorities for Improvement Through the Arts (PITA):

  1. Cultivate shared vision and collaborative school leadership in and through the arts.
  2. Improve teacher capacity to integrate the arts into classroom instruction to provide multiple, culturally and linguistically responsive entry points for learning.
  3. Through the arts, build a positive culture and climate that embraces equity and growth mindset, in order to support risk-taking, collaboration, and empathy, and to honor student voice and agency. 
  4. Engage family and community members as participants, advocates, volunteers, and equitable partners in learning.

We received 587 anonymous responses from faculty across our 24 partner schools and found the following results:

Shared leadership in and through the arts

86% of respondents agree or strongly agree that their school uses a shared leadership approach to the arts.

“Turnaround Arts has allowed for me to have a lot of leadership within the school. I have loved learning new teaching practices, learning how to partner with teaching artists and how to truly integrate arts into not only my classroom, but my school.”

Teacher capacity to integrate the arts into the classroom

82% of respondents agree or strongly agree that support and training for teachers in the arts is ongoing and embedded at their school. Additionally, 88% of respondents integrated the arts into classroom instruction at least once a month, and 52% integrated at least once a week. 

I am a veteran teacher. The Arts have completely changed the way I teach. I have moved from lecturer to facilitator. My students are expected to use communication, creativity and collaboration to learn from each other. I model what is expected and give them the opportunity to develop their learning from each other and from group cooperation. I am excited to tell you that I have been reborn to teaching. I feel great growing critical 21st century thinkers.”

Additionally, 98% of teachers reported that the arts had a positive or very positive impact on students this year at their school. In particular, teachers reported improved learning, including comprehension, retention, and critical thinking skills; social emotional learning, including self-confidence, collaboration skills, community-building, and willingness to take risks; and excitement, joy and fun. About a third of teachers wrote specifically about how the arts benefit specific student populations for whom school is not traditionally designed:

Students who have trouble demonstrating their understanding through words found it easier to show what they knew by using art strategies. For instance, a student who couldn’t write a paragraph to describe how a character felt, used shadow puppets to display their thinking.

The arts have given my students a voice and a platform in which they feel equal to their peers and are able to express themselves.

Culture and Climate

90% of respondents agree or strongly agree that their school’s atmosphere and culture celebrates creativity and artistic achievement.

“[Turnaround Arts: CA has] changed everything for the better! It’s a new lens of support that is meant to strengthen everything from students’ social emotional needs, academic, and community engagement. As a school we integrate the arts in our school and community culture. I have learned so many tools from my mentor. When I applied these strategies in my own classroom I saw tremendous bounds in my students abilities in every area. This partnership has also helped strengthen our bond with our community who love to come onto campus and see our beautiful art!!”

Family and Community Engagement

88.5% of respondents agree or strongly agree that their school regularly engages families through the arts. This question was asked for the first time this year.

“I know with distance learning the arts provided a way to engage the whole family and to bring joy to my students during a stressful time.

We thank our partner schools for their participation in this survey! It is a good indicator that our partnerships with schools is shifting culture, leadership, and instruction in a positive direction. Teachers are teaching in new ways, and as a result, see their students engaging in new ways. The arts are creating school cultures that welcomes families, celebrates creativity and builds community.

Turnaround Arts: CA + The LA River

In partnership with Speaker Anthony Rendon, Frank Gehry, and Gehry Partners, Turnaround Arts: California is proud to play a role in the Los Angeles River revitalization*. In 2018, we began partnerships with five schools along the LA River helping school leadership strategically use the arts to build equity and access for students, transform the school’s culture and climate, and engage family and community members. These partnerships are ongoing and we have plans to continue expanding to new schools in the coming years.

Meet one of our partner schools in Cudahy, Ellen Ochoa Learning Center, in the video below. Renowned Architect and Turnaround Arts: CA Co-founder Frank Gehry, visited with his team of architects to help students envision the future of their community through the arts.

Our Partner Schools along the LA River:
Abbott Elementary – Lynwood
Ellen Ochoa Learning Center – Cudahy
Tweedy Elementary – South Gate
Whaley Middle School – Compton
Zamboni Middle School – Paramount

*The LA River revitalization project integrates design and infrastructure to bring people, water, and nature together across all 51 miles of the LA River. Learn more at riverla.org.

Hope Builders: Barton Elementary

A Turnaround Arts: California Partner School since 2014, Barton Elementary shows how the arts can transform a struggling school into a vibrant and engaging place for students to learn and explore their creativity. Since joining the Turnaround Arts program, Barton has seen their English Language Arts proficiency rate increase by 98%, suspension rates have decreased 11%, and chronic absenteeism has decreased by 15.5%.

Thank you to Fay-Hauser Price for directing this beautiful piece on Barton Elementary for KVCR’s Hope Builders series.
Hauslights, LLC at Hauslights@gmail.com

Ways of Looking: Exploring Measurement of School Transformation through the Arts and Social Emotional Learning

On Monday, October 28th Turnaround Arts: California convened thought leaders from the fields of education, the arts, psychology and social emotional learning to discuss ways of looking at the work to better understand key leverage points that increase and demonstrate impact. We welcome you to watch parts one and two of the event below!

Part 1:
Welcome, Context and Framing

Malissa Feruzzi Shriver, Co-founder and President, Turnaround Arts: California
Dr. Sarah Bainter Cunningham, Associate Provost for Research and Strategic Partnerships, Rhode Island School of Design
Dr. Akida Kissane Long, Principal Leadership Coach, Turnaround Arts: California
Panel Conversation
Sophie Fanelli (Modertator), President, Stuart Foundation
Dr. Linda Darling-Hammond, President, Learning Policy Institute
Dr. Ivonne Chand O’Neal, Principal, MUSE Research
Dr. Steve Seidel, Director, Arts in Education, Harvard Graduate School of Education
Dr. Timothy Shriver, Co-founder, Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL)

Part 2: Panelists and Attendees Respond

Daveed Diggs visits Vincent Academy

Vincent Academy in Oakland, CA, launched the 2018-2019 school year as one of 27 Turnaround Arts: California partner schools using the arts to fuel school change efforts. Turnaround Artist Daveed Diggs visited Vincent Academy in celebration of the school’s commitment to leveraging the arts for educational equity.

Willard Dance Team presents: Walls

The Kennedy Center’s National Committee for the Performing Arts (NCPA) in partnership with the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts recently presented Satellite Summit: A Long Conversation, featuring a panel discussion on social justice, citizen artistry, and arts education and a special performance by the Willard Intermediate School Dance Team.

Inspired by the 6th-8th grade students’ experiences with immigration, Walls represents the barriers that keep families apart. The piece was choreographed by Irishia Hubbard who works with the school through a partnership with Orange County Children’s Therapeutic Arts Center. Willard Intermediate School in the Santa Ana Unified School District partnered with Turnaround Arts: California in 2016 and has been actively using the arts to fuel school change since.

Video: Sandra Selva
Music: www.bensound.com

Mark Ronson visits Sierra Prep

Since 2016, Sierra Preparatory Academy has partnered with Turnaround Arts: California to use the arts to fuel school change efforts. Turnaround Artist Mark Ronson visits the school annually in celebration of its commitment to leveraging the arts for educational equity, this time engaging with student STEAM projects, the cast of the school’s first-ever musical, and more!

Video: Sandra Selva
Music: www.bensound.com

The Dream and the Highest Peak

Photo by Sandra Selva

As part of a recent residency led by Get Lit – Words Ignite instructors Raul Herrera and Brian Sonia-Wallace at Sierra Preparatory Academy, students selected a classic poem, wrote their own response poem, and performed both for an audience of peers and family members. The following is a response poem to Langston Hughes’s Dream Variations.

The Dream and the Highest Peak
By: Erik Lopez, 6th grade

Racism feels like looking at a box of colored pencils without every color, full of emptiness

And it tastes like all the bitterness of the world put in one lemon

Racism is an on-going nightmare that has not yet ended

Racism is the train that’s been going since 1807 that only carries depression

It’s just like numbers, it doesn’t seem to end.

Langston Hughes’ unfulfilled dream will hopefully one day become a reality.

So that anyone can fling their arms wide

Enjoying the vibrant sun’s smile

And being allowed to dance

Till the wonderful day is done

As they watch the beautiful stars come on lightly like a warm blanket

Then sleeping without worries and only comforting dreams.

THAT IS THE DREAM!

And the highest peak

The peak that all civil rights activist want to reach

But if they want to make the dream a reality,

Then they have to pick up the pace to pass the point of the peak in stopping the painfulness of the racist to re-paint the picture of the passionate world with more colors than just white.

In 90 years…

Happy 90th birthday, Frank Gehry!

Together with our network of 27 partner schools across the state, we strive to honor our co-founder’s pioneering spirit by leveraging the arts for educational equity. We are deeply grateful for Frank Gehry’s commitment to the next generation of imaginative learners and innovative leaders.