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Monday, July 7, 2014

Educators in Virginia for Turnaround Arts Leadership Retreat

Three principals and eight teachers from GRFA's Louisiana A+ Schools joined Director Bethany France and Deputy Director Kim Leavitt for 5 days of intensive training at the Turnaround Arts Leadership Retreat outside of Alexandria, VA.  Turnaround Arts, a national reform initiative under the President's Committee on the Arts and  Humanities, is designed to utilize the arts to "turn around" failing schools.  The George Rodrigue Foundation of the Arts, through the LAA+ program, was one of six new sites recently added to phase 2 of the initiative.

Educators from Louisiana's three Turnaround Arts schools attend the Leadership Retreat in Virginia.

Drumming, anyone?

Dance is one of many ways educators create arts-integrated curriculum.

Turnaround Arts is unique in that each school is assigned a celebrity artist who makes site visits throughout the school year, working in classrooms with students and providing professional development workshops.  Nigel Lythgoe, creator of "American Idol" and a judge on "So You Think You Can Dance?", was the artist-in-residence at the retreat and took workshops alongside participants.

LAA+Deputy Director Kim Leavitt (left) and Director Bethany France (right) are joined by Turnaround Artist Nigel Lythgoe (center) during the workshops.

Principals and teachers gained invaluable insight into strategies such as managing classroom behavior through drama and integrating visual art into reading.  Sessions were taught by nationally known teaching artists from the Kennedy Center.  Turnaround Arts kicks off in three Louisiana schools this Fall:  Homer Elementary in Homer, St. Helena Arts and Technology Academy in Greensburg, and Homer Plessy Charter School in New Orleans.

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