New Turnaround Arts intiative targets failing schools

WASHINGTON (AP) - Sarah Jessica Parker, Kerry Washington and Forest Whitaker are signing up for a new initiative with the Obama administration to adopt failing schools and help turn them around by integrating arts education throughout the schools.

On Monday, the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities will announce a new Turnaround Arts initiative for eight schools with officials from the White House and U.S. Department of Education.

One of the schools included in the initiative is Savoy Elementary School in Southeast D.C. Savoy was targeted in 2011 for a major, comprehensive turnaround effort, which included a grant from the U.S. Department of Education.

Artist Chuck Close, cellist Yo-Yo Ma, dancer Damian Woetzel and actress Alfre Woodard also are adopting schools in the two-year program. Organizers selected low-performing, high-poverty elementary and middle schools to participate.

Outside of Savoy, the other schools included in the program are in New Orleans, Denver, Boston, Des Moines, Iowa, Portland, Ore., Bridgeport, Conn., and Lame Deer, Mont.

Each school was receiving a federal School Improvement Grant to help boost achievement.