White House arts education plan working in Denver

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DENVER -- The Noel Community Arts School, located in the old Montbello High School building, is where some 600 6th thru 12th graders are involved in a program designed to help low-performing schools turn around learning with the help of visual and performing arts.

“We have seen the studies which suggest less than 15 percent of the nation’s schools produce more than 50 percent of the dropouts,” said Stacy Miller principal at NCAS. “Other studies indicate that when students participate in the arts they are four times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement, have higher GPAs and also wind up with significantly higher levels of math proficiency by grade.”

In short, the school for arts helps give youngsters higher self-esteem while helping them integrate problems solving and the arts with education.

All of the students have two periods a day of some type of art form.  Records show kid's attendance also improves as the arts classes are a fun part of their day which they don’t want to miss.

Noel was one of eight schools in the nation which won the prestigious arts initiative program.

Along with the distinction comes a public/private partnership that has seen actors and musicians actually adopt a school to help work with kids interested in performing arts.

Cleo Parker Robinson’s instructors have helped with dance and Alfree Woodard is helping at NCAS with acting -- not bad teachers for middle and high schoolers.

In just two years, administrators have seen grades and test scores improve along with attendance numbers.