What if we could do this everywhere – successfully promote the arts, while at the same time reducing violence in schools?
Orchard Gardens, a school in Roxbury, Mass., was really struggling with bad test scores and violence.
The school had gone through 6 principals in 7 years, almost half of the teachers not coming back each year, and violence in the hallways to a point where they banned backpacks because of what kids might bring in them.
A principal, Andrew Bott, finally decided to make a radical change. He fired security guards and hired art teachers.
Bott was interviewed by NBC News at the time and told them: “I had a huge security infrastructure and I decided to eliminate it completely and reinvest all of that money into the arts.”
Principal Andrew Bott’s goal? To use the arts as a tool for academic success.
“A lot of people actually would say to me: ‘You realize Orchard Gardens is a career killer.’ There’s really this disbelief that anybody would choose to come. I mean the school definitely had a prison feel,” he added.
Did his plan work? Watch:
Since this broadcast, the school has been recognized by Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick and First Lady Michelle Obama, and it continues to flourish.