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Opera Singer Carla Dirlikov Canales Visits Students in Concord at Meadow Homes Elementary School as Part of National Turnaround Arts Program.


Opera Singer Carla Dirlikov Canales Visits Students in Concord at Meadow
Homes Elementary School as Part of National Turnaround Arts Program.


National President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities and John F. Kennedy
Center for the Performing Arts program reinforces Turnaround Arts: California’s
commitment to enhancing arts instruction in public schools


Concord, CA (January 23, 2017) – Internationally acclaimed mezzo-soprano Carla Dirlikov Canales will visit students at Turnaround Arts: California partner school Meadow Homes Elementary on Friday, February 24. Turnaround Arts empowers high-need schools with arts resources, training, and arts integration into other subject areas as a strategy to address broader school challenges. As one part of the program, Turnaround Arts partner schools receive intensive arts education resources and mentoring from high-profile artists. Meadow Homes Elementary joined this signature program of the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in May 2014.


"I'm very excited to be returning to Meadow Homes for another Turnaround Arts visit. I love the kids and the teachers there and have always been made to feel a part of the family within the school. One of the things I think is most important about Turnaround Arts is that it is not a one-off program. We go back, go back often, and build relationships. That is key to our success, and I am committed to the program and to helping advance the ways the arts can assist these kids in their growth in every way I can," shared Carla Dirlikov Canales.


Meadow Homes Elementary is one of 68 Turnaround Arts schools across the country. Turnaround Arts supports a measurable, positive impact on high-need schools by increasing student engagement and narrowing the achievement gap. Research reveals increases in reading and math scores, as well as an increase in attendance and a decrease in suspensions after a few years of participation in Turnaround Arts.


"Carla Dirlikov Canales is the definition of a citizen artist, she invests her time in connecting students to each other and to the world of creativity. Her generosity and leadership in this field has inspired us all," said Turnaround Arts: California Executive Director Malissa Feruzzi Shriver.


Since becoming a Turnaround Arts: California partner school, Meadow Homes Elementary has created an Arts Leadership Team, initiated school-wide arts integration practices, hosted school musicals and community arts events, developed a working relationship with leadership coaches from the Alameda County Office of Education art-centered Integrated Learning Program through the Turnaround Arts: California Regional Coach Pilot Program, and developed a Strategic Arts Plan to guide arts-based school transformation.


Meadow Homes Elementary serves approximately 900 students, representing 19 different ethnic groups.  Principal Sandra Wilbanks applauded the Turnaround Arts program for providing the campus an unparalleled opportunity to expand their existing arts education program to further celebrate the school's cultural diversity.


"When you tie arts education into all areas of the curriculum, you create a rich environment for student learning that truly celebrates and honors students’ cultural backgrounds and traditions," said Wilbanks. "Having diverse arts experiences is empowering for students. By exercising creative expression in all subject areas, students can be proud of who they are and how they are developing as young learners and future leaders."


Wilbanks says Meadow Homes' existing arts initiatives and grants have had unexpected but happy consequences in promoting second language development among its English Learner population, which accounts for approximately 78% percent of its 900 students.


"What we've seen is that, through the arts, students have a stronger connection to school, especially for English Learners.  This has, in turn, improved the home-to-school and school-to-home engagement with our families," she added. "Carla’s visits have been extraordinary in this regard, creating something that is exciting and meaningful not just for our students but for our families as well. They feel very cherished by her.”


“We all look forward to her visits, and the students talk about it for weeks afterward,” she added.



Turnaround Artist mentor Carla Dirlikov Canales to visit students and staff at Meadow Homes Elementary, a Turnaround Arts: California partner school.



Meadow Homes Elementary School

1371 Detroit Ave.

Concord, CA 94520



Friday, February 24, 2017

9:45 AM          Media arrival, check-in

10:00 AM        Event begins

10:10 AM        Classroom visits begin

11:50 AM        Rehearsal for school musical (Lion King)

12:30 PM        Lunch meeting with students, staff, and parents

1:00 PM          Event ends



Media Contacts

Jacob Campbell, Program Manager, Turnaround Arts: California

jacob@turnaroundartsca.org | 805.471.6429


Ursula Kroemer Leimbach, Communications Specialist,

Mt. Diablo Unified School District

communications@mdusd.org  | 760.705.6919

Posted by: Joshua Wittman, District Admin, Mt. Diablo Unified School District Published:2/23/17
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