Winona resident Michael Charron, dean of the School of the Arts at Saint Mary's University and chair of the Minnesota State Arts Board, was invited by First Lady Michelle Obama to attend a White House function Tuesday.
During the occasion, Mrs. Obama announced the expansion of the Turnaround Arts program - an arts education initiative to help improve low-performing schools. The program launched as a pilot program in April 2012 in eight schools across the country.
Minnesota is one of three states (the others being California and Louisiana) chosen to participate in the Turnaround Arts educational programming for the upcoming year. Following an application process, four Minnesota schools will be chosen, according to Charron.
Charron said the program will not replace subject matter or teachers, but will provide training; working with the schools to integrate arts into their curriculum. A direct correlation has been made between the arts and a wide range of benefits to students including academic achievement, school involvement, and social and emotional development.