What happens if you trade security guards for easels and music stands? Can a focus on arts education transform a school? For one school in Roxbury, the answer is, yes.
Orchard Gardens is a big K-8 school, with 900 students. English language-learners comprise half the student body. Ninety percent of the kids come from low-income families. The school was struggling, and the students never scored well on a host of statewide standardized tests. At one time, Orchard Gardens was one of the five worst schools in all of Massachusetts.
All that changed three years ago when Principal Andrew Bott first arrived.