A primary school in the States was ranked bottom in its state and plagued by violence – until a new head got rid of the security guards and invested money in the arts.
Back in 2003, Orchard Gardens, the newest school in the community of Roxbury, Massachusetts, USA, had art studios, a dance room, even a theatre.
But the dream of a school founded in the arts never materialised. Instead, the dance studio was used for storage and the orchestra’s instruments were barely touched.
The school was plagued by violence and disorder from the start, and by 2010 it was ranked in the bottom five of all public schools in the state of Massachusetts. Then Andrew Bott became principal – the sixth in seven years — and everything started to change.
Three years later, the school is almost unrecognisable and Orchard Gardens has one of the fastest student improvement rates in the state.