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Paramount’s Los Cerritos Elementary Joins Statewide Arts-Fueled School Transformation Effort

Paramount’s Los Cerritos Elementary Joins Statewide Arts-Fueled School Transformation Effort

And As Part of the Los Angeles River Master Plan


Paramount, CA - Los Cerritos Elementary is thrilled to be joining Turnaround Arts: California’s statewide network of 26 schools leveraging the arts to support whole-school transformation. As we emerge from the pandemic, the arts are being called upon both to boost student engagement as well as support the wellbeing of students, teachers and families who have been dealing with significant challenges over the past year. 


A Pre-K - 5th grade school in Paramount Unified School District, Los Cerritos serves 486 students with 90% qualifying for free or reduced-price lunch. Under the leadership of Principal Hilda Mapp, the school is excited to build upon their arts identity and continue working to create a safe, supportive, joyful, and student-centered environment, where the arts are embedded throughout every facet of the school community. 


“This past year has been hugely challenging for our students and teachers. We are thrilled to partner with Turnaround Arts: California to strategically use the arts to provide a sense of structure and safety, promote wellness, and build collaboration between students and teachers.” - Principal Hilda Mapp


Los Cerritos is now one of six Turnaround Arts: California (TACA) schools located in communities adjacent to the LA River. In partnership with Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, Gehry Partners, and local school districts, TACA is serving as the education component of the Los Angeles River Master Plan, a comprehensive vision to transform the LA River and its surrounding communities. TACA is working with schools in Southeast LA communities adjacent to the LA River that are seeking to use the arts to build student engagement and achievement, create a positive school culture and climate, and engage family and community members. TACA launched partnerships with four Southeast LA schools in 2018 - Abbott Elementary in Lynwood, Ellen Ochoa Learning Center in Cudahy, Tweedy Elementary in South Gate, and Zamboni Middle in Paramount - with a commitment to expand to ten partner schools over a five five year period. This year, Los Cerritos Elementary in Paramount and Washington Elementary in Lynwood join the list. 


“These are three things that can help strengthen our communities. Education is the fundamental building block of everything we want to create in California. Arts are an expression of where we come from and where we want to go. The LA River ties all of our communities together and the Master Plan gives us a way to make the river a recreational, cultural, environmental and economic assets for the people who live in those communities today. Los Cerritos joining with Turnaround Arts? I can’t think of a better way than that to exemplify those three goals.” - Anthony Rendon, Speaker of the Assembly


With support of collaborating partner P.S. ARTS, the multi-year Turnaround Arts program provides teachers and principals with individualized coaching and professional development to help them build and implement a school-wide vision for the arts. This includes support and training to help teachers integrate the arts into core academic subjects, providing culturally and linguistically responsive entry points for learning. TACA also provides arts resources, funding, and project planning support to help schools partner with community-based arts organizations to implement artistic residencies, family art nights, school musicals, and other projects to engage the broader school community. As part of the partnership, Paramount Unified School District is also ensuring 45 minutes of standalone arts instruction in (insert disciplines) for each student on a weekly basis. 



Founded in 2014 by renowned architect Frank Gehry and arts education advocate Malissa Shriver, Turnaround Arts: California is a nonprofit organization now partnering with 27 schools in 17 districts in rural, urban and suburban communities statewide. Based on the pilot Turnaround Arts program launched under the Obama administration’s President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities, today TACA is one of 9 Turnaround Arts programs across the country working in partnership with the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. 


“We look forward to working with Los Cerritos Elementary. It is now, more important than ever, to provide culturally responsive arts experiences in which students feel seen and honored. Arts Education empowers students, teachers and principals - it is foundational to learning and enables personalized instruction and promotes social and emotional wellness.” - Malissa Shriver, Turnaround Arts: California Co-founder


Turnaround Arts: California, which will now reach schools serving over 15,000 K-8 students from historically marginalized communities, has seen promising results in its existing partner schools:

  • English language arts proficiency has increased at 70% of partner schools, by as much as 116%.
  • Math proficiency has increased at more than 63% of partner schools, by as much as 200%.
  • The arts have positively impacted student engagement, according to 98% of surveyed teachers.
  • Attendance is up and/or suspensions are down at more than 67% of partner schools.
  • Arts-rich events have increased family engagement at 100% of partner schools.


[Insert quote from Frank about why providing young people access to the arts is so important, his excitement around LA River project]


Participating schools were competitively selected based on rates of students receiving free and reduced price lunch, strong school leadership with district support, and a commitment to the arts in education.