Students at Riverside Central Elementary got a lesson in rock-and-roll Thursday from a famous teacher, of sorts.
Taylor Hawkins, drummer for the Foo Fighters, mentored 10 lucky students at the new Turnaround Arts School.
The Turnaround Arts School is part of an initiative by President Obama to get art back into education. Turnaround Arts empowers high-need, low-performing schools with art, music, theater, and dance programs. Riverside Central Elementary is one of 68 Turnaround Arts schools in the US, and one of eight in Minnesota.
Hawkins is a Turnaround Arts mentor; mentors are paired with each Turnaround Arts school to offer guidance, inspiration, and encouragement throughout the school's journey in the program.
Announced by the First Lady at the White House Talent Show in May, Riverside just started their journey with Turnaround Arts, a signature program of the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities.
Research revealed that Turnaround Arts helps to increase student engagement and narrow the opportunity gap at our country's highest-need schools. Turnaround Arts pilot program schools saw an average 12.6 percent improvement in reading proficiency and 22.5 percent improvement in math proficiency, increases in attendance, and significant decreases in suspensions following Turnaround Arts' infusion of the arts into struggling schools.
In Minnesota, Turnaround Arts is run in partnership with the Perpich Center for Arts Education, a state agency committed to ensuring that students in Minnesota learn and achieve through the arts.
Hawkins shared his love of music and encouraged the students to follow their dreams. "I wanted to do it [music]. I knew that's what I wanted to do. All of you guys, whatever your driven to do, whatever your passionate about [do that]."
Each of the kids got to perform a drum solo and ask a question if they wanted.
Hawkins drummed with the students for about half an hour then went to perform at the school assembly.
Hawkins said he will come back to Riverside in the future to catch up with students and see how they're doing.