Cultural Council of Palm Beach County to Welcome Principal Andrew Bott, 1/21

The Cultural Council of Palm Beach County will host a special presentation by Andrew Bott, the principal of Orchard Gardens K-8 School in Roxbury, Massachusetts who fired his considerable school security force and used the money to hire art teachers. The results were improved test scores and a safer school.

More than 100 attendees are expected at the presentation and ceremony to be held on Tuesday, January 21 at 1 p.m. at Bak Middle School of the Artswhen West Palm Beach Mayor Jeri Muoio is scheduled to honor Bott with a key to the city.

"The role of the arts in education cannot be emphasized enough," said Rena Blades, president and CEO of the Cultural Council of Palm Beach County. "At a time when educational budgets are being cut, the arts should remain untouched for the sake of our children's future."

When Bott arrived at Orchard Gardens in 2010, he was the sixth principal in seven years. Known as a "dropout factory" and "career killer," the school was plagued by bad test scores and violence. Students couldn't carry backpacks for fear they were concealing weapons. Every fall only half the teachers returned. "I had a huge security infrastructure," Bott told NBC news in a recent interview. "I decided to eliminate it completely and reinvest all that money into the arts."

Hundreds of thousands of dollars flowed into new programming and turned Orchard Gardens from being the worst performing school in the district, to having one of the fastest student improvement rates in the state. "It takes courageous people like Andrew Bott and so many of the educators here in Palm Beach County to support our children's academic achievements by fostering their creativity through the arts," Blades said.

Admission to the event is free, but reservations are required. Educators and interested parents are encouraged to attend. For more information:

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