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Actor Kal Penn Visits Harding Middle School

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Kal Penn (Wikimedia Commons)

Kal Penn (Wikimedia Commons)

DES MOINES, Iowa — A Hollywood actor, and former advisor to the White House, is spending time at a Des Moines school Thursday to promote arts education.

Kal Penn has had roles in several movies and television shows including House M.D., 24, How I Met Your Mother, and is currently playing the role of Fontanelle White on CBS show Battle Creek.

Penn is taking part in the Turnaround Arts program at Harding Middle School, which aims to integrate the arts into other curriculum areas with the goal of improving learning and achievement.

Penn served as an Associate Director of the Office of Public Engagement at the White House from 2008 to 2011, acting as a liaison to the Arts.

Des Moines’ Findley Elementary was part of the pilot program for Turnaround Arts, along with seven other low-achieving schools across the country. Since the start of the program the schools participating have seen a big jump in reading and math proficiency.

Four other Des Moines schools are now part of the program: Cattell, Harding, Madison, and Oak Park.