Creative Schools Initiative

The Creative Schools Initiative (CSI) is an arts integration program where resident teaching artists collaborate with school teachers at high-needs elementary and middle schools with the goal of positively impacting student learning and school culture. CSI directly addresses the disparity in arts education opportunities, deepens academic learning, and builds social, emotional learning (SEL) and 21st Century skills including critical thinking, creativity, persistence, and a growth mindset to help young people thrive in school and in life.

In 2014, Arts Corps received a 4-year, $1.8 Million dollar investment from the U.S. Department of Education to expand this program into Highline Public Schools and to conduct research to study the impact of the program on students academic engagement and learning mindsets. Beginning in the 2014-15 school year, teaching artists have been partnering intensively with 5th and 6th grade classroom teachers to integrate theatre and visual arts into language arts curriculum at four Highline elementary schools. Our first year of research data will be available in Fall 2016.

In the 2016-17 school year, Arts Corps is also partnering with three Seattle schools to implement Creative School partnerships, including Orca K-8, Hawthorne Elementary School and Sand Point Elementary Schools. Teaching artists are embedded in each school to integrate poetry, theatre and music into other core content areas over the course of the school year.

The Creative Schools Initiative (CSI) was initially piloted at two Seattle schools that are committed to enhancing student learning and school culture through the arts: Orca K-8 and Madrona K-8 middle schools. Initial findings from this pilot showed increases in self and teacher-reported student engagement, arts skills and academic mindsets.

Hear what students from Madrona K-8 had to say about their academic and creative development as participants in the program:

Students Reflect on CSI by Amy Piñon

This program has been made possible due to leadership investments from:

  • Paul G. Allen Family Foundation
  • Musician Dave Matthews
  • JPMorgan Chase Foundation
  • Boeing Company
  • Laird Norton Family Foundation
  • The MetLife Partners in Arts Education Program funded by MetLife Foundation and administered by the National Guild for Community Arts Education
  • Medina Foundation