Creative Schools Initiative

We use the arts as a tool to explore curriculum and inspire a love of learning. Our teaching artists collaborate with classroom teachers to create lesson plans that integrate the arts and social justice into the students’ core curriculum.

Arts Corps’ school day programs began in 2012 with the Creative Schools Initiative, an intensive arts integration partnership that embeds teaching artists in schools to collaborate with classroom teachers and build an arts rich school environment. 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 student’s academic engagement and learning mindsets. Beginning in the 2o15-16 school year, teaching artists partnered intensively with 5th and 6th grade classroom teachers to integrate theatre and visual arts into language arts curriculum at four Highline elementary schools. 

Building on our success with this initiative, we have developed four main Creative Schools programs:

Creative Schools Initiative (CSI) is an intensive arts integration program aimed at addressing the racial and economic disparity in access to arts education. Teaching artists collaborate with classroom teachers to build artistic skills and creativity while strengthening academic learning and contributing to a classroom environment that fosters young people’s sense of belonging and learning mindsets.

Highlights include:

  • Project based curriculum that integrates an art form with standards based curriculum
  • Ongoing professional development for participating teachers
  • One teaching artist works with two grade bands at the elementary level, or up to 8 teachers at the secondary level and approximately 240 students
  • Special projects and showcases that contribute to an arts rich learning environment

Creative Schools LAB (Learning, Arts and Belonging) builds a sense of belonging in a school community through classroom-based arts integration and school-wide family engagement through the arts. This program builds on the success of our work in the classrooms, offering arts based ways for families, students, and teachers to engage with each other.

Highlights include:

  • A resident teaching artist in a school who co-teaches with classroom teachers to integrate the arts into the curriculum
  • Professional development for participating teachers in arts integration strategies
  • Family engagement through the arts, including arts showcases, art backpacks to check out and use at home, and family workshops.
  • One teaching artist works with two grade bands at the elementary level, or up to 8 teachers at the secondary level and approximately 240 students

Creative Schools Residencies expand student creativity in the classroom through arts-integrated learning as part of the regular school day and classroom curriculum. Less intensive than our CSI and CS LAB model, Creative Schools Residencies (CSR) place teaching artists in classrooms to facilitate arts integrated learning experiences in partnership with classroom teachers and expand student creativity in the classroom.

Highlights include:

  • Teaching artists work in partnership with a classroom teacher during school hours to develop and deliver a creative project that can integrate into a subject area or stand alone
  • Classroom teachers are encouraged to collaborate with our teaching artists, thus strengthening the learning environment and expanding their capacity to engage students creatively
  • Residencies are an average of six hours in each classroom and can happen over the span of a week, month or quarter depending on the needs of the site and project

The Creative Schools Embedded PD Model places a master level teaching artist in a school to work as a coach alongside teams of classroom teachers and train them on arts integrated curriculum and strategies.

Highlights include:

  • Training and coaching in arts integrated curriculum that enlivens and deepens learning in language arts, science and social studies
  • Model teaching by the teaching artist and multiple follow-up visits for ongoing support
  • One teaching artist works with a grade band, up to 4 teachers at a time, for 8 weeks