Top Menu

Arts Education Plan

 logo board big

The CPS Arts Education Plan’s guiding principle is that every CPS student will receive ongoing high quality arts education both in and out of the classroom.

Through a comprehensive and sequential study of visual art, music, dance, and theater from Pre K-12th grade, all Chicago Public School students will have the opportunity to develop into innovative thinkers and creative problem solvers who are capable of expressing themselves, understanding others and contributing to their city’s culture and economy for years to come.


Continual Charges

  • Make the arts a core subject: maintain 120 minutes of arts instruction per week (1a).
  • Adjust school-by-school teacher staffing levels to meet 120 minutes (1d).
  • Establish school level arts budgets (6a).
  • Have at least one arts partner in all schools (4b).
  • Connect the arts to CPS College and Career programs (3d).


  • The CPS Arts Education Plan was approved by the Board. The Resolution:
    • Names arts as a core subject and dedicates 120 minutes of arts instruction per week (1a) and,
    • Expands the High School graduation requirements to include dance and theatre (1c).
  • The Arts Liaison initiative launches in schools (1e) to connect students, schools and communities to resources and opportunities to grow and expand programming in music, dance, theare and the visual.
  • The Arts are evidenced in annual principal evaluations (5b) to measure the existence and effectiveness of arts programs as a measure of school success.
  • The Arts may be included as milestones and priorities on each school CIWP (2d) to ensure proper planning, staffing and budgeting for arts curriculum.


  • Launched the Creative Schools Initiative :
    • The Arts appear on the school progress report card through the Creative Schools Certification (3c, 5d) to establish school and network-level supports to help principals plan for and implement the arts both in and out of the school day while creating a more transparent way of evaluating the quality of arts programming.
      • A system to track the quantity of elementary arts instruction (5a) is created to help us understand how quality arts programs are built and maintained and to identify the areas of greatest need.
    • The Arts Liaisons initiative expands in schools by adding the Lead Arts Liaison Program (1e) to support schools in achieving the highest-quality Creative School Certification.
    • The arts expansion fund, called The Creative Schools Fund, (6c) is created to support arts partnerships and resources to certified arts staff in each school.
      • A CPS Arts Materials and Supplies Fund is established called Arts Essentials (6b) to assist with consumable resources like papers, paint, instruments, makeup, costumes, and technology.
      • A public revenue stream is identified to support arts instruction in schools (6d) to peruse long-term funding of arts education.
  • The in-school arts vendor RFQ system (4a) is improved to support and elevate the quality of programs provided by arts partners and independent teaching artists.
  • A principal leadership program in the Arts launches called The Creative Compass Program (3e) to establish a common vocabulary and understanding in the arts while providing tangible steps toward building more robust arts programming.
  • A $10.5 million TIF investment from the City of Chicago (4a) seeds funds for over 84 new Arts Teachers for 2014-2015 & 2015-2016.

In Progress Now: 2014-2015

  • Mapping arts curriculum to Common Core and Core Arts Standards by designing an Arts Content Framework to ensure Arts teaching and learning are aligned and include curricular maps, unit plans and performance assessments for every grade (2a).
  • Aligning the Chicago Guide for Teaching and Learning in the Arts to national Core Arts Standards (2b) to convey what students should know and be able to do as a result of a quality arts education program.
  • Launching a public/private network strategy (4c) to identify the needs of individual schools and the gaps that exist in the larger school networks to determine what resources are needed to elevate them.
  • Creating a Professional Development Needs Identifier system (3a) to track all the professional development programs for arts education for all stakeholders including principals, teachers, chiefs of schools, and arts partners.
  • Launching a consistent and relevant Professional Development for All initiative (3b) targeted specifically toward the needs and goals of each school and network.
  • Creating an arts curriculum assessment system (5e) to clearly communicate the impact of arts education on student achievement, both within the arts and in other content areas.
  • Establishing an Arts Partner Program Assessment System (5c) to measure reach, implementation, and effectiveness outcomes of arts partnerships.

On Deck: 2015-2016

  • Media Arts will be added to the curriculum (2c).
  • Literary Arts will be added to the curriculum (2c).


CPS has a once-in-a-generation opportunity to ensure that the arts, in all its forms, are part of our children’s everyday experience in the classroom.

With the release of the City’s first Cultural Plan in 25 years, Chicago is reflecting on its cultural legacy and making “no small plans” for the role the arts and culture will play in the future of Chicago and the lives of its citizens.

This plan insures a robust arts education will be part of every student’s experience from the day they start school to the day they graduate.