While almost all CPS students have regular access to arts education, a number of CPS magnet elementary schools, as well as several high schools, offer rigorous curriculum and instruction focused on the fine and performing arts.

Elementary Magnet Schools

CPS magnet schools are specialized schools that focus their curriculum on one particular subject area. Most elementary magnet schools do not have attendance boundaries, which means that all interested students must submit an application, even if they live nearby. In addition, in most cases, magnet schools provide bus transportation for students who live between 1.5–6 miles from the school. Magnet schools do not provide an accelerated curriculum—they are designed for all students. Students are randomly selected through a computerized lottery.

Fine & Performing Arts Magnet Cluster Schools

Magnet cluster schools, like magnet schools, are also specialized, but they have neighborhood attendance boundaries and accept students who live within that boundary. (Students who live outside the boundary must submit an application in order to be considered for acceptance.) Magnet cluster schools focus their curriculum on one of five subject areas: fine and performing arts, world language, International Baccalaureate Primary or Middle Years, technology, or STEM. Transportation is not provided to incoming students.

The Fine and Performing Arts Magnet Cluster Program (FPAMCP) is a network of arts-focused CPS elementary schools where the arts teachers work with students and other classroom teachers to provide intensive and integrated arts instruction.

Key features:

  • Students have the opportunity to learn and grow in multiple art forms: dance, theatre, media arts, music, and/or visual arts.
  • The fine and performing arts programs develop cultural awareness and understanding.
  • Schools strive to use the program to make connections between arts learning and other subject areas (curriculum integration).
  • Students are exposed to diverse arts opportunities and environments, both in and outside the Chicago community.

Arts-Focused High Schools 

Several CPS high schools give students intensive studio experiences in the visual and performing arts, credits beyond the high school arts requirements, and an accelerated general-education curriculum that promotes a high level of college and career readiness. The following CPS high schools offer programs in the arts: