Arts Program Planning

Arts Education Principal Guidance Documents: An overview of CPS arts policies and recommendations to help administrators build and sustain strong arts programs in their schools.

The Chicago Guide for Teaching & Learning in the Arts: A PreK-12 scope-and-sequence in dance, music, theatre, and visual arts, the Chicago Guide is of value to network chiefs and principals as they build rigorous, sequenced arts programs that provide students with high-quality arts learning, support student achievement in other core subjects, and make schools attractive to families.

Arts Lesson Plan Template: A teacher-vetted Lesson Plan template for arts educators that aligns to standards and best practices.

Arts Unit Plan Template: A teacher-vetted Unit Plan template for arts educators that aligns to standards and best practices.

Standards Toolkit: A suite of tools and resources designed to support CPS teachers, administrators, and other stakeholders in aligning curriculum, instruction, and assessment to the updated Illinois Arts Learning Standards, which took effect in SY2018-19.

Arts Integration Toolkit: A suite of tools and resources designed to help arts teachers, non-arts teachers, and administrators understand and implement effective arts integration practices in their schools. 


REACH Evaluations for Arts Educators

Arts Addendum to the Framework for TeachingLists unique characteristics of theatre, dance, music, and visual arts teaching practice for the content area/setting, as well as examples of practice at the proficient and distinguished levels of performance. Arts teachers and administrators should use the Arts Addendum as a reference during REACH evaluations.


Arts Essentials

The Arts Essentials Grant Program provides $1,000 to all schools that have achieved Creative Schools Certification in Categories 1, 2, 3, and 4 and have a current CPS Arts Liaison. Administrators are encouraged to work with their Arts Liaison and other arts teachers to decide how to allocate yearly Arts Essentials funds.The following are guidance documents to aid in the spending process.

Purchasing Guides for Arts Essentials

Arts Essentials Purchasing Guide for District-Managed Schools, SY19-20

Arts Essentials Purchasing Guide for Charter/Options/Contract Schools, SY19-20

Other Arts Essentials Support Documents

Arts Liaisons

In every CPS school, an on-site Arts Liaison serves as an arts leader and champion who helps ensure successful implementation of key elements of the CPS Arts Education Plan. An Arts Liaison:

  • serves as the primary point of communication between their school, the CPS Department of Arts Education, Ingenuity, and community arts partners
  • works to ensure that students, educators, and administrators have access to high-quality arts opportunities and vital arts-related information across all disciplines (visual arts, music, theatre, dance, and media arts)
  • acts as an advocate by seeking actionable ways to expand and improve arts education and programming at their school and in the broader community

Arts Liaisons are nominated for the position by their school principals or directors. The Department strongly recommends that each Arts Liaison:

  1. Be a full-time or part-time arts teacher at their school, or another teacher who practices arts integration.
  2. Be able to attend after-school arts advocacy and leadership sessions throughout the year.
  3. Be a strong leader with demonstrated ability to promote and plan arts programming at their school.

Are you an administrator who needs to (re)nominate your school’s Arts Liaison? Click on the button below. NOTE: Before nominating a new Liaison, you should review the role description and expectations with your nominee.