How to be an Arts Advocate

A downloadable PDF guide to bringing more arts into children’s lives is available from Americans for the Arts.

To find out about volunteer opportunities, contact the Arts Liaison at your child’s school to learn about initiatives that need your support!

Applying to Selective Enrollment, Gifted, Charter, and Magnet Schools

The CPS Office of Access and Enrollment, Department of Magnet, Gifted and Talented Programs, and Department of Arts Education combine their efforts to offer visual and performing arts programs at designated selective enrollment, charter/contract, magnet and magnet cluster schools. This partnership ensures an efficient process to inform parents and students of opportunities available, maintain fair and balanced admission procedures, and provide high-quality arts programs.

The Office of Access and Enrollment manages the application, selection and notification process for selective enrollment schools, magnet schools, magnet cluster schools, and open enrollment schools. The Department of Magnet, Gifted and Talented Programs sets the standard for high-quality programs in the schools that drive student achievement and place rigorous curricula into classrooms. Finally, the Department of Arts Education provides direct support to certified arts educators and arts partners in schools offering a curriculum designation in the arts.

Magnet schools are open to students throughout the city, and students are selected through an application and computerized lottery process. Magnet cluster schools are neighborhood schools that also accept students, through a computerized lottery, from outside of their attendance boundaries. In addition, magnet cluster schools offer a curriculum focus and increased specialized resources and teachers to support that focus. Both magnet and magnet cluster schools focus their curriculum on one particular area.

The CPS Fine and Performing Arts Magnet Cluster Program (FPAMCP) has been in existence since 1999. It consists of nearly 60 elementary magnet and magnet cluster schools with a curriculum focus in the visual and performing arts, and two high school magnet programs in the arts. The focus on the arts at these schools is supported by extra teachers and coordinators who work to deliver an arts-integrated curriculum, provide enhanced recruitment strategies, and serve on instructional leadership teams at their schools. FPAMCP schools seek to provide an array of options for students with interests and enthusiasm for the arts and at varying levels. Click for more information on FPAMCP.

High School Magnet Programs in the Arts

CPS high school options in the arts are vast. High school magnet programs in the arts, some of which are application- and audition-based, give students intensive studio experiences in the visual and performing arts, extensive credits beyond the high school arts requirements, and an accelerated general education curriculum that promotes college and career readiness at a high level. High schools with magnet programs in the arts are:

  • Chicago High School for the Arts offering conservatories in dance, music, theatre and visual art. Admissions requirements include a minimum ISAT stanine of 5 in reading and math from the 7th grade, and an audition/portfolio review.
  • Senn High School Magnet Program in the Arts (“Senn Arts”) offers a sequence of coursework in music, theatre and visual art that allows for depth and technique development in the arts. Admissions requirements include a minimum ISAT stanine of 5 in reading and math from the 7th grade, and an audition/interview.
  • Curie Metro High School Fine & Performing Arts Program offers a rigorous study and studio experiences in dance, music and visual art. Although an audition is not part of the admissions process, students must demonstrate an interest and ability level in the visual and performing arts during the first year of the program.

Audition and portfolio review tips for your student can be accessed in the Resource section of this website.