Based on questions we have received and the most frequent circumstances under which community-based arts organizations seek advice, here are some guidelines for building partnerships with Chicago Public Schools:

1. Do you have a CPS Vendor Number?
If you do not, a school principal, network chief, or CPS Department Director needs to contact the CPS Department of Procurement and propose you as a vendor.

2. Do you know which school(s) you might like to partner with? 
Browse Ingenuity’s artlook Map to find detailed information on schools’ arts-related data, their existing arts partners, and the types of partnerships they currently seek. You can contact a school’s Arts Liaison with specific questions; Liaison contact information is listed on each school’s artlook Map profile.

3. Is your curriculum, instruction, and assessment aligned to the updated Illinois Arts Learning Standards and other CPS Department of Arts Education resources?
All CPS teachers align their curriculum, instruction, and assessment to the updated Illinois Arts Learning Standards, which took effect in September 2018.

Additionally, the Chicago Guide for Teaching and Learning in the Arts serves as an educator’s roadmap to connect curriculum, instruction and assessment in dance, music, theatre, and visual arts from pre-kindergarten to senior year of high school.

4. Do you have a clear written policy for partnership criteria as well as roles and responsibilities for your organization personnel (teaching artists and administration), school administration, school arts teachers, and classroom teachers as applicable?
Ingenuity’s Arts Partner Standards of Practice are a useful resource for arts organizations and teaching artists to define and refine their vision of quality and create plans for implementation.

5. Can your organization clearly articulate and identify how and why they work with schools? Do you provide professional learning, in-school or out-of-school programs, integrative work, or direct arts instruction?
Additional information on building quality arts partnerships can be found by downloading Arts Alliance Illinois’ Committing to Quality in Education: Arts at the Core: A Guidebook and Planning Tool.

6. Do you have clear assessment practices in place to articulate the success and impact of your programming in schools?

7. Has your organization developed a clear communications/marketing/recruiting strategy for schools, students, and teachers?

8. Do you align any teacher professional learning to the CPS Framework for Teaching and/or the Arts Addendum to the Framework?
Modified from Charlotte Danielson’s Framework for Teaching, the CPS Framework is used as the foundation of a school or district’s mentoring, coaching, professional learning, and teacher evaluation processes. The Arts Addendum was created by the Department of Arts Education to illustrate how important and unique aspects of arts teaching practice in music, visual arts, theatre, and dance align with the CPS Framework.

9. Do you have additional questions about working with CPS schools?
Contact the Department of Arts Education at or (773) 553-2170.