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.

  • SY2021-22 Principal Planning Guidance: Elementary Schools COMING SOON
  • SY2021-22 Principal Planning Guidance: High Schools COMING SOON

The Chicago Guide for Teaching & Learning in the Arts: A PreK-12 roadmap for dance, music, theatre, and visual arts education, 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 strongly encouraged to work with their Arts Liaison and other arts staff to decide how to allocate yearly Arts Essentials funds. The following guidance documents will support administrators and Liaisons in the spending process.

Arts Essentials Purchasing Guides
  • SY2021-22 Arts Essentials Purchasing Guide: DISTRICT-MANAGED SCHOOLS COMING SOON
  • SY2021-22 Arts Essentials Purchasing Guide: CHARTER/CONTRACT/OPTIONS SCHOOLS – COMING SOON
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.

Fine & Performing Arts School Administrator Supports

Magnet Cluster Lead Teachers

In each CPS Fine & Performing Arts School, the Magnet Cluster Lead Teacher (MCLT) is an arts teacher who serves as a teacher leader in arts education, arts integration, and arts advocacy in their school. It is expected that the MCLT serve on school leadership teams to integrate the arts throughout the school and the core curriculum. MCLTs are designated by their school administrators.In each CPS Fine & Performing Arts school, the MCLT:

Administrators at Fine & Performing Arts Schools: Has your Magnet Cluster Lead Teacher changed? If so, please fill out the brief designation form linked below. Keeping your MCLT information up-to-date ensures that your school receives important information pertinent to Fine & Performing Arts Schools throughout the school year.

Want additional information about the Magnet Cluster Lead Teacher position? Download the MCLT Role and Responsibilities Information.

Fine & Performing Arts School Professional Learning

Every school year, MCLTs and other Fine & Performing Arts School staff—including administrators—can take advantage of professional learning specifically geared toward Fine & Performing Arts Schools.