These districtwide sessions, focused on best instructional practices in arts education, allow CPS arts teachers to engage in interactive arts learning in their specific disciplines and grade bands, collaborate with peers to apply and reflect on demonstrated strategies, and acquire useful tools, techniques, and resources that can be immediately implemented in their classrooms.

SY21-22 Arts Intensives

Information about SY22 Arts Intensives coming soon!

Note: All SY21-22 Arts Intensives will be offered virtually until further notice.

Archived Arts Intensive Resources

Have questions about previous Arts Intensives? Please contact us at

Arts Intensives: School Year 2020-21

SY21 Arts Intensive #1: Responsive & Relevant Remote Instruction

November 6, 2020 | Virtual | 9:00am-12:00pm

Continuing the learning that began with the summer’s Instructional Priorities series, this Intensive supported arts teachers in designing relevant remote instruction and assessment that not only uncovers where students are in their learning, but who they are and how they learn best. (Note: This Intensive was also Module 11 in the SY21 CPS Instructional Priorities Learning series. Requires CPS login to access materials.)

Download slides and handouts from SY21 Arts Intensive #1 (Module 11) for Elementary or High School.

SY21 Arts Intensive #2: Assessment Practices for Deep Student Engagement

Recorded session released April 2021

Continuing the learning from previous Instructional Priorities modules and our January 2020 session with Professor Heidi Andrade on student-centered assessment, this Intensive explored how clear, collaborative assessment practices can impact student engagement and motivation and lead to accelerated learning. (Note: This Arts Intensive was also Module 13 in the CPS SY21 Instructional Priorities Learning series. Requires CPS login to access materials.)

Download all slides and handouts from SY21 Arts Intensive #2 (Module 13).

Arts Intensives: School Year 2019-20

SY20 Arts Intensive #1: Developing Students’ Artistic Identities

August 28 and 30, 2019 | Chicago Cultural Center | 8:30am–3:30pm

“I’m bad at art.” “Why do I have to dance?” “I can’t read music.” How do we nurture students who are reluctant to engage in the arts? How can we create learner-centered classroom environments where all our students feel like successful artists? At this session, participants:

  • explored potential barriers to student learning in the arts, and key strategies to overcome those barriers
  • engaged in collaborative creation of lessons and activities that help students (and teachers) develop positive disciplinary identities
  • acquired tools and techniques that would encourage students to see themselves as capable and competent thinkers, learners, and makers of art

Download all slides and handouts from SY20 Arts Intensive #1.

SY20 Arts Intensive #2: Designing Student-Centered Curriculum

November 8, 2019 | Chicago Cultural Center | 8:30am–12:30pm

How can we better integrate our students’ interests, ideas, and needs when we develop arts curriculum? When and where can we encourage them to take the wheel and drive their own learning (without sacrificing depth or discipline)? At this session, participants:

  • explored ways to activate and increase student voice and choice in their arts curriculum
  • understood the design-thinking process and how it can be used to engage and empower students
  • used a design thinking model to research and prototype tools and/or techniques that would help students develop into more independent, motivated learners, thinkers, and makers

Download all slides and handouts from SY20 Arts Intensive #2.

SY20 Arts Intensive #3: Creating Student-Driven Formative Assessments

January 31, 2020 | Chicago Cultural Center | 8:30am–3:30pm

What happens when students own the assessment process? How does this help them work and think like real artists? At this Intensive, participants explored powerful, student-driven formative assessment techniques—including co-creation of assessment criteria, peer feedback, and self-assessment—to amplify students’ voices and give them more ownership over (and confidence in) their artistic process.

Professor Heidi L. Andrade from the University at Albany-SUNY, an expert in formative assessment and self-regulated learning, led this full-day session along with NYC arts teachers Angela Fremont (visual arts) and Ron Sopyla (theatre).

Download all slides and handouts from SY20 Arts Intensive #3.