We use the arts as a tool to explore curriculum & inspire a love of learning. Our teaching artists collaborate with classroom teachers to create lesson plans that integrate the arts and social justice into core curriculum.


Arts Corps’ school day programs known as Creative Schools, began in 2012 with the Creative Schools Initiative, an intensive arts integration partnership that embeds teaching artists in schools to collaborate with classroom teachers and build an arts-rich school environment. 

In 2014, Arts Corps received a 4-year, $1.8 Million dollar investment from the U.S. Department of Education to expand this program into Highline Public Schools and to conduct research to study the impact of the program on student’s academic engagement and learning mindsets, this was known as Highline Creative Schools Initiative (HCSI).

Beginning in the 2015-16 school year, teaching artists partnered intensively with 5th and 6th grade classroom teachers to integrate theatre and visual arts into language arts curriculum at four Highline elementary schools. 

View the full Highline Creative Schools Initiative research report here.

Photo by Angela Brown
Photo by Angela Brown

Building on our success with this initiative, we have developed the CS Residencies now known as Creative School Programs. Creative Schools Programs places master teaching artists in schools for in-depth arts integration residencies on a specific unit of study for at least 8 contact hours in order to foster deep relationships and student learning. These intensive arts integration residencies are aimed at addressing the racial and economic disparity in access to arts education in schools. Teaching artists collaborate with classroom teachers to build artistic skills and creativity while strengthening academic learning and contributing to a classroom environment that fosters young people’s sense of belonging and learning mindsets.

Program Model Includes:

  • Project based curriculum that integrates an art form with standards based curriculum
  • Teaching artists work in partnership with a classroom teacher during school hours to develop and deliver a creative project that can integrate into a subject area or stand alone
  • A teaching artist collaborates with classroom teachers from a grade band to build  curriculum that integrates an art form into provide culturally relevant arts integrative work with a unit that the class is working on.
  • Embedded professional development for participating teachers
Photo by Angela Brown
Photo by Angela Brown

Program Outcomes:

  • Increases in student engagement, creative skills, academic performance and mindsets
  • Special projects and showcases that contribute to an arts-rich learning environment
  • Arts learning opportunities for students who may not have access to arts electives or after school programs
  • Teacher development, including arts- based teaching strategies and collaborative facilitation
  • Positive impacts on school culture and community, including increases in family engagement
  • Higher levels of classroom belonging, and significantly higher ability to persevere with difficult tasks and to delay gratification among Arts Corps students with IEPs. (Highline Creative Schools Initiative Report, https://artscorps.org/HCSI/)

Arts Corps teaching artists work in a wide variety of art forms. Residencies can be in Visual Arts, Music, Movement, Theatre, Poetry, and more. Here are some examples of past projects:

Poetry/Spoken Word

Grades: any

Subject pairing: Language Arts

Students learn and practice the art of writing using poetic elements and phrases discovering their deepest truths through personal artistic expression.


Grades: any

Subject pairing: Social Studies, Language Arts

The goal of all good acting is to tell a great story. Students learn to access characters from within and set the stage with improvisation, theater and writing exercises that explore the personal stories of the students and the world around them. Students will create skits and monologues with a goal of creating an ensemble performance or bringing to life subject areas and books they are already exploring.

Creative Movement

Grades: any

Subject pairing: Physical Education

Students learn the history, foundation and fundamentals of particular dance styles, depending on the teaching artist, while developing self-confidence and creative expression. They work collaboratively and individually, sharing their talents and creating choreography for performances.


Arts Corps classes are always free to youth. Schools and organizations partnering with Arts Corps pay to deliver these classes. For more information on rates, please contact programs@artscorps.org.

If you are interested in partnering with Arts Corps, please fill out the partnership inquiry form, or contact our program partnerships staff.