Ingenuity today released both a progress report examining arts education in Chicago Public Schools (CPS) and announced its 2014 grants to 100 CPS schools through the Creative Schools Fund. Both the report outcomes and the grant making are indicators of the important progress being made in Chicago to ensure that every student receives an arts education.
The State of the Arts in Chicago Public Schools
Ingenuity’s State of the Arts progress report shows that CPS schools have increased arts instruction, staffing, partnerships and funding during the second year of implementing the CPS Arts Education Plan. The CPS Arts Education Plan and the effort to expand instruction in CPS is a leading goal of the Chicago Cultural Plan issued by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events.
The report also finds that combined District and external funds committed to arts education in CPS increased 11 percent, or by nearly $14 million—most of which has been dedicated to CPS’ hiring of credentialed arts instructors.
The additional district funding is important given that while 94 percent of schools reported having an arts instructor; just 55 percent met the recommended 1:350 instructor to student ratio, which indicates that work remains to ensure that all students receive access to arts instruction.
“CPS schools continue to advance the arts through strong leaders and conscious investments. Our public-private partnership with the City of Chicago and Chicago Public Schools remains a key component to our supporting the work of the schools while engaging with community arts partners to help schools with their programming. This Progress Report shows that schools are taking steps to ensure an arts education for every CPS student,” said Paul Sznewajs, Ingenuity Executive Director.
Additional report findings include:
* Of schools reporting for two consecutive years (371 schools), growth was seen in almost all areas, including: minutes of weekly instruction, staffing, arts integration, professional development, and number of arts partnerships.
* Of schools reporting, 94 percent of students receive weekly arts instruction, while six percent, or approximately 24,000 CPS students, have limited exposure to weekly arts instruction or certified arts instructors.
* 47 percent of elementary schools completing the Creative Schools Certification reported providing the recommended 120 minutes of weekly arts instruction, an increase from 40 percent in 2012-13. On average, students in grades K-8 receive approximately 100 minutes of weekly arts instruction district-wide.
* Of schools reporting for two consecutive years (371 schools), 65 percent were classified as either Strong or Excelling in the arts, an increase from 52 percent in 2012-13.
* Credentialed theatre and dance instructors in the District number well below that of certified visual arts and music instructors. There remains a need to increase the number of instructors in theatre and dance to support the expanded graduation requirements which allow for these arts disciplines.
The Creative Schools Fund
Nearly $1 million is being directed to 100 schools that applied to the 2014 Creative Schools Fund. The Fund awards grants directly to schools with Arts Liaisons, most of who have requested funds for teacher designed programs to partner with community arts organizations on residencies in dance, music, theatre, and/or visual arts. One school will receive funds for school-wide professional development, and another will receive funds for capital improvements to construct a multi-arts space.
The 100 schools are diverse in geography and Creative Schools Certification category among other factors, and the programs they have applied for are diverse in discipline and content.
The CPS district compares favorably to other urban school districts offering lower student to instructor ratios, a higher minimum weekly instruction requirement of 120 minutes per elementary grade student, and the number of students with access to arts instruction. The CPS Creative Schools Certification’s “Excelling” schools are among top schools nationally for the provision of dedicated arts staffing and instructional minutes.
The comparative data shared in the State of the Arts Progress Report will now be a part of Ingenuity’s annual data report which tracks progress toward equitable student access to the arts. Data was reported through multiple sources including individual CPS schools and hundreds of community arts partners, all of which feed Ingenuity’s artlook Map.