Hello CPS Arts Educators, A belated welcome back to all of you!
My name is Julia deBettencourt and I am thrilled to be serving as your new Director of Arts Education for Chicago Public Schools. While I’ve worked in arts education in Chicago for nearly my entire career, I’ve only been at CPS for about nine months. My background is in theatre and special education. Over the past 10 years, I've served as a teaching artist in many classrooms across the district and most recently, worked as Program Director for Snow City Arts, a non-profit organization that provides one-on-one standards-aligned arts education to children while they are in the hospital.
The most important words I have for you today are to simply express my thanks. You have made indelible positive impacts on the children of this city, championing their efforts, offering them opportunities to exercise their voice, and showing them how to engage with the world around them through the arts. Your efforts in have not gone unnoticed. We see you. Thank you, on behalf of Chicago Public Schools, for everything you give of yourselves.
I am grateful to the teachers who have shared their stories, allowed me to share in celebrating their successes, and honestly offered up areas where we still have room to grow as a district and as a sector. We, as a Department, want to bring our work closer to your classroom practice and look forward to partnering more closely with you. We are seeking to be innovative in our approach. We’re piloting a new position – the Arts Instruction Specialist. These 15 teachers help us to create and lead discipline specific-PLCs in the Arts. We’re piloting a new Professional Learning opportunity – the Demonstration Site, where teachers can visit each other’s classrooms and see exemplary practice first-hand, reflecting together afterward.
Broadly speaking, here are four areas on which we will be focusing our efforts in the coming years:
- Equitable Access to the Arts
- High Quality Classroom Practice
- School-Wide Program Models
- Standard Operating Procedures
Finally, the Department of Arts Education (DAE) is pleased to reinstate a quarterly newsletter that will provide a round-up of all things Arts happening across the district. Here are the kinds of content you can expect to find here:
- Spotlights on exemplary teacher practices
- Instructional Resources created or endorsed by the Department of Arts Education
- Teacher Tips from your colleagues on everything from classroom management to integrating technology into your curriculum
- Upcoming Events
We all share a vision for a high-quality, equitable arts education for every child in Chicago. Please contact me or anyone on my team to share your arts education experience with us: we would love to hear from you and are committed to working alongside you.
Have a wonderful fall.
Meet the Team
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The DAE team endeavors to support and celebrate CPS arts teachers and students across the district. Please feel free to reach out to us! We hope this introduction will help you determine who can best answer your questions.
Rachel Claff, Manager of Professional Learning, email@example.com—Designs and implements all professional learning for arts teachers, Arts Liaisons, administrators, and other stakeholders in the arts community.
Jeff Waraksa, Manager of Student Achievement, firstname.lastname@example.org—Develops and evaluates curricular materials and tools that drive achievement for all students in the visual and performing arts.
Melisa Rutkelis, Arts Education Specialist, email@example.com—Coordinates district-wide student programs, including All-City Performing and Visual Arts, Advanced Arts at Gallery 37, Senior Portfolio, and Music Festivals.
Holly Abney, ATLAS Technology Librarian, firstname.lastname@example.org—Maintains technology tools and equipment to lend to CPS schools that are developing arts-and-technology-integrated programming; provides coaching and support for teachers using library equipment. Manages social media for the department.
Arts Professional Learning in 2018-19
The Department is once again partnering with Ingenuity to bring you a catalog packed with arts professional learning opportunities for 2018-19. We're tremendously proud to offer over 60 events this year for arts teachers, administrators, arts partners, and other members of the Chicago arts education community!
We kicked off this ambitious year in August with our first session of Mastering the Standards, a three-part series throughout the school year designed to support teachers in implementing the updated Illinois Arts Learning Standards. Through hands-on lessons and activities, participants experienced the standards in action and analyzed best practices in arts education. Several lessons incorporated the Keith Haring exhibit on display at our inspiring location: the Chicago Cultural Center.
In September, we convened our first Arts Liaison Leadership Development Session at Westinghouse College Prep HS in September, launching a redesigned series of Arts Liaison trainings designed to address Liaisons' most pressing wants and needs. We've divided the learning into three tracks to boost skills and resources in these areas:
Finding the Funding: Writing grant proposals, securing external funding, and finding free/cheap resources to maximize your budget
Building Buy-In: Honing negotiation and communication skills to secure commitment to the arts in your school
Escape from Arts Island: Building peer collaboration and networking systems to reduce isolation and amp up arts integration
And in October, we launched our brand-new Arts Classroom Demonstration Site series! Four of our Arts Instruction Specialists opened their dance, theatre, music, and visual arts classrooms to their peers to observe standards-aligned teaching and learning in action. These sessions were terrific; they really helped us build the cross-district connections and networking time that arts teachers crave. To quote some attendees:
I loved seeing the ways a teacher structured a lesson that I have taught many times, how they framed certain parts of the lesson differently, and how they were able to highlight the new standards throughout the lesson. It was incredibly helpful.
I really loved the new ideas I gained from all the teachers. The debrief was great!
The forms and activities were incredible, thanks so much for sharing! I will be bringing them back to my class.
Another set of Demonstration Sites will be held on March 18-22, 2019—stay tuned for details!
... And we're just getting started! Be sure to check out all of the PL opportunities in the Upcoming Events section near the bottom of this newsletter.
To learn more and to register for professional learning for the rest of the year, visit www.cpsarts.org/teachers/professional-learning
Illinois Arts Learning Standards Toolkit
In order to support CPS teachers, administrators, and other stakeholders as they align their curriculum, instruction, and assessment to the updated Illinois Arts Learning Standards, the Department (in collaboration with our Arts Instruction Specialists) has developed an online Standards Toolkit, which includes:
- Redesigned arts lesson & unit plan templates
- Standards overview documents and diagnostic tools
- A guide to best practices in standards-aligned arts teaching and learning
- Links to downloadable versions of the Illinois Arts Standards
Access the Toolkit and other resources at: www.cpsarts.org/teachers/arts-instructional-resources/standards-toolkit/
DAE Student Programs
Our districtwide arts programs, open to all CPS students in grades 3–12, provide greater equity and access to arts programming and celebrate students’ astonishing creativity, innovation, and talent.
All-City Performing Arts
Advanced Arts at Gallery 37
Chicago Youth Theatrefest
The Chicago Youth TheatreFest is an adjudicated event that strives to bring students from the City of Chicago together to observe, present, improve, and celebrate works of student theatre and connect students to college and career opportunities in the theatre arts. It is run entirely by volunteer CPS theatre educators and arts partners.
Who can attend TheatreFest? Any CPS School is welcome to bring students grades 6-12 to TheatreFest. There are two divisions: High School (9-12) and Middle School (6-8).
Where and when is TheatreFest? This year Northeastern Illinois University will be hosting Chicago Youth TheatreFest on Saturday, January 19, 2019 from 8am-2:30pm.
How do I get involved with TheatreFest? Registration will open up soon. Students can register to perform a monologue, two-person scene, or ensemble piece (3-5 actors). Coaches commit to registering at least 10-15 actors at a $200 flat registration fee or registering students individually at $25/student. If interested, please contact us at email@example.com or the Planning Committee Chair: Rob Schroeder (firstname.lastname@example.org) with the number of students you plan to attend. Spaces fill fast!
Why should I participate in TheatreFest? Students will be exposed to a college-level theatre program, professional theatre organizations, tour the NEIU campus, participate in theatre workshops, and receive feedback of their work from theatre professionals. This year, we are offering an opportunity for students to audition for colleges.
CSO/DAE Collaboration: Pictures at an Exhibition
The Negaunee Music Institute at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the CPS Department of Arts announce an exciting collaboration between the CSO’s School and Family Concerts and the CPS All-City Visual Art (ACVA) exhibitions! The CSO School and Family Concerts on May 17 and 18, 2019 feature Pictures from an Exhibition, a thrilling orchestral masterwork inspired by drawings and paintings by the 19th-century Russian designer and artist Viktor Hartmann. Composer Modest Mussorgsky transformed these works of visual art into music for piano, and more than a dozen composers have reimagined the piece for orchestra. A recording of the music performed by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra can be found on Spotify.
The Negaunee Music Institute invites CPS teachers to submit student works created in response to one or more movements (sections) of the music. Up to 50 student works will be selected for an exhibition that will accompany these performances in the Rotunda at Symphony Center. The exhibition will run from Thursday, May 16 through Tuesday, May 21, 2019.
The Negaunee Music Institute at the CSO will provide lesson plans on their website and sent through CPS google groups in November to help guide students’ exploration of the music.
Teachers will go to cpsarts.org to opt into this opportunity as part of the submissions for the CPS All-City Visual Art exhibitions. Elementary and High School submissions will be accepted. Visual art teachers, music teachers, or classroom teachers may submit up to five works for consideration. All types of works will be considered.
Slideroom (the online submission portal) will be open for submissions in the winter via the cpsarts.org website. Submissions will be considered for both the ACVA exhibition and for the CSO’s exhibition. Additional information will be posted on cpsarts.org at a later date.
CPS All-City Senior Portfolio Submissions
In partnership with the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), the CPS All-City Senior Portfolio Exhibition gives high school seniors the opportunity to exhibit their artwork and to gain exposure among selected admissions representatives of various colleges and universities. Scholarship opportunities are available to those students participating in the 2019 CPS All-City Senior Portfolio Exhibition.
The application for artwork submission will open for all 12th-grade CPS students on October 30, 2018. Students (or teachers on their behalf) are encouraged to submit a portfolio with up to five pieces via SlideRoom.
To apply, please visit: www.cpsarts.org/students-and-parents/arts-programs/senior-portfolio-exhibition/
The Senior Portfolio Exhibition will open on January 8, 2019. Works of art will be on exhibit in the gallery space at the SAIC LeRoy Neiman Center, 37 South Wabash Avenue, Chicago, Illinois.
There will be an opening reception for students and families on January 8, 2019 from 4:30–7:30 p.m. Refreshments will be served.
For more information on Senior Portfolio, please call 773-553-2110 or email email@example.com.
CPS Music Festivals