CPS Department of Arts Education June 2021 Newsletter

Title Image: "Water Fun" by Catherine Choi, Dirksen Elementary School, Kindergarten

In this end-of-the-year newsletter, we celebrate the accomplishments of students in our Department of Arts Student Programs, all of the learning achieved by CPS Arts teachers and schools in Department of Arts Education led Professional Learning series and teacher-led learning communities, and a joyful combination of district-wide teacher and student good news in our Shout-Outs! section. There is a lot to proudly share with your students, families, and school communities.

(Image on Left: "9/37 PM", Thalia Witkovsky, Walter Payton College Preparatory High School, Grade 11)

We Celebrate Our Students!

"You Matter", Lana Surgit, Peterson Elementary, Grade 7

Department of Arts Education District-wide Student Programs

Music Festivals: 2021 Clinics

In partnership with Northeastern Illinois University, Northern Illinois University, Chicago Civic Orchestra, Chicago Civic Chorus, Jazz Institute, and University of Illinois at Chicago, we offered virtual music festival clinics this year that were free to 4th-12th grade students. There were over 30 different beginner-to-advanced level clinics over the course of 6 sessions this spring. We are grateful for our partnerships and look forward to planning for the 2020-21 school year!

Art on theMART

We are thrilled to have partnered with Art on theMART to showcase a selected group of seven CPS high school seniors' artwork, with accompanying original music, on the facade of theMART as a part of Art on theMART’s new animated projection entitled "Hope is a Light: Select Works from the Chicago Public School Class of 2021”. The exhibition debuted on May 20th and is open to the public through June 26th. The program celebrates the students’ creativity on a large-scale canvas, and it is free and accessible to visitors. Visit artonthemart.com/CPS for more information, to get a sense of the incredible scale of the images, and to see these artworks come to life through motion graphics! The selected students are: Henry De Luca, Disney II Magnet High School; Emily Diaz, Instituto Health Science Career Academy; Jason Acevedo, Aspira Early College; Kendall Rasco, Little Black Pearl High School; Yoselin Mata, Schurz High School; Elijah Robertson, Morgan Park High School; and Victoria Mak, Ogden International School. Accompanying the projections will be individual musical pieces by: Sofia Marie Dimas, Sullivan High School; Logan Kane, Lane Tech High School; Jorge Huinac-Cruz, Young High School; and Daniela Lopez and Elijah Ruiz, both of ChiArts High School. This partnership is made possible through the support of Chicago Public Schools, the All-City Visual Arts Program, and the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events with support from iHeartRadio.

All-City Visual Arts Exhibitions

We are proud to showcase over 1000 students from over 250 schools in the 2021 All-City Elementary and High School Visual Arts Exhibitions! The exhibition is a collaboration between the Department of Arts Education and Design Museum of Chicago and all the works in the exhibition were created by Chicago Public Schools students.

This year, we noticed a wide variety of self-portraits.

Artwork (details) from left to right: "Where is My Mind?", Jimena Saldana, Whitney Young Magnet High School, Grade 11; "Self-Portrait", Ralph Lasalle, Orr Academy High School, Grade 9; "Durag Boy", Dashawn Garner, Charles R Henderson Elementary School, Grade 8; "Self Portrait", Angelina Berg, John W. Garvy Elementary School, Grade 2; "Self Portrait", Bruce Reinard, William P. Gray Elementary School, Kindergarten, "Sunshine In My Eyes", Lilliane Shen, Keller Regional Gifted Center, Grade 3, "Collage Self-Portrait", Rachel Deveyra, The Chicago High School for the Arts, Grade 11; Self-Portrait 2021", Jazmin Gamez, Eberhart Elementary School, Grade 7

There were also artworks that used common household materials such as coffee, seen in this mixed media work, "Nine Views", by Lindblom art teacher, Jeni Crone's student, and cardboard, used in this sculptural model, "The Destroyed Room", by ChiArts student, Celia Hannan.

Left: "Nine Views" by a Chicago High School for the Arts student, Grade 12 and Right: "The Destroyed Room" by Celia Hannan, The Chicago High School for the Arts, Grade 11

Students made artwork about the world around them, wrestling with real world issues like the pandemic, the elections, and protest and empowerment in the fight for Black Lives Matter, as well as depicting the interior of their homes or bedrooms, and their families, teachers, and nature. Join us in exploring the work of some of Chicago’s best young artists and designers! To view all the amazing artwork, please visit the All-City Visual Arts Exhibition website.

Artwork(details) from left to right: "A Threatening Presence", Natalia Rozenek, Amundsen High School, Grade 12; "Dwight White", Anonymous, Frederick Douglass Academy High School; "La Causa", Jose Villalba, Peace and Education Coalition High School, Grade 12; Frankenstein Montage", Amare’ Williamson, The Chicago High School for the Arts, Grade 10; "Break Through", Sunita Burwell Mehta, Agassiz Elementary School, Grade 7; "Complicit", Kana R. Hutchens, Skinner North, Grade 8; "Elephant", Andrew Lu, Gunsaulus Scholastic Academy, Grade 6; "Forest Fairy", Yueling Qian, Burley Elementary School, Grade 2; "Fencer", Ana Beckman, Skinner North, Grade 8; "Guinea Pig", Mina Miranda, Alexander Graham Bell School, Grade 4; "Frida", Isabel Wood, William H. Prescott Elementary School, Grade 2; "Icing Rabbit", Keiran Eatinger, South Loop Elementary School, Grade 8; "Molly Costello Dreams", Ka’miyah Green, Ludwig Van Beethoven Elementary School, Grade 6; "My African Grandma", Senade Sodji, Jackson Elementary, Grade 5; "Pay It No Mind!", Ariana Rendon, Sarah E. Goode STEM Academy, Grade 8; "My Lovely Playroom", Brayden Yang, Stephen Decatur Classical Elementary School, Grade 2; "My Teachers, Alya Brice, Brentano Elementary Math & Science Academy, Grade 1; "Piazza de Trevi", Nina Djurovic, Skinner Elementary School, Grade 7; "The City of Faces", Bruno Salinas, Socorro Sandoval Elementary School, Grade 1; "The Forest", Ibrahim Alesaei, Laughlin Falconer School, Pre-Kindergarten; "Untitled", Kayla Aguayo, Galileo Math & Science Scholastic Academy, Grade 8; "Women of the World", Journi Easter, Haines Elementary School, Grade 8; and "Untitled", Ella Poczatek, Ogden Elementary School

Thank you to the Design Museum of Chicago for their partnership in creating this inaugural virtual exhibition, and to all the students, parents, and teachers who participated.

Advanced Arts Program Spring Showcase

A small selection of images from the Advanced Arts Program Spring Showcase, from left to right: "...", Alejandro Giron, Lindblom Math and Science Academy Public school in Chicago, Illinois; "Collage/Reframe", Sophia Morris, Whitney Young Magnet High School; Book Cover for graphic novel, "Anamorphosis" Alessanda Montero, Gwendolyn Brooks College Preparatory Academy High School; Video still, "Bibimbap!", Sunny Wong, Nicholas Senn High School; Video still,"Oh What A Feeling", Alexis Thomas, Kenwood Academy High School: Video still, "Creativity in Silence", Kwon Boyd

The Chicago Public Schools Advanced Arts Program (AAP) is a rigorous early college and career arts opportunity for juniors and seniors who attend Chicago Public Schools. The Spring Showcase is an opportunity for students to share their artistic processes and refine their work in preparation for exhibition and performance.

We are again grateful for our partnership with The Design of Museum Chicago, who create and manage the digital space for our student exhibitions. Thank you!

All-City Performing Arts Spring Showcase

All-City Percussion Ensemble

The All-City Performing Arts Program (ACPA) is one of the oldest traditions in CPS, going into its 57th year. Any CPS student in grades 3–12 at beginning to advanced levels in their art forms are eligible to join districtwide music, theater and dance ensembles.

Over 200 students from over 90 different schools rehearsed virtually each Saturday during the fall and spring semester, receiving exceptional instruction from highly qualified CPS arts educators and local teaching artists. Watch the incredible performances from Modern Band, Symphonic Band, Orchestra, Percussion, Mariachi, Jazz Band, Music & Media Production, Choir, Dance, and Theatre in the All-City Performing Arts Spring Showcase 2021!

We Celebrate Our Teachers and Schools!

"Learning Beyond the Mask", Krystal Grover-Webb, 2021 Teacher Appreciation Arts Exhibition, Amelia Earhart Options for Knowledge STEAM Elementary School

Arts Professional Learning: Stronger Together

This year may have been tough … but our arts teachers were tougher! You displayed astonishing tenacity, adaptability, and a willingness to develop new skills and knowledge that you may never have dreamed you’d have to learn. Despite everything thrown at you, you continued to show up and show out at our professional learning events to explore, discover, problem-solve, share, vent, and—maybe most importantly—support one another. We thank you for your commitment to your students, to one another, and to your own growth as educators. Now, for some specific learning celebrations …

Our Arts Communities of Practice continued to grow and grow this year, thanks to you! Every month, you came together from all across the district to develop remote and hybrid teaching skills, share resources and ideas, and build lasting relationships. A special thanks to our amazing Arts Instruction Specialists, who worked to create supportive, productive spaces for connection and collaboration at a time when they were most needed!

In April, hundreds of you attended the virtual 2021 Arts Education Conference: Rest & Renew, a “love letter” from the DAE and Ingenuity to all our phenomenal arts teachers and arts partners. Participants enjoyed a day full of sessions focused on supporting their own well-being, including yoga, breathwork, art-making, journaling, and more. The response was incredible—here are a few participant comments on the day:

This was the best CPS PD I have ever been to. I feel seen and authentically supported as a teacher.
Thanks for giving back so much to the Arts Teachers. We don't think of ourselves and cultivating our own artistic spirits enough. This truly helped me to realize that I need to do this more regularly for myself in order to be a better teacher of the arts to my students. A truly wonderful day.
This was a unique experience that touched on an issue rarely if ever addressed during any type of professional development. It helped us learn to focus on rest and renewal. Not only was it refreshing and calming, it was an inspiration for me as an arts teacher to recognize the opportunity for students to renew and refresh themselves through my art classes.
Truly feel rejuvenated and honored that you all put such love and positive energy into the day.

Because of your overwhelming enthusiasm, our professional learning team is determined (and excited!) to provide similar experiences in the years to come.

Couldn’t make it to the Conference? Want to see the sessions you missed? Good news! All Conference session recordings are now available for viewing, including our amazing keynote presentation and our closing session. Click below to access all the videos along with the accompanying handouts and slides!

Teacher Leadership Opportunities with the DAE!

Want to collaborate with us? We’re looking for PreK-12 teachers in Dance, Media Arts, Music, Theatre, and Visual Arts who are interested in paid leadership opportunities with our team in SY22 and beyond, including:

  • Professional Learning Community (PLC) Leaders
  • Community of Practice (CoP) Facilitators
  • Wednesday Workshop Presenters
  • Demonstration Site Hosts
  • Arts Education Conference Presenters
  • Arts Addendum Revision Workgroup Members
  • REACH Performance Task Writers & Reviewers

If you are interested in any of these opportunities, please fill out our brief Arts Teacher Leadership Interest form! This form is non-binding—we will use your responses to reach out to you with more specific communications.

We will be communicating about SY22 opportunities this summer, so keep an eye on your inbox! We’re excited to hear from you!

Congratulations to newly awarded Fine & Performing Arts and STEAM Schools!

The Department of Arts Education is pleased to welcome four new schools to the Fine & Performing Arts and STEAM Schools families for SY21-22. Join us in welcoming the following schools who were recently selected through this year’s Academic Program RFP, and will begin program incubation in the fall:

  • Bright Elementary School (Fine & Performing Arts)
  • Nash Elementary School (Fine & Performing Arts)
  • Ruggles Elementary School (STEAM)
  • West Park Elementary School (STEAM)

To learn more about all of the schools awarded programming through the recent Academic Program RFP, please follow this link.

Fine & Performing Arts Schools Professional Learning

"Imaginary Animal in an Imaginary Land", Vikram Konkimalla, South Loop Elementary School, Grade 3

This year the Department of Arts Education was thrilled to continue to provide support and partnership for our 70 (and growing!) Fine & Performing Arts schools across the district. This included continued professional learning around the recently released Fine & Performing Arts School Standards for Success through our Standards for Success professional learning series, and new opportunities for collaborative peer-to-peer learning across schools through Networked Improvement Communities.

Our Standards for Success series focused primarily on high-quality classroom practice in arts integration, one of the major Standard components of a Fine & Performing Arts Program. Additionally, Fine & Performing Arts Schools’ Magnet Cluster Lead Teachers and arts teacher-leaders developed their own leadership capacity as facilitators and participants of Networked Improvement Communities (NICs), which met monthly and focused on school structures and culture, culturally responsive teaching in the arts, and arts integration.

Both of these learning opportunities included partnerships with experts to support our learning: Karen Erickson, an arts integration consultant and Executive Director of Creative Directions, LLC and NQC Literacy which focuses on culturally responsive arts education and developing artistic literacy with culturally responsive curriculum materials.

Some major takeaways from all of the Fine & Performing Arts Schools work this year that may be helpful for any arts teacher or educator across the district include:

Critical Condition for success when embedding the arts schoolwide is for an arts teacher to be an active member of your school’s Instructional Leadership Team (ILT) as well as other leadership teams (including CIWP Writing Team, LSC, Behavioral Health Team, etc.) within the school.

In Arts Integration— Arts and non-arts curriculum and arts integration are all valid and valuable. Understanding the instructional approaches, and where your current practice lives, while working to move toward authentic arts integration, is an important first step.

Necessary steps and important considerations when developing an authentic arts integrated curriculum include:

  • Unpack standards from both content areas to find alignment or elegant fits across subjects
  • Develop measurable, standards-based student learning objectives that align to both contents
  • Identify big idea(s) that connect the content areas together, and develop an essential question that connects both content areas and is inclusive of that big idea
  • Develop authentic performance tasks and other assessments that address learning objectives in both content areas
  • Ensure both content areas are represented in equal measure within the learning plan
  • Work collaboratively with your co-teacher to ensure intersecting instructional approaches and balance of workload

Moving arts classroom/arts integration practices towards process-based, student-centered learning (and away from the arts solely as a product at the culmination of a unit) is critical to meeting the updated Illinois Arts Learning Standards and critical to implementing authentic arts integrated curriculum and instruction.

After a year of successful professional learning, here's what some of the attendees shared about their experiences:

The Department of Education's Fine & Performing Arts Schools PD's were very relevant to our programs and our remote/hybrid teaching situations. - F/PA Professional Learning Participant
Every meeting inspires me in a different way to structure my upcoming plans and curriculum during the school year. - F/PA Networked Improvement Community Participant
I really enjoyed the breakout sessions on arts integrated instruction. I liked that we experienced the sample art integrated lessons and reviewed the design of activities. - F/PA Professional Learning Participant

For more information on Fine & Performing Arts Schools, or to access materials and resources from F&PA professional learning, please contact Christine Rudy-Reed, Fine & Performing Arts School Specialist, at creed18@cps.edu.

Shout Outs!

Teacher and Student Successes

"Glorpo Loves You", Veronica Timble, Walter Payton College Preparatory High School, Grade 12

In preparation for every newsletter, we ask you, CPS Arts teachers, to share teaching practice tips, successful classroom projects, and other accomplishments achieved by you or your students so that we can share them in our "Shout Outs!" section.

For this issue, some of you described the problem-solving process of teaching the performing arts remotely and providing your students with rewarding opportunities to perform for their families and communities.

Mike Madonia who teaches Pre-K - 8 at DeWitt Clinton Elementary shared, "During remote learning it was difficult not to interact musically with the students [in person]. Computers lagging made it impossible to sing together. My kids love to sing in class and COVID took that away from us. But with the help of the parents at home, our 1st and 2nd graders were able to video record themselves singing a song that we learned remotely. We "used to" make a big deal about concerts for the families and the kids were so excited to perform for them. It was always a special day for the families and students. We tried to get as close to that as we could this year. Saying that I was filled with pride for my students would be an understatement. I always teach my students that "if it is worth doing, it is worth doing well" and they put their heart and souls into this project. Try not to smile when you see this video!"

Mather High School 9-12 Band/Choir teacher, Eriq Vazquez encourages us to "Keep persevering! I started doing virtual performance lessons with my students after school once a a week last Fall. Because the majority of the year was remote, we switched our curriculum to a more music appreciation based course, but students were still hungry to learn performance skills. Teaching musicianship remotely was challenging, but through a lot of trial and error, we found some success and the students grew as musicians. We recently transitioned into in person group instruction and after hearing them live, I know the remote instruction we started 6 months ago was worth it!"

Mr. Vazquez and Mather High School students after an in person rehearsal.

Grace Jeong, Director of Choirs at Whitney Young Magnet High School (WYHS) had to transform a Whitney Young tradition. She explains, "It’s been a WYHS choral tradition each spring to have an alumni concert where current students and alumni join together on stage singing “Lift Every Voice and Sing”. This year, due to the pandemic, the choir family had to reunite virtually. Through weeks of zoom rehearsals, alumni from 2010-2020 from across the country and even the world, reunited through song to make this memorable video. Please enjoy this video presented by the WYHS choral department."


Congratulations to all who received grants and awards this year!

Erin Philyaw, Drama teacher at Von Steuben Metropolitan High School reports, "This year we received a grant funding 3 workshops with the organization, Broadway Weekends at School, that provide workshops led by performers who've worked on Broadway or Off-Broadway. We also received a matching grant for a 12 week workshop with Porchlight Musical Theatre for next year, to work with students to create our school musical focusing on student experiences during this past year.

Students in Cheryl Reynolds-Fefles art classes at Carl Schurz High School created Changemaker Awards for the "Students ReBuild Changemaker Challenge". A changemaker is an everyday hero - a teacher, neighbor, health care worker, family member or friend that rises up to help. Students created digital awards or used recyclable materials to create physical awards for the everyday heroes in their lives.

For every award received, the Bezos Family Foundation donated $10 to programs supporting changemakers in the U.S. and around the world. Forty-four works of art were submitted, for a total of $440.

Award descriptions from left to right: "An award to Maritza for helping others" by Alexis Ariza; "The Changemaker I decided to make the award for was my father, Pedro Lopez, and the reason I chose him was because of his hard work he puts into his construction business where he works many hours just to build homes for people and fixed any other problems they might have", Changemaker February 2021 Award; "A Thank You to all Educators" by Ulices Arroyo.

M.K. Victorson, Pre-K-6 grade Dance teacher at Hibbard Elementary School, was awarded an Innovation Circle Grant from Fund for Teachers. M.K. will participate as a fellow in the Art and Design as a Lever for Equity circle, with teachers from around the country. With her award, M.K. is planning to attend Karida Griffith's acclaimed virtual teacher workshop, "Roots, Rhythm, Race and Dance."

We are impressed by the student projects you shared with us.

West Park STEAM Academy K-8 STEAM teacher, Wynter Rose says, "Our middle school STEAM program students used the design process to design houses, schools, and apartment buildings with green architecture elements. The students had a choice of sketching or using an app such as Google Sketch Up for their final project". Get inspired by the student work by clicking on the button below!

Frank Cademartori, CICS Irving Park Elementary School Music teacher relates that, "This past school year has really changed both what and how I taught. When we initially started remote leaning, middle school students had an opt-in class that was pretty sparsely attended. However, some students took it upon themselves to show up every day, some days, or even just once in a while. Our final project was open-ended with a loose rubric centered around creating “lo-fi beats” using BandLab with the intent of publishing them on Spotify. So, the 13 songs featured here are the result of dedicated and driven students who were committed to their music. For me, this really encapsulates why I teach".

Student Created Album Cover

Since 2011, Melinda Wilson, Dance teacher at Curie Metropolitan High School, has been leading Curie's Dance Department and students in working with "Her Story Theatre" creating original performance and video works to create awareness around human trafficking. Students created a performance awareness group called: Per4mers4change. With classrooms virtual for most of the year, and stages dark, Curie's Dance Department worked in conjunction with CNN's Freedom Project to create global awareness around human trafficking. On March 16, 2021 Curie's Dance Department went live with 35 Public Service Announcements on social media as well as being part of a student-driven event hosted by CNN.

Laurel Kulig and Darcy Zaretzky, CICS Northtown Academy teachers and leaders of the Latin Dance Club, report, "Northtown Academy Latin Dance had a wonderful year of learning new styles of movement, choreographing dances that could tell the story of the lyrics and music, and building relationships with one another". Please enjoy this group performance, Malamente.

Aoko Omwony-Hope, K-8 Visual Arts Teacher at Doolittle Elementary School wanted to recognize their 8th grade student, Quincy Onyiaorah who "has put her amazing talent at the service of our school, Doolittle, since she was in 7th grade. From drawing anime characters for coloring sheets for our primary and intermediate students or developing a video on her tablet for the Art Club, Quincy is on her way to an illustrious high school career in graphic design. Her passion for art is felt throughout the school; she is the go-to person for flyers, bulletin board decor and T-shirt designs. Most recently, she created a themed flyer for Doolittle's first, upcoming Art Fair, all while working remotely. Quincy is someone you should know".

A sampling of Quincy's artwork for Doolittle from left to right: Art Fair Flyer- a promotional flyer for the school Art Fair; T-Shirt-a design for student art managers, based on a classmate's drawing and incorporating the school mascot, Rockets; Quincy Art Show- A colored pencil drawing, created in Art Club for the Spring Show

Finally, we asked two new questions for this issue of the newsletter: Did you find a self-care practice that is helping sustain you? and What did you learn about your students' capabilities, resilience, or artistry this semester that you didn't know before?

In answer to the first question, ChiArts Freshmen Tap teacher, Terri Woodall said, "Last June I began a monthly experience entitled Self-Care Saturday. It’s a time where I am able to connect with community virtually, share knowledge, guide participants through a movement healing session, followed by connecting with everyone through a R.E.A.L (Respect, Encouragement, Abundance, Love) talk session, and culminate the experience with guided meditation. I’m humbled that this has been a blessing of an experience for those who’ve attended a session or multiple sessions. It brings me great joy to interact with my community in this safe/brave space, and I’m looking forward to continuing this initiative through the years to come".

A flyer created for "Self Care Saturday"

In answer to the second question, we heard from Tracy Netter, Arts Specialist at New Sullivan Elementary School, who echoed what we've been hearing from many of you, that as you practiced Social Emotional Learning, checking in with your students, they began checking in with you! Tracy says, "What I learned about my students' capabilities, resilience and artistry this semester that I didn't know before is that when I show up for them, they show up for me. There were a lot of times that I felt that I was lost this semester and I needed help and guidance, and as long as I showed up and listened to them and tried to give them my best, they gave me the same thing in return. There were also days when I was not on point and the students helped me to maintain a routine and come up with ideas and suggestions about how to make our class period more enjoyable. I just didn't realize how capable they were and how well they had learned how to cope through this change".

Congratulations to all CPS Arts teachers, students, and families on all that you learned and achieved this year. Have a very happy summer!


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