In recent years many school districts have had to restructure their arts curriculums to meet the growing emphasis on standards that is central to most school reform. This unique collection is meant to assist educators, policymakers, grantmakers and other stakeholders by focusing on the potential benefits of arts education for students and communities alike, and providing examples of creative ways school districts are handling their constraints.

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Visual Arts Education in Chicago Public Schools: A Research Study

July 7, 2011

In the summer of 2010, the Chicago Community Trust (CCT) commissioned four organizations representing four arts disciplines treated in the Chicago Guide for Teaching and Learning in the Arts (the Guide) -- visual arts, dance, theater, and music -- to undertake a project to better understand arts education programs offered to Chicago Public School (CPS) students and teachers by arts organizations. The Art Institute of Chicago was commissioned to lead the visual arts education portion of the project. The overarching goal for the initiative was to identify how arts organizations can more effectively serve CPS students through arts education programming. Specifically, this included a better understanding of the current capacity of visual arts education organizations as well as factors that could improve the quantity and effectiveness of visual arts education programming for CPS students and teachers. The overarching goal for the initiative was to identify how arts organizations can more effectively serve CPS students through arts education programming. Specifically this included a better understanding of the current capacity of visual arts education programming. Specifically, this included a better understanding of the current capacity of visual arts education organization as well as factors that could improve the quantity and effectiveness of visual arts education programming for CPS students and teachers. The primary components of the project were an in-depth online survey and two sets of focus groups, together whcih sought to create a picture of the current capacity of visual arts organizations to collectively serve Chicago Public Schools and teachers. These tools were also intended to identify the opportunities for further development of visual arts programs and to generate a set of recommendations to funders, to CPS, and to the visual arts sector itself. Of the 124 organizations that were identified as serving CPS with visual arts education programming, 67 responded to the survey and 36 attended one of the focus group sessions. Two organizations participated in at least one focus group, but did not complete the survey, 20 participated in at least one focus group and completed the survey, while ten participated in both focus groups as well as completing the survey, In collecting survey data, organizations were asked about the format used in their projects.

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