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Admin Support Documents

School Administrators should always feel free to contact the Department of Arts Education at with questions or concerns. The resources linked on this page may expire or may be replaced with newer versions, and we strive to provide the most up-to-date guidance as possible.

Arts Program Planning

Arts Education Principal Guidance Documents: An overview of CPS arts policies and recommendations to help administrators build and sustain strong arts programs in their schools.

Arts Lesson Plan Template: A teacher-vetted Lesson Plan template for arts educators that aligns to standards and best practices.

Arts Unit Plan Template: A teacher-vetted Unit Plan template for arts educators that aligns to standards and best practices.

Standards Toolkit: A suite of tools and resources designed to support CPS teachers, administrators, and other stakeholders in aligning curriculum, instruction, and assessment to the updated Illinois Arts Learning Standards, which took effect in SY2018-19.

Arts Integration Toolkit: A suite of tools and resources designed to help arts teachers, non-arts teachers, and administrators understand and implement effective arts integration practices in their schools. 

REACH Evaluations for Arts Educators

Arts Addendum to the Framework for TeachingLists unique characteristics of theatre, dance, music, and visual arts teaching practice for the content area/setting, as well as examples of practice at the proficient and distinguished levels of performance. Arts teachers and administrators should use the Arts Addendum as a reference during REACH evaluations.

Arts Essentials

The Arts Essentials Grant Program provides $1,000 to all schools that have achieved Creative Schools Certification in Categories 1, 2, 3, and 4 and have a current CPS Arts Liaison. Administrators are strongly encouraged to work with their Arts Liaison and other arts staff to decide how to allocate yearly Arts Essentials funds. The following guidance documents will support administrators and Liaisons in the spending process.

Arts Liaisons

In every CPS school, an on-site Arts Liaison serves as an arts leader and champion who helps ensure successful implementation of key elements of the CPS Arts Education Plan. An Arts Liaison:

  • serves as the primary point of communication between their school, the CPS Department of Arts Education, Ingenuity, and community arts partners
  • works to ensure that students, educators, and administrators have access to high-quality arts opportunities and vital arts-related information across all disciplines (visual arts, music, theatre, dance, and media arts)
  • acts as an advocate by seeking actionable ways to expand and improve arts education and programming at their school and in the broader community

Arts Liaisons are nominated for the position by their school principals or directors. The Department strongly recommends that each Arts Liaison:

  1. Be a full-time or part-time arts teacher at their school, or another teacher who practices arts integration.
  2. Be able to attend after-school arts advocacy and leadership sessions throughout the year.
  3. Be a strong leader with demonstrated ability to promote and plan arts programming at their school.

Are you an administrator who needs to (re)nominate your school’s Arts Liaison? Nominate them here. NOTE: Before nominating a new Liaison, you should review the role description and expectations with your nominee.

Arts Liaison Nomination

Your nominee should preferably:

  1. Be a full-time (or equivalent) teacher at your school—preferably an arts teacher or another teacher who practices arts integration
  2. Be able to attend after-school Arts Liaison Trainings during the school year
  3. Be a strong leader with demonstrated ability to promote and plan arts programming at your school

Please discuss the role expectations with your nominee before filling out this form.

Nomination Form

Fine & Performing Arts School Administrator Supports

Magnet Cluster Lead Teachers

In each CPS Fine & Performing Arts School, the Magnet Cluster Lead Teacher (MCLT) is an arts teacher who serves as a teacher leader in arts education, arts integration, and arts advocacy in their school. It is expected that the MCLT serve on school leadership teams to integrate the arts throughout the school and the core curriculum. MCLTs are designated by their school administrators. In each CPS Fine & Performing Arts school, the MCLT:

Administrators at Fine & Performing Arts Schools: Has your Magnet Cluster Lead Teacher changed? If so, please fill out the brief designation form. Keeping your MCLT information up-to-date ensures that your school receives important information pertinent to Fine & Performing Arts Schools throughout the school year.

Fine & Performing Arts School Professional Learning

Every school year, MCLTs and other Fine & Performing Arts School staff—including administrators—can take advantage of professional learning specifically geared toward Fine & Performing Arts Schools.

Magnet Cluster Lead Teacher Designation

Your MCLT should:

  1. Be a full-time teacher at your school—preferably an arts teacher or another teacher-leader who practices arts integration
  2. Be able to attend, and be released for, MCLT and F/PA School professional learning sessions during the school year
  3. Be a strong leader with demonstrated ability to plan and support arts programming and arts integration at your school

Designate MCLT

CPS Department of Arts Education


42 W. Madison St, 3rd Floor
Chicago, IL 60602