Arts Teachers, Time & Quality Increase in Chicago Public Schools

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More than 30,000 students in Chicago Public Schools now have greater access to arts instruction than in previous school years.

That’s according to data from the State of the Arts Progress Report released this week by Ingenuity. A collaborative initiative among several local philanthropies including The Chicago Community Trust, Ingenuity serves as the lead arts education strategy partner to Chicago Public Schools.

CPS improves # of arts teachers, arts instruction time + quality rating: report from @IngenuityChgo

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For this third annual Progress Report, Ingenuity compared data from 571 schools, representing 90% of CPS students, against previous years. Their findings included:

  • The number of certified arts instructors increased from 1,278 in 2013-2014 to 1,322 in 2014-2015, with the greatest increases in visual arts and dance instructors
  • 68% of CPS schools reported meeting the recommendation of 1 arts instructor per 350 students: a 10-percentage-point increase from the previous year
  • 58% of elementary schools now provide students two hours per week of arts instruction.
  • Over 96% of schools partnered with at least one community arts resource, for services ranging from field trips to in-school residencies
  • When categorizing the arts learning available, 28 percent of schools improved their rating—with 91 CPS schools moving up from “Developing” or “Emerging” to a rating of “Strong” or “Excelling”

The report also pinpoints areas where progress should continue. For example, 23 reporting schools had no arts instructor.

Ingenuity has added this report’s data to its dynamic artlook map, an interactive resource where parents and community members can discover the arts resources available in any Chicago public school.

Joshua Simonds, the executive director of Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras and a member of the Ingenuity Advisory Panel, says, “To be able to express oneself through art, drama, music or dance is not a privilege that some should have—it is the right of us all. Plain and simple, arts education makes us better. And when CPS, Ingenuity, arts partners, principals, teachers, parents and the community come together, it makes our students better.”

You can read and download the complete report from Ingenuity’s website.