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Kennedy Center Partners In Education

Arts education, the key to unlocking creativity in your students

The Partners in Education program of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts is designed to assist arts organizations throughout the nation to develop or expand educational partnerships with their local school systems. The primary purpose of these partnerships is to provide teachers professional training in arts integration.

What is Arts Integration?

ArtsEdge at Kennedy Center defines arts integration as “an approach to teaching in which students construct and demonstrate understanding through an art form. Students engage in a creative process, which connects to an art form and another subject area and meets evolving objectives in both.”

Currently, almost 100 Partnership Teams in nearly 40 states and the District of Columbia participate in the program. Wharton Center and Ingham Intermediate School District have been the Mid-Michigan Partnership Team since 2007.

KC-PIE at Wharton

Welcome to the Kennedy Center Partners in Education program for the greater Lansing area. The relationship between Ingham Independent School District and Wharton Center Institute for Arts & Creativity began in 2010 and has been serving K-12 area teachers from all across the district ever since. The KC-PIE program is based on the belief that teachers’ professional learning is an essential component of any effort designed to increase the artistic literacy of young people.

Each year a dedicated group of administrators, teaching artists, and classroom teachers are committed to expanding the role the arts play in classrooms. The KC-PIE program strives to support teachers in these efforts. We hope that you will learn more about the program, ask questions, think in new ways and join us in this important work.

  • Joni Starr, Administrative Coordinator, Ingham County ISD
  • Bert Goldstein, Director, Wharton Center Institute for Arts & Creativity

Arts Integration Focus Schools

Schools served by Ingham ISD (along with surrounding districts) and Wharton Center Institute for Arts & Creativity are eligible to become Arts Integration Focus Schools. Ideally, each school identifies a team, including: the building administrator, at least one arts specialist/teacher and some number of classroom teachers which:

  1. Engages in professional learning and planning during the Arts Integration Summer Institute

  2. Implements their plans throughout the academic year, contributing to and receiving support through an Arts-Integration Professional Learning Community

  3. Hosts a teaching artist for a collaborative arts integrated curriculum in classrooms/the school

  4. Reports and showcases the results of their effort in an annual report to stakeholders

Educators can earn professional development credit (SCECH) for full participation.

To register:

Complete and return the Arts Integration Focus School Agreement. This form requires the signatures of your team members and indicates a commitment to full participation in the following:

  1. Summer Institute
  2. Professional Learning Communities
  3. Teaching Artist Collaboration
  4. Reporting

For more information on becoming an Arts Integration Focus School, please contact Lonnie Thomas at [email protected].

Events and Professional Learning

Arts Integration Summer Institute

For three days over the summer, educators from across the greater-Lansing area come together to deepen their understanding of arts integration through activities, presentations, group discussions, peer learning, writing, and implementing an arts-integrated project. Guest artists work alongside the educators and share their expertise in their respective art discipline. 

August 4-6
Auditorium Building, Michigan State University
With guest artist Gina Chavez

Arts Advocacy Breakfast

​Every year the Mid-Michigan KC-PIE Partnership Team hosts the Arts Advocacy Breakfast. This event brings together educators, superintendents, principals, politicians and artists to showcase how mid-Michigan schools are integrating arts into classrooms.

Date TBD
Jackson Lounge, Wharton Center

Professional Learning Communities

Three times during the academic year, educators from participating Arts Integration Focus Schools get together to discuss and learn about new topics in arts integration. Each Professional Learning Community meeting provides for exchange between teaching artists and classroom teachers, peer-to-peer learning, modeling of activities and workshops by specialists. This is an opportunity for teachers’ to share their experiences.

Classroom Residencies

Each KC-PIE educator has the opportunity to select from local teaching artists (TA) in the visual or performing arts to work directly in their classroom. Teaching artists collaborate with classroom teachers to plan, write, implement and assess a three-day arts integrated residency. Both educators support and engage with students as they learn through participation in the creative process. At the end of the year, all participants meet for final reflection and celebration of the year’s work in arts integration.