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    Great schools have arts

    Teacher with studentSeattle Public Schools is investing in arts education.  We envision a city where, through the arts, all youth have voice to influence positive change in their schools and develop skills for work and life.

    Why is arts education vital? 

    Students who participate in the arts are more successful in school and life. Studies show arts positively impact:

    • Student engagement
    • Attendance
    • Graduation rates
    • Disciplinary rates
    • Academic gains 

    For these reasons and more, we’re investing in the arts through The Creative Advantage.

    What is ‘The Creative Advantage’?

    The Creative Advantage is the Seattle Public Schools arts plan. It is city-wide initiative to establish equitable access to arts learning for all Seattle Public Schools students.  It is a collaboration between the district, the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture, the Seattle Foundation and community arts organizations.

    The district arts plan has one primary goal: To ensure that all students in all Seattle Public Schools have opportunities to learn through the arts, helping them achieve success in school and in life.

    How does it work?

    The Creative Advantage supports:

    • Hiring more music and art teachers
    • Bringing professional artists into classrooms
    • Training teachers to integrate arts with other subjects.
    • Connecting students with career opportunities
    • Ensuring arts programs are culturally relevant

    What is an arts pathway?

    While our work benefits all schools, we focus on regional clusters of schools we call “arts
    pathways.” Student with art project

    The Creative Advantage began in 2013-14 with 13 schools in the Central Arts Pathway, then expanded to 10 additional schools in the South-Southwest Arts Pathway

    A third-party evaluation found overall that arts learning has become a priority, not only for the district, but for the city and community at large.

    Additional encouraging findings from the first three years of implementation:

    • More that 5,000 elementary students are attending music classes that would not have been available without the Creative Advantage.
    • Students meeting standard in the arts significantly improved in the pathway elementary schools.
    • Clear evidence of 21st Century Skills in Creative Advantage classrooms in student perseverance, critical thinking and culturally-responsive teaching.
    • Evidence of robust relationships with community arts partners.

    In 2017, the Creative Advantage has expanded to 21 schools in the Southeast Arts Pathway, and the Creative Advantage team is developing more opportunities to connect arts to career for secondary students through Media Arts Skills Center courses offered in the summer and during the school year.

    Read more on the Creative Advantage website.

    See how The Creative Advantage is working in one Seattle elementary school, John Muir, in the video below.

    Contact Us

    Gail Sehlhorst
    Visual and Performing Arts Program Manager

    Pamela Ivezic
    K-12 Instructional Services Music Coach

    Audrey Querns
    Creative Advantage Project Manager

    Kate Baker
    Creative Advantage Project Manager for Media Arts Skills Center

    Resources and Other Information       

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