Great schools have arts

Teacher with studentSeattle Public Schools is investing in arts education. We see arts education as a crucial pillar for every school in every neighborhood.

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 a public-private partnership with 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 arts specialists
  • Bringing professional artists into classrooms
  • Training teachers on arts integration
  • 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.” In the Central and South-Southwest Pathways: 

»3,400-plus elementary students have weekly music classes for the first time.
»23 schools received $100,000 in new instruments and music books.
»23 schools engage teams to develop arts plans to support arts-rich learning.
Student with art project

The Creative Advantage began in 2013-14 with 13 schools in the Central Arts Pathway.  
Read the report on Year One.
The report found overall that arts learning has become a priority, not only for the district, but for the city and community at large. Three additional encouraging findings from 2013-14 in the Central Arts Pathway include:

  • 1,659 elementary students attended music classes that would not have been available without the Creative Advantage.
  • Minutes of arts instruction in elementary schools increased from the previous year, and the time now aligns with other district schools.
  • Students meeting standard in the arts significantly improved in the pathway elementary schools.

In 2015, the Creative Advantage has expanded to 11 schools in a South-Southwest Pathway, and the Creative Advantage team is developing more opportunities to connect arts to career for secondary students.
Read the Report on Year 2.

Read more on the Creative Advantage website.

You can read the full K-12 arts plan here.

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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