Resources for Schools & Partners

Arts Partnerships

School and Community Arts Partnerships in Seattle Public Schools

School and community arts partnerships are valued in Seattle for their power to engage students in a wide variety of arts learning with professional artists, inspiring teachers to integrate the arts into their classrooms and creating bridges between cultural communities and schools.  The Creative Advantage supports expanding arts partnerships in all Seattle schools so that every student and teacher has opportunities to make, experience, create, and learn with Seattle’s amazing and diverse arts community every year.

Teaching artist drumming with 3 elementary children

Planning an Arts Partnership

Collaborative work between community organizations and schools can take many forms. The Creative Advantage has prioritized multi-session teaching artist residencies that provide integrated and/or cultural arts learning, as well as professional development for school staff that supports integrated arts learning. Schools access the Community Arts Partner Roster for cultural institutions, community arts organizations, and individual teaching artists to provide programs aligned with their arts learning goals.

The following tools can guide teachers and arts partners to design work that improves student learning and contributes to a culture of collaboration in our schools and in our city. These tools were developed to support the phases of such a collaboration.  

These tools were developed by a team of SPS teachers, school leaders, teaching artists and arts organization administrators.  The team was facilitated by Seattle Art Museum and funded by The Wallace Foundation.

1. Partnership Project Design Tool (Fillable PDF Form)

Schools and partners can use this tool to create a high-level overview of the partnership.  Use it to generate ideas and plans for your project, create common goals, and build an understanding of roles and responsibilities of all involved. This form should be completed in collaboration with the partnering classroom teacher, arts partner, and other essentials, such as school arts team representatives. 

2. Arts Partnership Budget Tool (Fillable PDF Form)

3. Partnership Lesson Planning Tool (Fillable PDF Form)

Community Arts Partners complete a lesson plan for a school-based residency that includes a timeline of activities, learning objectives, and check-ins to assess student learning.

4. Partnership Reflection Tool (Fillable PDF Form)The classroom teacher and arts partner use this form to reflect on the work they have completed and draw out lessons that can inform their collective and individual work in the future.

Funding an Arts Partnership

To ensure that students at all schools have consistent access to engaging arts learning from Seattle’s teaching artists and community arts and culture organizations, The Creative Advantage has two ways for schools access funds for classroom arts residencies during the school day and professional development for school staff in arts integration.

1. The Creative Advantage Funds : Each school receives $15,000 for arts partnerships over the first three years of Creative Advantage arts planning and implementation to help them realize their arts plan vision and goals.  In 2019-20, schools in cohorts 3, 4 and 5 are receiving Creative Advantage arts partnership funds.

2. The Creative Advantage Arts Sustainability Funds : Once a Creative Advantage school has spent their initial funds, they are eligible for up to $5000 each year to support sustaining and growing the arts beyond the initial three years. These are non-competitive grants for planned partnerships between a school and a community arts partner from The Creative Advantage Roster .  In 2019-20, school in cohorts 1 and 2 are eligible for these funds.

Next Step: Once you know who your arts partner is and how you funding your partnership, create a Personal Services Contract .

Arts Sustainability Funds

What is it? The Creative Advantage Arts Sustainability Funds are a new non-competitive funding source to help schools to sustain the student benefits that come from long-lasting arts partnerships beyond their initial 3 years of the Creative Advantage arts planning.  

Who is eligible?  Schools with a Creative Advantage Arts Plan that have spent their initial arts partnership funds and current Creative Advantage Community Arts Partner Roster  members are eligible to apply for up to $5000 to fund a specific arts partnership (in-the-school day arts residency or school staff professional development) that a school and partner have already agreed upon.  UPDATE: Schools that are in SPS Equity Tiers 1-3 are eligible to apply for up to $10,000 in the 2020-21 school year. Check this list of Creative Advantage schools to see which schools are eligible.

How do I apply? There is a brief application form.  Applications can be submitted at any time and will be considered at the end of each month. A school can apply for funds for multiple partnerships in one year, but the total cannot exceed $5000 or $10,000.  Once the application is approved, the school and partner will be notified at the email addresses provided in the application. If you have any questions at all, you may contact Audrey Querns and/or Tina LaPadula

Arts Sustainability Funds Application Form  (Microsoft From)

Past awards list

2019-20 Arts Sustainability Funded Partnerships

DANCE • John Muir Elementary • Gary Reed, Randy Ford, Jeffie Lou Thorn 

CREATIVE AUDIO PRODUCTION • Lowell Elementary • Jack Straw Cultural Center

CREATIVE AUDIO PRODUCTION • Denny Middle School • Jack Straw Cultural Center

CREATIVE AUDIO PRODUCTION  • Concord International Elementary • Jack Straw Cultural Center

DIGITAL AUDIO PRODUCTION • Southwest Interagency High School – •  Michael Grant

PERCUSSION • Meany Middle School • Big World Breaks

PERCUSSION • Washington Middle School • Big World Breaks

PERCUSSION • Thurgood Marshall Elementary • Big World Breaks

PERCUSSION • Seattle World School • Big World Breaks

PERCUSSION • Bailey Gatzert Elementary • Big World Breaks

PHOTOGRAPHY • Denny Middle School • Youth in Focus

PLAYWRITING • Garfield High School • ACT Theatre

PUBLIC SPEAKING • West Seattle Elementary • WeAPP: Speak with Purpose

SONGWRITING •Leschi Elem • Bushwick Northwest STYLE

SONGWRITING  • Bailey Gatzert Elementary School • Bushwick Northwest STYLE

SONGWRITING • Louisa Boren STEM K-8 • Bushwick Northwest STYLE

SONGWRITING  • Montlake Elementary • Bushwick Northwest STYLE

THEATRE • Chief Sealth International High School • BAYFEST Youth Theatre

VISUAL ARTS AND SPOKEN WORD • Southwest Interagency • Arts Corps

VISUAL ART • Madrona Elementary • Greg Thornton

WRITING • Chief Sealth International High School • Bureau of Fearless Ideas

Contracting and Payment

Every Creative Advantage school receives funds to develop arts partnerships with teaching artists and community arts organizations on  The Creative Advantage Roster

Most Creative Advantage partnerships are in-class residencies in integrated arts or cultural arts learning or customized professional development for staff in arts integration. 

For these partnerships, the school and the partner must have a completed Personal Services Contract (PSC) package completed and approved by the Director of Finance BEFORE services may begin. Allow a minimum of 7 working days for approval.

Personal Services Contract Checklist:

1.   The Personal Service Contract  (Word document) is completed by BOTH the partner and the school (usually the arts team coordinator or an administrative secretary), then signed by BOTH the partner and the principal. The information requested includes:

  • Contractor or Partner information like contactinformation, WA State Business License # (pg 1)
  • The agreed upon scope of work and deliverable (pg 1)
  • The dates of the partnership (pg 2)
  • The agreed upon payment – either an hourly or set rate (pg 2)
  • Space for the partner/contractor to sign (pg 3)
  • Space for the school principal to sign and the budget code (pg 4). 

2.  The Bargaining Unit Checklist Form  (PDF) must be completed, signed by the principal. A contractor cannot be contracting for a job that is traditionally performed by District employees covered by a collective bargaining agreement.

3.  The Classification Checklist Form  (PDF) must be completed, signed by the principal. This is to determine employee vs. independent contractor classification. A contractor cannot be a district employee. A contractor should generally have a federal employer identification number, which is included on the PSC form, and matches theW-9.

4.  The IRS W-9 Form , Request for Taxpayer Identification and Certification, completed in full for a corporation or individual, signed and attached.

5. A copy of the partner/contractor’s Washington State Business License (UBI#). You can search for an existing license or apply for a new license at the  Department of Revenue.

6.  A comprehensive background check must be attached when contracting with individuals who have regularly scheduled unsupervised access to children. Sterling Volunteers (formerly Verified Volunteers) is the selected screening service for non-SPS employees. RCW 28A.400.303, visit the Background Checks for Volunteers page. If not needed, explain WHY in an attachment:

Once the PSC package is complete, schools should send original hard copies of your Complete PSC package to Accounting (Mail Stop: 33-343 / Attn: PSContracts).  You can also email forms to

Once the contract is approved by the director of Finance, both the partner and the principal will receive an email notifying them that the contract is approved and services can begin.  The email will include a contract/PO number and a vendor number. Partners, make note of these numbers as you will need to include it on your invoices.

Forms are also available to SPS staff at Business & Finance Forms Section 1. Accounts Payable (staff website login required) 

If you have questions, please email:

Paying an Arts Partner

Once a partner has completed all or a portion of their services, they will send an invoice to the school.

Partners , the invoice should include the following information:

  • A unique invoice number
  • SPS contract PO number (begins with 75-)
  • SPS contractor / Vendor ID number
  • Partner Name
  • Address where payment should be sent

Schools , upon receiving an invoice, please fill out a Certificate of Service Rendered form (staff website login required) (CSR).  This link is only available to SPS staff on the MySPS site. Next, send the completed form & invoice to Accounting – PS Contracts, Mailstop: 33-343. NOTE: Original invoice(s) must be attached.