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Arts in the Classroom Initiative

The application for the Arts in the Classroom program is open. Application Deadline: March 1.

Please note: This program has been changed from a grant to a direct service program. The details are listed below in the “Expectations” section.

  • Application Form - [PDF]


Applications must be submitted through postal mail or delivered by hand to MAC's office by the due date. Faxed or emailed applications are not accepted.

Please submit Arts in the Classroom applications no earlier than 30 days prior to the deadline. Applications received prior to this will be returned.

If you would like feedback on your application in advance, please send a draft application through e-mail to the WSI Director by the first week of February. You will receive a response and comments within (10) ten business days of receipt of the application.

Note on new required information: All organizations applying to MAC (including schools) must provide their Dun & Bradstreet (DUNS) number on the application. Go to Dun & Bradstreet to apply for a number or check to see if your organization has a number. Go here for more information on DUNS numbers.

Whole Schools Initiative - Introduction

The Mississippi Arts Commission (MAC) believes that every child deserves to be taught in and through the arts, thus nurturing the imagination and creatively impacting lifelong learning.

For over 20 years, MAC has provided an arts integrated conceptual approach to re-designing school environments through the Whole Schools Initiative (WSI). For over 15 years, WSI has provided professional learning for teachers, administrators, parents and teaching artists, through summer institutes and retreats. The content of the workshops are co-created with the Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) and uses the National Core Arts Standards and the Mississippi College and Career Readiness Standards.

The goals of the Whole Schools Initiative are:

  1. Arts Integration - To provide learning opportunities to improve student academic achievement through the integration of the arts into the core curriculum.
  2. Arts Discipline - To increase students' and teachers' skills, knowledge, awareness, and experiences in all arts disciplines.
  3. Professional Learning - To build a school culture with sustainable systems that support arts integration as an approach to teaching.
  4. Community Involvement - To increase family and community engagement an understanding of the arts.

Schools interested in joining WSI are required to complete a year in the Arts in the Classroom (AIC) initiative prior to applying for WSI. For more detailed information on arts integration and MAC's commitment to this method of school reform, please visit the WSI website.

Arts in the Classroom Overview

The Arts in the Classroom (AIC) program provides an overview of the aspects of the WSI program through professional learning opportunities and site visits to Model schools. AIC introduces arts integration strategies to schools who serve pre-K-8th grade students. The concepts are taught through hands-on experiences that connect the National Core Arts Standards and the Mississippi College and Career Readiness Standards. All content is research-based and created by educators, artists and cultural institutions.

AIC is a year-long program. MAC will invest up to $3,500 worth of services to participating schools which may include:

  • Professional development for staff through the Whole Schools Initiative Summer Institute
  • “Arts Integration 101,” an on-site professional development workshop conducted by the WSI Director that introduces the entire staff to the program and arts integration
  • On-site professional development workshops presented by professional arts specialists or teaching artists that cover each of the four major arts disciplines presented to the entire staff
  • Integrated lessons modeled by Model Schools
  • An opportunity to visit WSI Model arts-integrated schools in Mississippi
  • An advisor from a WSI school (Year Two only)
  • Professional development for staff through the WSI Institute

Services awarded to schools applying on the March 1st deadline will be available for the 2017-18 school year (see “Important Dates” section at the end of the guidelines).

Eligibility Requirements

Schools may apply if they are a Mississippi public school or a school that has been incorporated in Mississippi as a non-profit organization and has (IRS) 501c3 status in place.

A Menu of Services MAC may provide through AIC

  • Collaboration with the school to create a professional development plan that identifies the source of income and a plan for professional development during the 2017-18 school year
  • Arrange and sponsor a series of introductory workshops for the staff which may include: Arts Integration 101, Music 101, Theatre 101, Dance 101 and Visual Art 101
  • Schedule and facilitate Model School site visits
  • Advise the school’s leadership team and staff during site visits, teleconferences, and other meetings
  • Sponsor an agreed number of the school’s staff to attend the WSI Summer Institute (preferably 10-15% of the staff including the principal)

Requirements for AIC Schools

The School will:

  • Provide a one for one cash match for the amount of agreed upon services (up to $3,500 in value). Please see the cash match section for a list of qualified sources. Contact the WSI Director if you have challenges identifying matching sources
  • Work with MAC to schedule a series of introductory workshops for the school’s staff
  • Identify a leadership team which includes the principal, lead teachers (from each grade level), arts specialist(s) and other relevant staff
  • Send an agreed amount of staff to at least two Model School sites (Note: One visit must be made to a site outside of the school’s region.)
  • Work with MAC to map out a schedule for professional development, set up Model School site visits, discuss progress and decide by January 2018 if the school will apply for WSI in the upcoming year
  • Send an agreed amount of staff to attend the WSI Summer Institute (preferably 10-15% of the staff including the principal)
  • Submit required project documentation (including the final report) by May 15th
  • Plan and implement at least five WSI Project Team meetings at the school
  • Participate in WSI-related teleconferences and other required meetings
  • Include MAC and WSI logos on the school’s website and other pertinent print pieces

List of services that the School may provide:

  • Registration fees for the WSI Summer Institute
  • Staff travel to the WSI Summer Institute, Model School site visits, etc.
  • Presenting fees for workshops, etc.
  • Art prints
  • Substitute teachers who received professional development or attend Model School site visits

Eligible Sources for the Cash Match

Note: Please work with your school district’s fiscal officer (public schools only) to review the following information.

  • Title 1 and 2 funds (for professional development and travel)
  • PTO/PTA funds (including fundraisers, donations, and other related efforts)
  • School fundraisers (Note: Please contact school district business manager to review rules for school fundraisers in advance.)
  • Percentage of the co-project directors’ salary that was dedicated to AIC
  • School or District funds (supplies, professional development, and travel)
  • Contributions from individuals or local businesses

Review Criteria

AIC applications will be reviewed using the following criteria:

1. Need for Improvement in Academic Achievement (0-25 points)

The applicant explains:

  • their school's greatest needs in generating academic improvement
  • how they are currently addressing these needs
  • how the services from MAC will be incorporated into their plans
  • how their academic goals will be clarified through participation in the initiative

2. Vision and the Ability to Fulfill the Commitment (0-25 points)

The applicant describes:

  • their vision for using the arts to address school needs
  • an internal in-service professional development schedule that includes each WSI workshop and time set aside to disseminate information after the WSI Summer Institute
  • who their co-project directors will be
  • a well-rounded list of staff members who will be part of the WSI Project Team
  • their capacity to add new committee work to their existing infrastructure
  • their existing planning schedule

3. Demonstration of Commitment from Leadership (0-25 points)

The applicant includes the following information:

  • a statement from the principal that describes their desire and reasoning for applying to become an AIC school
  • a realistic plan to send staff members to WSI professional development opportunities and a WSI model site visit
  • a financial commitment from the school that matches the maximum value of services provided by MAC

4. Parental and Community Involvement (0-15 points)

The applicant should detail:

  • their relationship with the school’s PTO or PTA
  • parental involvement at the school
  • community involvement at the school (including with local cultural institutions)

5. Quality of Application (0-10 points)

The applicant includes the following complete information:

  • Arts in the Classroom application form
  • A complete narrative with all questions answered
  • Quality lesson plans that are connected to the standards
  • Other required items (see list below)

How To Apply

  1. Read through the guidelines and review the application with your school team.
  2. Contact the WSI Director (contact information below) to discuss your school’s interest in the initiative and the details for applying and participating.
  3. Arrange for a meeting with the school staff and the WSI Director prior to beginning work on the application
  4. Pull together data, fill out the application and collect support materials (see list below).
  5. Submit one original and one copy of the application and one copy of the support materials (in the order listed below) to MAC on or before the deadline date. Note: Do not staple or bind your application.
  6. Once MAC receives your application and support materials, an e-mail notification will be sent to the primary project director. Consult the "Important Dates" section below for the review and approval schedule for the program.

Required Items in the Application Packet

  • Arts in the Classroom application form
  • Narrative (three-page maximum) in which you address the questions in the application
  • Personal statement from the principal describing their desire and purpose for applying for AIC
  • Letter of support from the school’s PTO or PTA that describes the structure of the meetings, involvement of the parents at the school as it pertains to the arts and other annual school events
  • Letter of support from the school’s superintendent that describes the support (both administrative and financial) to the school’s involvement with AIC
  • A copy of your school’s current planning schedule (highlighting time with teachers and art specialists, if applicable)
  • Calendar of school events and regularly scheduled meetings for the 2017-18 school year. Include items such as PTA or PTO meetings, faculty meetings, professional learning committee meetings, and other school-wide events
  • One sample lesson plan from each grade level (include Common Core State Standards)
  • One sample lesson plan from each art specialist (include Mississippi Visual and Performing Arts Frameworks)
  • A list of your school’s academic goals for the current school year
  • A general overview of the school schedule containing each grade level’s visual and performing art classes
  • A CD-R with 5-10 electronic images that demonstrate the current school’s environment (i.e. front of the school, images of the artwork hung in the hallways, classroom environment, location of student performances, etc.)
  • If a private school, a copy of your IRS 501c3 determination letter

Important Dates

  • February 1: Arts in the Classroom application draft deadline (should be sent electronically to WSI Director)
  • March 1: Arts in the Classroom application deadline
  • April: Review of applications
  • June: MAC Board meets and makes final funding decisions on all applications
  • June: WSI Summer Institute
  • July 1: Applicants are notified whether they are accepted into the program or not.

For more information about Arts in the Classroom or to discuss an application to the program, please contact Andrea Coleman, at (601) 359-6040 or

Frequently Asked Questions

1.Who should the Co-Project Directors be?
A set of teachers who are looked upon by the staff as leaders. At least one of the directors should be a classroom teacher.

2. Why do you need the Co-Project Directors’ personal contact information?
During school breaks (especially the summer) it is important to have additional contact information in case there are questions or changes in upcoming events. This information will not be shared with any outside parties.

3. Who is the Authorizing Official?
This person should be the person who is designated to sign contracts on behalf of the school. Public schools should list their superintendent and private schools should list the school principal or other appropriate appointee.

4. Who are considered “inclusion” students?
Any student identified as having a disability who receive specialized instruction within a general classroom environment.

5. Who are considered “self-contained” students?
Any student identified as having a disability who receives specialized instruction within a classroom specifically designed for their needs.

6. What is considered the Average Daily Attendance?
The percentage of the average daily count of students in attendance in an entire school year. Do not include tardiness.

7. Who should we plan to send to the WSI Summer Institute?
The project director, principal, lead teachers from each grade level, curriculum coordinator and the art specialist(s) is an ideal group of attendees.

8. Who should be on the WSI Project Team?
Create a project team that is comprised of administrator(s), project directors, arts specialist(s), lead teachers and perhaps a parent.

9. What is the format for the narrative questions?
Answer the questions in a narrative up to three pages. It should be formatted using a minimum 12 point font size and one inch margins on all sides of the page. It should be written by a project team that includes both administrators and the co-project directors.

10. Who should I contact if I have more questions?
For more information about Arts in the Classroom or to discuss an application to the program, please contact Andrea Coleman, at 601-359-6040 or