COOL Schools FAQs
You’ve got questions and we’ve got answers! Here’s a list of the most common things our
partners want to know about COOL Schools. We hope it covers everything, but if there’s
anything we missed, or you’d like to start planning to bring COOL to your school, please contact
Education@OpenDoorArtsMA.org) at any time. We look forward to partnering with you!
What is COOL Schools?
COOL Schools (Creative Outlook on Learning) is a program that partners with schools to
provide inclusive arts instruction to students of all ages, all levels of experience, and all learning
styles. COOL Schools pairs highly skilled teaching artists with classroom teachers to develop
art-integrated learning experiences that support students’ academic, social/emotional and
artistic growth, and deepen engagement through a variety of art forms.
What ages do you work with?
We work with all ages of students in grades K0-12th and include students up to age 22.
What specific student populations do you work with?
We work with all students and specialize in providing instruction that is accessible, engaging
and inclusive for students with disabilities (including those receiving instruction in specialized or
substantially separate classrooms) and students learning English.
What art forms do you offer?
We can provide specialized teaching artists in all art forms including: visual arts, drama, music,
dance, media arts, fashion design, print-making, textile arts, and more!
What kind of experience and training do your Teaching Artists (TAs) have?
Our TAs are highly skilled artists and educators that undergo additional training in inclusive
practices, Universal Design for Learning, and Culturally Sustaining Pedagogy. Our TAs take
part in yearlong professional development and participate in a Professional Learning
Community. In addition, they receive ongoing supervision and coaching support from Open
Door Arts staff in the areas of materials and space, instructional techniques, communication,
and classroom management.
How long are programs?
We like to work with schools for a full school year, but can customize groups, rotations,
and schedules to accommodate each site’s needs.
At what time of day do programs take place?
All COOL Schools programming takes place during the regular school day and in
collaboration with classroom teachers.
How much does it cost?
Programming costs vary by program and depend on the number of days of programming,
number of classes, and length of classes. Schools can choose the amount of programming that
meets their needs and fits their budget. We work hard to ensure that the cost of programming is
accessible for schools and recognize that there are lots of competing demands when it comes
to paying for programs.
How do we pay for COOL Schools?
Our schools pay for programming in a variety of ways. Some use earmarked funds in their
budget, some hold fundraisers, several Boston Public Schools use BPS Partner Funds (Open
Door Arts in an approved program provider), some apply for grants independently, and many
work with us to apply together for foundation, city, and state funding.
What are the other benefits to partnering with Open Door Arts?
We work strategically and holistically with our partners around a shared vision of using the arts
to make schools more welcoming and inclusive spaces for all learners. Open Door Arts handles
all the logistics including vetting, hiring, and placement of TAs, all administrative needs
including payroll and scheduling, and all HR responsibilities including CORIs. We also manage
communication between administration, classroom teachers, and TAs, send communication to
parents, provide ongoing training and supervision to our TAs, handle data collection and
evaluation, provide all materials, and help our schools implement arts celebrations including
performances and gallery displays. When able we also collaborate with our partner sites to
create community arts experiences for students including visits to galleries and museums, talks
with artists, and art-making events (including ArtWeek).
What are the outcomes of COOL Schools? What doothers have to say?
To measure growth and evaluate outcomes of programming, COOL Schools partner
teachers used the COOL Tool to rate proficiency in four goal areas before and after the
program. The COOL Tool is specifically tailored to each site and is structured using a 5 point
Likert scale. Analysis of this year’s data revealed the following:
● 85% of students demonstrated artistic growth
● 73% of students demonstrated academic growth
● 72% of students demonstrated social-emotional growth
● 77% of teachers feel more confident integrating the arts into their own teaching
Here’s what a few of our partners have to say:
“My students transferred the skills learned in COOL Schools and applied them to other
opportunities for making new artwork. Students are more comfortable in their artistic ability.”
“Students developed a stronger sense about how stories are developed, how they emerge,
evolve, and end! I saw some students reminding their classmates about the need to have a
beginning, middle and end in order for the story to make sense.”
“I can't tell you how many times I heard encouraging words from peer to
“Having COOL Schools this year has given me a variety of tools and methods in which I can
use literacy and arts to teach a lesson. The art projects taught me that language and
communication comes in different forms and that art is one way in which many students can
comfortably express what they have learned about a topic.”
How is COOL Schools different from other arts programs?
COOL Schools programs offer a framework that aims to build the internal capacity of each
partnering school. We work in close partnership with school administration and classroom
teachers to identify goals that are not just academic but also addressing school climate when it
comes to inclusion. Each goal is tailored to the site and includes measures to grow students
academic, artistic, and social emotional skills while also working with classroom teachers to
accomplish their goals in inclusive and arts-integrated teaching practices.
In short, COOL Schools designs programs for students and classroom teachers to further
develop their artistic abilities as a tool for learning academics and building a deeper
understanding of themselves and each other.
How can I become a COOL Schools Teaching Artist?
We have calls for Teaching Artists regularly (mostly during the summer months), but we’d love
to hear more about you! Email your resume and a cover letter to Education@OpenDoorArtsMA.org to tell us more about yourself.