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Arts Integrated Learning Certificate for Richmond Public Schools

RPS logoRichmond Public Schools, in partnership with the University of Richmond’s Partners in the Arts program, has been awarded a $1.3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education to support our commitment to transform instruction in schools through arts integration. This grant will fund the Arts Integrated Learning Certificate program, which will allow a select group of RPS educators to earn a professional certificate in arts integrated learning from the University of Richmond.

What: The Arts Integrated Learning Certificate (AILC) program will provide teachers from all disciplines with the knowledge and skills to engage more students by closing the opportunity-to-learn gap created by traditional or limited teaching practices and build learning communities that are creative, active and experiential, reflective, social, evolving, and focused on problem-solving.

Who: Richmond Public Schools, a Turnaround Arts partner and Partners in the Arts (PIA), a program of the University of Richmond, are partnering to bring PIA’s 24 years of arts integration expertise to support Richmond Public Schools’ commitment to innovative learning communities that engage and empower both teachers and students.

Why: Arts integration allows teachers to find their students’ diverse learning strengths in a culturally responsive way and has been shown to improve long-term retention of core academic content. The “cost” for teachers to incorporate arts integration is training and planning time, which this project will provide through the completion of certificate requirements, coaching and support of school administrators.

How: Teachers selected to participate in one of two AILC cohorts will receive teacher-training, coaching and support as part of an arts integration Professional Learning Community.

  • Training will occur through three sequential courses (50 hours each) and three workshops (10 hours each).
  • All courses will be a hybrid of face-to-face instruction and online work.
  • Participants will complete the program in 18-24 months.

Certification Requirements

3 Courses
Course I - How We Learn

Joan Oates Institute: Foundations of Arts Integration

Build an understanding of arts integration as a constructivist and reflective teaching practice by exploring creative practices and strategies to engage students in building a student-centered culturally responsive learning community.

Course II - How We Assess

Telling the Story of Learning: Performance Based Assessment

Explore using arts as creative assessment strategies and approaches to having students construct and demonstrate academic learning through an art form. As a curator, teachers will devise ways of gathering and presenting evidence of learning through documentation.

  • January 18-19, 2020
  • February 22, 2020
  • March 28, 2020
Course III - How We Experience

Making the Connections: Collaborative Unit Planning

Collaborative unit planning utilizing regional community expertise to connect authentic real world projects to academic learning through a big idea or essential question. Incorporate evolving objectives through the arts integration principle of exploring content through the lenses of multiple disciplines.

  • Fall 2019 dates: TBA
  • Fall 2020 dates: TBA
3 Workshops

In addition to the three courses, teachers must complete three workshops to earn the certificate. If there is an upcoming community performance, event or exhibition that you are interested in connecting to your classroom, please let us know by sending a message or link to

Previous Workshops

Use the list of previous workshops to review the types of opportunities available.

Exploring Art and Sound

In this two-part workshop series, participants explored creative practices using art and sound to help engage students in classroom content and connect to the world around them. Maria Chavez, a sound artist and abstract turntablist, used listening and sound art activities to generate new sounds through abstract turntablism. Steve Van Dam, musician and founder of Light the Music, taught ORO Visual to explore combining visuals, sound, and music to create a looping music-making app.

Live Action Graphic-Novels

Partners in the Arts collaborated with the Modlin Center for the Arts on a workshop based on the “Intergalatic Nemesis: Robot Planet Rising” performance held at the Altria Theater. In this workshop, K-12 educators explored using the radio-play-meets-comic-book format to discover practices in comics, acting, foley, music and technology to help their students contextualize curricular content. The workshop applied to all content and resource area educators including the areas of STEM, history, English, ITRTs, librarians, visual, performing, and literary arts.

The Man Who Planted Trees

Partners in the Arts director Rob McAdams led this work to demonstrate how environmental education and arts integration can be used to address growth, biology, and history, based on ideas found in the Modlin Center performance of “The Man Who Plannted Trees” by the Edinburgh Theater Company.

1708 Gallery’s InLight Richmond

Partners in the Arts provides workshop opportunities to engage students in STEM and CTE through the InLight workshop series. This annual free, light-inspired public event features performances, sculpture, video, and interactive projects that illuminate pathways, walls, sidewalks, green spaces and offers the opportunity to experience the city in new and unexpected ways.

Aquatic Wild/Project Wild

This workshop bought themes and ideas found in The Nile Project school matinee performance into the K-12 classroom by going outside. Aquatic WILD and Project WILD (Wildlife In Learning Design) are wildlife-focused conservation education programs. The goal of these programs is to help students develop awareness, knowledge, skills, and commitment to the world around them.

Crooked Data Workshop

In this two-part workshop series, K-12 teachers explored integrating creative teaching practices in the classroom through collecting and mapping data and printmaking. In the first workshop participants examined databases and tools available through the University’s Boatwright Library. In the second workshop participants used the data gathered from the first workshop and screen-printing to create artwork.

Certification Benefits

Richmond Public Schools teachers who complete the Arts Integrated Learning Certificate program will receive the following benefits from the experience:

  • Earn a professional learning certificate (eligible for 180 recertificate points) for completing the 180 hours of training in arts integration.
  • Become an arts integration teacher-leader in your school
  • Be part of an innovative Professional Learning Community that connects our city’s rich arts and cultural community, unique history and neighborhoods to your classroom
  • Develop your craft as a teacher
  • Collaborate with your colleagues, and work with national and regional experts, teaching artists, and performers to explore your content area through the lenses of multiple disciplines
  • Develop a toolbox full of relevant, practical, and creative practices, strategies, and methods for engaging instructional delivery
  • Connect curricular content to programs and events occurring in the Richmond arts and cultural community
  • Develop skills to creatively integrate technology, both as an instructional tool and as content


RPS Teacher Eligibility

Chris Angeles, PDAE Grant Project Coordinator, RPS

Courses & Workshops

Stacy Hull, Program Coordinator, PIA

Rob McAdams, UR PDAE Principal Investigator, PIA


Two RPS teacher cohorts will be eligible to earn the AILC.

Cohort 2 Application Now Open

  • Priority schools deadline is April 29, 2019
  • Deadline for all other applicants is May 31, 2019
  • Courses will be offered summer 2019, spring 2020 and summer 2020
  • Workshops will be available throughout the year beginning in fall of 2019


The Arts Integrated Learning Certificate (AILC) program is offered at no cost to RPS teachers through a generous grant from the U.S. Department of Education.

However, additional tuition charges apply for teachers who wish to earn graduate credit for the courses.

  • AILC participants are eligible for 180 VDOE recertification points through a series of three courses and three community event based workshops.
  • AILC participants will receive a stipend for successfully completing the program.
  • AILC participants will receive an iPad tablet for incorporating technology throughout the program.


We are currently accepting applications for AILC Cohort 2. The application will take approximately 20 minutes to complete.

The online application will open in a new window and require you to log in with an existing application credential or to create a new login.

  • The application does not have to be completed in one session. You can return as often as needed before submitting.
  • The application requires your principal’s endorsement. Please request verbal approval from your principal prior to applying.

What Teachers Say about PIA & JOI

In Touch with My Own Creativity

I was looking for some good strategies to change my classroom approach to learning. It helped me to get in touch with my own creativity and reminded me of how important it is.

Recharging my Attitude The Joan Oates Institute for Partners in the Arts was a great way to recharge my attitude after 22 years of teaching.
Creating Authentic Learning Experiences

JOI provided me with limitless ways to pull students in and create authentic and meaningful learning experiences by incorporating the arts into lessons.

Breaking Down Barriers to Access

Arts integration allows students of all abilities access to learning through visual, performance, musical, literary, and every other art form we can bring into the classroom.

Transforming Our City Schools

Arts integration in education is essential to transforming education in our city schools, especially at the middle school level.

Change Your Teaching Life for the Better

Take this program and change your teaching life for the better. Be ready to work like you have never worked before, with your body, hands, eyes, and soul. 

PIA and JOI Workshops
Partners in the Arts
Partners in the Arts
Partners in the Arts