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Joan Oates Institute: Foundations of Arts Integration

August 12-16, 2019

Great for teams of teachers of all subjects and grade levels. The focus is on how we teach, not what we teach, so bring a mixed-content area group to develop an interdisciplinary unit that will improve your students’ retention of content, build a dynamic learning community, and transform learning in your classroom.

Participants will experience what it feels like to be engaged in multiple ways of learning, and discover how to communicate their learning outcomes in authentic and innovative ways.

While JOI is designed for teams of teachers, any individuals that apply will be assigned a team on the first day. With a focus is on how we teach, not what, a mixed-content area group works together to develop an interdisciplinary unit that:

  • Engages and empowers your students
  • Explores big ideas through the lenses of multiple disciplines
  • Provides a range of media to assess content comprehension
  • Connects curricular content to real-world experience

Richmond Public Schools Partnership

PIA is excited to partner with Richmond Public Schools (RPS) on the Arts Integrated Learning Certificate (AILC) project supported by the US Department of Education. RPS teachers who have been accepted into the first cohort will begin training at the 2018 Joan Oates Institute with the Turnaround Arts: Richmond partner schools.

PIA Consortium Members

Apply today as JOI 2019 will only be open to PIA Consortium members at the PIA discounted rate, but with limited space available. You’ll have the option to select graduate credit or non-credit below. For each form, you’ll be asked to create an account in our third-party registration systems as part of the registration process. We respect your privacy and will use these accounts to send you JOI- and PIA-related messages.


Partners in the Arts (PIA) Consortium school members receive a special rate for the credit or noncredit course. Chesterfield, Goochland, Hanover, Henrico, Powhatan, Richmond City and various independent schools are current members of the consortium. Please contact PIA staff with membership questions.

Participant Fee
Accepted RPS AILC participants  Visit AILC page
PIA Consortium Member $650
Graduate Credit $800


RPS AILC Cohort 1 members are automatically registered, and JOI 2019 is only open to PIA Consortium members. Select the appropriate application type (graduate or noncredit) below. For each form, you’ll be asked to create an account in our third-party registration systems as part of the registration process. We respect your privacy and will use these accounts to send you JOI- and PIA-related messages.

Institute Details

2019 Details will be Posted Soon

2018 information listed for reference.


Participants will work through interactive and hands-on sessions to contextualize curricular content through the arts, and attend presentations from educational pyschologists creativity specialists and arts professional teaching artists.

The course consists of a full week of required contact hours with a variety of differentiated learning and discussion techniques being used to model reaching ALL students where and how they are. 

Each day will include workshops that guide participants through the process of:

  • Accessing the creative tools and skills we all have
  • Creatively framing your curricular content
  • Researching and collecting artifacts through observation using a variety of senses and art forms
  • Building learning communities built on trust that engage and empower students

By the end of the week participants will embrace being outside of their comfort zones, using basic technology, and seeing/hearing/feeling the world in exciting new ways.

Each day will last from 8 a.m.–5 p.m.


Educators work hard and deserve the best.

At JOI we demonstrate how much we value teachers through excellent workshops and collaborative learning time, but also by providing continental breakfast, snacks, and lunch in our amazing dining hall, every day. All food needs and requirements are accommodated so you can focus on getting the most out of your time at JOI.

Professional Learning Course

To better align with the VDOE no longer requiring a college-credit course for recertification, we created this professional development option. Participants receive the same great workshops, instructional support, and interdisciplinary lesson and unit plan design training and resources, but are required to only submit a lesson, not their full unit plan as for graduate credit. All participants receive a 50-hour certificate of completion and CEUs are available based on contact hours to meet any reimbursement requirements your school system may have.


  • Attend all five days of the Institute, from 8 a.m.–5 p.m. (eligible for 50 recertification points)
  • Complete online work such as readings, reflection, and peer feedback
  • Communication with the instructor throughout the full length of the course
  • Complete and submit an arts integrated lesson as part of a unit plan, submitted as an electronic portfolio
Graduate Course

Successful participation will earn three graduate credits, which is the equivalent of 90 VDOE recertification points.


  • Attend all five days of the Institute, from 8 a.m.–5 p.m.
  • Complete online work such as readings, reflection, and peer feedback
  • Communicate with the instructor throughout the full length of the course.
  • Complete an arts integrated unit plan, submitted as an electronic portfolio.
Daily Schedule
Day 1: Monday

Defining Arts Integration & Course Overview

Partners in the Arts (PIA) staff breaks down the concept of “teaching all subjects through the arts” first used in PIA’s founding Arts in Education Plan in 1993. Follow the course of more than two decades of teacher training and arts integration project support and discover how and why the PIA methodology is a timeless learning tool.

Facilitators: Autumn Nabors & Rob McAdams

Sketchbook: Artist Research

The sketchbook or field journal is an essential tool for capturing your observations and working through your curiosities and ideas and designing and sharing your stories. In this session you will make your sketchbook “your own” and learn about ideas from current and recent PIA sketchbook practitioners in schools.

Observation and Creativity Visual Art Skills

Explore creativity, close observation and seeing, and making visual art. Because creativity is a practice and not a talent, participants will develop it and use it to engage with the world around them, and capture and share their ideas or stories in their sketchbooks.

Facilitator: Noah Scalin

Day 2: Tuesday

The Connected Classroom: Using Trauma Informed Principles to Enhance Learning

This workshop focuses on the use of trauma-informed principles to enhance classroom learning. The first objective is to share the neuroscience of traumatic stress and the basics of a trauma-informed classroom, including the role of the arts and expression. The second objective is to generate, practice, and discuss trauma-informed solutions to common classroom situations.

Facilitator: Dr. Lisa Jobe-Shields

The Music is the Pedagogy: Framework, Practices and Outcomes in the Improvisational Classroom

Explore listening, sound, and music through the pedagogical philosophy, framework, practices, and outcomes of Nameless Sound workshops in creative, group improvisation. In this student-engaged and centered way of listening and working, power is shared with participants through collaboration and dialog, with outcomes of knowledge transfer, therapy, play, creative work and assessment strategies.

Facilitators: Nameless Sound Director David Dove and Sound Artist Facilitators

Day 3: Wednesday

Slow Journalism and Out of Eden Learn — Community Exploration, Global-Local

This workshop is the foundation for the course where participants will develop their multimedia storytelling skills by using the Out of Eden Walk project as a model. Participants will learn to build compelling narratives using a full range of skills: story development, research, interviewing and writing. Participants will also look to build global cultural literacy through engagement with the themes, and factual content (culture, history, geography, anthropology, environmental science, politics) of the Out of Eden Walk.

Facilitator: Don Belt

Research — Digital Scholarship Lab

This session will showcase research on the our neighborhoods and communities through the Digital Scholarship Lab (DSL). DSL projects such as Redlining Richmond use mapping to visualize and explore a variety of topics and policies that inform how our communities look through the lenses of data in US history.

Photography & Video — Community Exploration, Local

This is a hands-on workshop to teach professional skills and concepts that can help in the creation of digital videos as a means for capturing and telling community and individual stories. Concepts and skills include: research techniques, learning to shoot for editing, proper audio recording and overall video structure. Participants will create a video based on their specific discipline or theme. They will research, operate a video camera, interview (on camera) and edit a short video. Participants may bring the digital equipment they use, such as an iPad, but it is not required.

Facilitator: Mason Mills

Day 4: Thursday

Select two (2) of the following workshops

SHADOW JOURNEYS: Exploring Content Through Shadow Puppetry

Shadow puppetry allows students to express their understanding through visual art, drama, and writing. Discover how to create and use shadow puppets to explore the causes and effects of historical events, such as the Underground Railroad. Participants learn shadow puppetry techniques and discover ways students can use shadow puppetry to synthesize historical events through the writing and creation of mini-scenes on the screen.

Facilitator: Daniel Barash, The Shadow Puppet Workshop

This workshop was developed in association with The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and is partially underwritten by the U.S. Department of Education, and the National Committee for the Performing Arts.

Music and Reading Comprehension

Enhance student learning by using sound and rhythm to explore ways to help students develop reading comprehension strategies and make connections between music and language. Teachers are guided through a process to help students create a Soundscape, a way to retell the story that connects students to the story’s tone, mood, setting, and the characters’ culture(s). This learning process will help students attend to sensory images, use questioning strategies, respond to inference, and determine importance which helps students develop a better understanding of the text. Students will develop listening skills through collaboration, build interpretation and oral presentation skills through communication, and improve reading fluency through creativity. See how music can make full use of these skills through students’ aural, visual, analytical, creative and social intelligences. Your students will attain a new level of comprehension when they experience seeing, hearing, and feeling through their reading!

Facilitator: Imani Gonzalez, Global Voices

This workshop was developed in association with The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and is partially underwritten by the U.S. Department of Education, and the National Committee for the Performing Arts.

Day 5: Friday

Slam Poetry

Participants will be invited to write a poem and present their creation out loud. We will discuss the state of communication in this time of the text message and learn to dare our students to once again speak and dare to inspire classmates to do the same. We will cover persona poems by Patricia Smith. We will cover the topic of death through work by Matt Rasmussen. We will watch videos of performances by Taylor Mali and Megan Falley to show how Spoken Word enables students to conquer verbal and non-verbal communication.

Facilitator: John Blake

Curriculum Slam

Share what has inspired you and how you are going to utilize some of the ideas and experiences you have discovered throughout the week. Bonus points for creativity and rhymes.

Objectives & Outcomes
  • To understand the basic pedagogical philosophy behind an interdisciplinary approach to teaching the curriculum
  • To gain an appreciation and understanding of experiential, constructivist, and inquiry-based education and how it influences the curriculum
  • To learn how to view and utilize the visual, performing, and literary arts in a way that instills confidence in application and assessment (Fear No Art!)

Participants will create an educational plan to integrate the arts into their local school curriculum, learn about arts integration resources, and join a network of professional colleagues interested in integrating creativity and sparking curiosity in their classrooms. The innovative lessons and unit plans developed in this course can become the basis of a PIA ECT Award proposal, PBL or IB project. Unit plans, where applicable, will be due Monday, August, 27 by 5:00 pm.

Sponsors & Supporters
Program Supporters

Support proved by the following:

School Partners
  • Chesterfield County Public Schools
  • Goochland County Public Schools
  • Hanover County Public Schools
  • Henrico County Public Schools
  • Patrick Henry School for Science and the Arts
  • Powhatan County Public Schools
  • Richmond City Public Schools
  • Collegiate School
  • The Steward School
  • St. Andrews School
Community Partners
  • 1708 Gallery
  • CultureWorks
  • Richmond Cultural Educators
  • Studio Two Three
  • Virginia Museum of Fine Arts
  • Virginia Repertory Theatre
  • Visual Arts Center of Richmond - Sketchbook Co-Sponsor
University of Richmond Partners
  • Modlin Center for the Arts
  • University Museums
  • Department of Art
  • Department of Music
  • Department of Theatre & Dance
  • Digital Scholarship Lab

Partners in the Arts
Phone: (804) 955-4012

Robert S. McAdams, MFA

Stacy Hull

UR Downtown
626 E. Broad St., Ste. 100
Richmond, VA 23219