Arts integration incorporates the arts throughout the learning process by infusing some form of art, such as theatre, music, dance, drawing, poetry, or other expression of creativity, into the core curriculum. It is experiential in nature and encourages “learning by doing.”

Using arts and cultural resources to expand the ways teachers teach and students learn has been proven to achieve measurable results. Arts integration also helps develop the whole child, ensuring a well-rounded education.

Integrating arts and cultural programs throughout the learning process is an addition to—not a substitution for—fine arts classes. COCAedu strongly supports classes devoted exclusively to instruction in art and music, in addition to having a full range of the arts as part of the learning experience in all subject areas.

The COCAedu Model

Through COCAedu, community partners are helping classroom teachers in school districts throughout the St. Louis region do what they do best by providing additional support through arts-infused learning. COCAedu supports arts-integrated learning through:

  • Professional development of classroom teachers, administrators and teaching artists through on-site coaching, intensive summer institutes, school-year workshops, opportunities to participate in national arts education programs, and access to a network of professional learning communities within schools and cultural institutions. Learn more.
  • Programmatic and financial support of partnerships between arts and cultural organizations and classroom teachers. The most important work COCAedu does is to facilitate the in-classroom work of teachers in tandem with teaching artists.
  • Documentation and evaluation of arts integration so that all teachers can benefit from lessons developed to engage students in the classroom.
  • Advocating for arts education by partnering with principals, teachers, parents, and community members to ensure that it remains an integral part of each child’s education.


Evaluating Our Model

To ensure our arts integration strategies are meeting academic, artistic and professional development goals, COCAedu has worked with Dr. Rob Horowitz, Associate Professor of Music and Associate Director of Learning In and Through the Arts at Teachers College at Columbia University, on a five-year formative and summative evaluation of COCAedu programming. According to the 2011-2012 evaluation report, COCAedu is highly effective at providing quality arts integration to participating schools:

  • 81.5% of teachers reported that students were more engaged and motivated to learn because of their participation with COCAedu.
  • 86% of teachers reported that COCAedu helped students understand academic concepts.
  • 85% of teachers reported that their students gained self-confidence through COCAedu.
  • 81% of teachers reported that the residency helped the students develop English language skills.
  • 100% of teachers reported that they learned new teaching techniques or approaches that they will continue to use.
  • 95% of teachers reported that the COCAedu residency helped them teach academic subjects in new and productive ways.
  • 100% of teachers reported they gained new insight into what children can accomplish through the arts.

Arts Integration Resources


Academic Research


Programs and Initiatives