Arts Program

Arts Integration

Creative Arts Charter School was founded on the belief that the education of the whole child includes ongoing exploration in dance, drama, music, and visual arts. To that end, every school day for every student at CACS involves opportunities to play, invent, and discover. As part of a universal, cross-cultural language, the arts represent innate aspects of our common humanity, providing an inherent foundation for communication and a bridge for understanding across differences of age, race, gender identity, sexual orientation, socioeconomics, and culture. The arts program lies at the heart and soul of the overall educational experience of every student at Creative Arts Charter School.

CACS uses art integration as a key strategy for learning in the classroom. We use the Kennedy Center’s definition of arts integration to drive our teaching:

Arts Integration is an approach to teaching in which students construct and demonstrate understanding through an art form. Students engage in a creative process which connects an art form and another subject area and meets evolving objectives in both. 



The arts staff work closely with all classroom teachers to integrate the arts into their curriculum from grades K-8. This dynamic exchange allows students to become well-versed in a wide range of art media and techniques as they enhance their core competency skills. They also learn the social, historical, and multicultural relevancy and impact of the arts.

Kindergarten-5th Grade
From Kindergarten through 5th grade, students also participate in art classes four times each week, one each in visual arts, music, dance, and theater.

  • The visual arts program focuses on the creation of individual fine-arts projects in a variety of media, introducing students to a rich array of materials, techniques, contemporary artists, and art history. These projects also maintain a focus on connecting to themes in the core curriculum.
  • Based on the Orff Schulwerk approach, the music program weaves together strands of speech and poetry, movement and dance, drama and song, improvisation and set pieces, as well as use of the body and voice. Students sing folk songs from around the world, rock, jazz, and rap. They move in creative ways, play instruments, learn folk dances, tell stories and play games that teach them beat, rhythm, and pitch. These elements evolve as the students grow from Kindergarten to 3rd grade, but the essential aspects of creativity, play, and the love of music remain constant throughout all grade levels.
  • The dance program nurtures all students’ unique way of expressing who they are through movement. In an environment of encouragement, consistency and mutual respect, student dancers are challenged both physically and creatively. Workshops are lively, exposing the children to a rich blend of jazz, hip-hop, ballet and creative movement to engage everyone and inspire imagination. Weekly workshops build toward a culmination performance in the Spring

Grades 6-8
From grades 6-8, students focus on a particular discipline of the arts each semester, selecting an elective that they take three times a week. These classes focus on the arts as rigorous disciplines essential to the human experience. Teachers help students to find joy in self-expression and use creativity as a tool for enriching their academic learning and deepening their cultural awareness. Elective offerings vary based on student interest. This year, electives have included:

  • Music
  • Dance
  • Photography and graphic arts
  • Visual arts, including electives in painting, drawing, ceramics, sculpture, printmaking, photography, and graphic arts
  • Theater, in partnership with the National Conservatory Theater

Guest Artists
The arts staff at CACS regularly invite guest artists from the wider San Francisco art community to join us in hosting short-term workshops that expand the exposure of our K-8 student artists to different styles of art-making. We also arrange field trips to museums, galleries, and artist studios. In addition, students attend concerts, dance performances, film festivals, and theater throughout the city, connecting classroom learning with art in the community. Samples of our arts-related collaborations with local organizations and institutions can be found on our Partnerships page.

Latest Art News

Rainbow of Rainbows with Leslie Keir, Visual Arts Specialist

Rainbow of Rainbows with Leslie Keir, Visual Arts Specialist

Kids all around the world are making Rainbows and sharing them with their communities by putting them in their windows. This started in Italy as a way to encourage people to feel hopeful and connected during the pandemic and sheltering in place. It’s a HUGE worldwide...

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