The Whole Schools Initiative, a program of the Mississippi Arts Commission, is Mississippi’s first comprehensive statewide arts education program, which uses the arts as a vehicle for promoting high-quality instruction and learning for students in all disciplines. In 1991, the WSI began as a response to “back to basics” school reform and calls for the integration of the arts into daily classroom instruction and sequential, comprehensive instruction in dance, theatre, visual arts, and music.

WSI evaluation results have shown:

  • increased standardized test scores
  • increased community involvement and support
  • increased parental involvement
  • improved overall teacher morale

There are three levels to the program: Arts in the Classroom (one year “try-out” experience); Whole Schools Initiative (eight year commitment); Model School (two year award, renewable). Application information for all three levels of the program is linked below.

Arts In The Classroom

Arts in the Classroom (AIC) is a program designed to primarily provide professional development for teachers and administrators of preK-12 schools in the foundations of arts integration as a teaching tool to enhance teaching skills and improve student achievement through the infusion of the arts into the basic curriculum.

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Whole Schools Initiative

The Whole Schools Initiative is a program open to K-12 schools that uses the arts as a vehicle for promoting high-quality instruction and learning for students. The initiative is founded on effective research-based methods and strategies. Participants in the Whole Schools Initiative are supported through grant funds, professional development and technical assistance for up to six years.

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Model Schools

Schools that have committed to arts integration and changed their school’s culture through the arts are invited to apply as a Model Whole School. To apply, schools must have completed at least three years in the Whole Schools Initiative.

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Partners include: Mississippi Department of Education and other cultural institutions.

Learn more about the Whole Schools Initiative