For more than 25 years, Mississippi Whole Schools has provided an arts-integrated conceptual approach to re-designing school environments. MWS offers professional learning for teachers, administrators, parents and teaching artists, through summer institutes and retreats. The content of the workshops is co-created with the Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) and uses the College and Career Readiness Standards and the College and Career Readiness Arts Learning Standards.

Schools interested in joining MWS are required to complete a year in the Arts in the Classroom (AIC) program prior to applying for MWS. For more detailed information on arts integration and MAC’s commitment to this method of school reform, please visit the MWS website.

MWS is a six year commitment between the school and MAC. Participating schools receive services that support items such as:

  • Professional development for faculty and administrators through Mississippi Whole Schools Summer and Winter Institutes.
  • Arts experiences and teacher workshops by teaching artists that connect to the school’s goals and state standards.
  • Workshops by consultants on topics connected to the school’s academic goals.
  • An adviser assigned to provide technical assistance, model arts integrated strategies and act as a mentor to the school.
  • Access to the MWS Members only resource page providing professional development and classroom digital resources.

Services awarded to schools accepted into the program will be available for the following school year.

Eligibility Requirements

Schools may apply if they are a Mississippi public school or a school that has been incorporated in Mississippi as a non-profit organization with IRS 501(c)3 status in place.

All final reports for current MAC grants (including supplemental materials) must be turned in and complete from the previous fiscal year before services for the upcoming fiscal year will be awarded.

Services Provided By MAC Through The Program

MAC will:

  • Sponsor an agreed number of the school’s staff to attend the MWS Summer Institute and Mid-year training event.
  • Sponsor teaching artists or consultants to lead workshop(s) at the school that connect to the school’s goals.
  • Assign a Field Advisor for six site visits to provide technical assistance, model arts integrated strategies and act as a mentor to the school.

Expectations for the school when participating In MWS

The School will:

  • Provide a cash match for the amount of agreed upon services (up to $5,000). Please see the cash match section for a list of qualified sources. Note: If this is an issue, please contact the Arts Education immediately.
  • Provide travel expenses for an agreed amount of staff to attend MWS Summer Institute, mid-year training, and Model School tours.
  • School will send an administrator to attend the MWS Summer Institute and MWS Leadership Retreat.
  • Schedule time for teaching artists and consultants to work with students and teachers.
  • Schedule time after each off-site professional development workshop to share information and arts integration strategies through hands-on experiences with the rest of the staff.
  • Plan and implement a minimum of five Arts Leadership Committee meetings at the school.
  • Submit other required documentation and reports to MAC upon request.
  • Participate in MWS-related teleconferences and other related meetings.
  • Include MWS and MAC logos on the school’s website and other pertinent print pieces.

Eligible Forms For The Cash Match

Note: Please work with your school district’s fiscal officer (public schools only) to review the following information.

  • Title funds (for professional development, travel, etc.)
  • PTO/PTA funds (including funds from fundraisers, donations, or other income streams)
  • School fundraisers (Note: Please contact school district business manager to review rules for school fundraisers in advance.)
  • School or District funds (to support purchase of supplies, professional development, or travel)
  • Contributions from individuals or local businesses

Whole Schools Review Criteria

MWS Applications will be reviewed utilizing the following criteria:

Communication (25 points)

The applicant includes:

  • a description of how the school communicates and demonstrates the work.
  • community artful performances and training events within the school’s Arts and Events Calendar.
  • information about arts in in the schools printed and digital information.
  • a well thought out plan outlining how deficits will be (are being) addressed (Goal 1-Journey Map)

Professional Learning (25 points)

The applicant provides:

  • professional learning opportunities within the school’s Arts Training and Events Calendar that connect to the school’s growth planner.
  • MWS Events & Attendance projections demonstrating a realistic plan for the ongoing participation of the staff and administrators in MWS training events
  • a description of the school’s plan to disseminate information from professional development workshops through peer-to-peer workshops and collaborations
  • a well thought out plan outlining how deficits will be (are being) addressed (Goal 2-Journey Map)

Community Relationships (25 points)

The applicant provides:

  • certified art specialists certified arts specialists to teach the literacy of their art form and collaborate with classroom teachers to plan arts integrated lessons/units and serve as a resource and leader of their art form.
  • Arts Leadership Committee planning opportunities with the school’s Arts Training and Events Calendar.
  • a description of the on-going collaboration and communication with school stakeholders.
  • a well thought out plan outlining how deficits will be (are being) addressed (Goal 3-Journey Map).

Operations (25 points)

The applicant provides:

  • matching funds to support the ongoing growth and implementation of the program .
  • a description of the school’s plans to make arts integration sustainable.
  • a description of how the parents and community support the arts and arts integration on campus.
  • administrative & district letters of support for rigorous arts and curriculum connections.
  • a well thought out plan outlining how deficits will be (are being) addressed. (Goal 4-Journey Map).

How To Apply

Please note: With the implementation of our new eGRANT system, MAC will no longer accept paper applications. Instructions on how to register with the eGRANT system are available herePlease contact MAC staff if you have questions.

  1. Read through the guidelines and review the application with your school team.
  2. Prior to beginning work on the application, contact the Arts Education (contact information below) to discuss your school’s interest in the program and the details for applying and participating.
  3. Pull together data,  collect support materials (see list below) and fill out the application using MAC’s eGRANT system.
  4. In 2022, the federal government transitioned from the use of the DUNS Number to a new Unique Entity ID (UEI) as the primary means of identification required to apply for and receive federal funding. Due to federal regulations, MAC will be unable to award any funding to organizations that fail to provide this information. It is 100% free for an organization to request a UEI, and you need not complete the full registration in order to obtain your ID. Follow the steps outlined in this guide to obtain your organization’s UEI, or click here to view a video which provides a detailed explanation of the Unique Entity ID (UEI). For further assistance in obtaining a UEI, you can reach the help desk by calling 866-606-8220 to speak to a registration specialist.
  5. Once MAC receives your application and support materials, an e-mail notification will be sent to the primary project director. Consult the Grants Calendar below for the review and approval schedule for the program.

Required Items For MWS Application Package

Please be prepared to submit the following information through the eGRANT system:

  • Narrative in which you address the questions listed on the application form
  • An overview of the dissemination plan for professional development on your school campus
  • A copy of your current Growth Planner to show goal planning
  • Personal Statement Letter from the school principal
  • Letter of Support from the school superintendent

Program Calendar

First week of March – MWS application draft deadline (should be sent electronically to Arts Education Director). Applicants can expect to receive feedback on draft applications within 10 business days.

April 1 – Whole Schools application deadline

May – Review of applications in-house by MAC staff

June – MAC Board meets and makes final decisions on all applications

July 1 – Applicants are notified regarding acceptance.

TBD – MWS Summer Institute (typically June)

TBD – MWS Winter Institute (typically January/February)

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Who should the co-project directors be?
    A set of teachers who are looked upon by the staff as leaders. At least one of the directors should be a classroom teacher.
  2. Why do you need the co-project directors’ personal contact information?
    During school breaks (especially the summer) it is important to have additional contact information in case there are questions or changes in upcoming events. This information will not be shared with any outside parties.
  3. Who is the authorizing official?
    This is the person who is designated to sign contracts on behalf of the school. Public schools should list their superintendent and private schools should list the school principal or other appropriate appointee.
  4. Who are considered “inclusion” students?
    Any student identified as having a disability who receive specialized instruction within a general classroom environment.
  5. Who are considered “self-contained” students?
    Any student identified as having a disability who receives specialized instruction within a classroom specifically designed for their needs.
  6. What types of discipline referrals should we list?
    Please combine a list of: detentions, in-school suspensions, out-of-school suspensions
  7. What is considered the Average Daily Attendance?
    An average of a daily count of students in attendance in an entire school year.
  8. Who should we plan to send to the MWS Summer & Winter Institutes?
    The project director, principal, lead teachers from each grade level, curriculum coordinator and the art specialist(s) is an ideal group of attendees. Send a variety of new and returning staff members. Except for the project directors and administrators, each event should bring together a different team in order to spread the opportunities throughout the staff.
  9. Who should be on the MWS Project Team and how should it be organized?
    The team should be comprised of administrator(s), project directors, arts specialist(s), lead teachers and perhaps a parent. Be sure that each person on the committee has a role and responsibility…this includes the project directors and administrators.
  10. How do we create an organizational chart for the MWS Project Team?
    See the sample organization chart for an example of the roles to be assigned. The names of the roles, quantity of positions and structure will vary for each school. When submitting the organizational chart, please be sure to list the name and role of each person involved with the committee.

For detailed information, contact Charlotte Smelser, Arts Education Director – 601-359-6037 or