Center for Instructional Support


Great News! Arts Opportunity for Individual Schools and School Districts—

Join Cohort Two of the Arts & Cultural Vitality Index Pilot!

In support of sustaining a creative and inclusive school climate, DESE has developed an Arts & Cultural Vitality Index. This resource is a voluntary, self-evaluation schools can use to examine their unique arts and cultural assets. The Index details a structure for identifying areas of strength, and pinpointing opportunities to advance the arts and cultural responsiveness/equity within the school community.

We are currently looking for schools and/or districts that are interested in trying this resource during a second cohort of pilots! We are interested in having voices from educators of color as feedback for and in piloting this work. If you are interested in trying it out, please email for further details.

Cohort Two will begin in late Fall 2021.

The 2019 Massachusetts Framework for the Arts establishes that all Massachusetts students will develop artistic literacy through active participation in the arts, expressing creative ideas with skill, confidence, and artistic intent.

A high-quality arts education empowers students to take artistic risks and supports the social emotional and learning needs of all students. Through practices related to creating, presenting/performing, responding, and connecting, students will understand the role of the arts in their individual lives and interests. While recognizing the intrinsic value of the arts, students will also discover the meaningful connections between the arts and other disciplines, and how the arts contribute to their communities and cultures around the world.

As art students respond to great artists and works of art, they develop the ability to analyze artworks in terms of their formal qualities, historic style, social context, and artistic intent. The practice of responding to works of art builds perceptive acuity and aesthetic sensitivity. A rigorous progression of learning and engagement with the arts throughout Pre-K–12 education is the foundation for a rich, lifelong relationship with the arts.

Arts Learning Standards and Supporting Documents

Contact for the Arts

Dawn BenskiArts Content Support Lead

Last Updated: October 13, 2021

Contact Us

Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
75 Pleasant Street, Malden, MA 02148-4906

Voice: (781) 338-3000
TTY: (800) 439-2370


Disclaimer: A reference in this website to any specific commercial products, processes, or services, or the use of any trade, firm, or corporation name is for the information and convenience of the public and does not constitute endorsement or recommendation by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.