Skip navigation

Model Whole Schools

The application for the Model Whole Schools program is open. Application Deadline: March 1.

This program has been changed from a grant to a direct service program. The details are listed below in the “Services Provided by MAC” section.

  • Download Application: [PDF]

Applications must be submitted through postal mail, or delivered by hand to MAC's office by the due date. Faxed or emailed applications are not accepted.

Please submit applications no earlier than 30 days prior to the deadline. Applications received prior to this date will be returned.

If you would like feedback on your application in advance, please send a draft application through e-mail to the WSI Director by the first week of February. You will receive a response and comments within (10) ten business days of receipt of the application.

Note on new required information: All organizations applying to MAC (including schools) must provide their Dun & Bradstreet (DUNS) number on the application. Go to Dun & Bradstreet to apply for a number or check to see if your organization has a number. Go here for more information on DUNS numbers.

For detailed information, contact Andrea Coleman, Whole Schools Initiative Director - 601/359-6040 or

Whole Schools Initiative - Introduction

The Mississippi Arts Commission (MAC) believes that every child deserves to be taught in and through the arts, thus nuturing the imagination and creatively impacting lifelong learning.

Model schools are the result of a high implementation of arts integration in a school that has received extensive training through the Whole Schools Initiative.

For over 20 years, WSI has provided an arts integrated conceptual approach to re-designing school environments through a program called the Whole Schools Initiative (WSI). For the past 15 years, WSI has provided professional learning for teachers, administrators, parents and teaching artists, through summer institutes and retreats. The content of the workshops are co-created with the Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) and uses the Visual and Performing Art Frameworks and the Common Core State Standards (CCSS).

The goals of the Whole Schools Initiative are:

  1. To provide learning opportunities to improve student academic achievement through the integration of the arts into the core curriculum.
  2. To increase students' and teachers' skills, knowledge, awareness, and experiences in all arts disciplines.
  3. To build a school culture with sustainable systems that support arts integration as an approach to teaching.
  4. To use the arts to increase parental and community involvement in schools.
  5. To increase family and community engagement and understanding of the arts.

Model Whole 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. Those interested in applying are required to complete at least three years as a WSI school prior to applying for Model status.

Menu of Services MAC May Provide to Model Schools (valued up to $2,000):

  • On-site professional development workshops presented by teaching artists, arts specialists and teachers that explore the arts disciplines and connections to the school’s academic goals and state standards. Note: Teaching Artists must be chosen from the MAC Roster or another adjudicated roster.
  • Professional development for staff (beginning and intermediate levels) through the Whole Schools Initiative Summer Institute.
  • Professional development for staff through the WSI Retreats
  • Hotel room expenses associated with WSI professional development opportunities.
  • If funding is available, MAC will host a Model school professional development series that begins with the institute, includes a retreat and provides one-on-one coaching from a nationally-known teaching artist.

Expectations for Schools Participating in Model status:

The School will:

  • Provide a cash match for the amount of agreed upon services (value up p to $2,000) Please see the cash match section for a list of qualified sources. Contact the WSI Director if you have challenges identifying matching sources.
  • Send an agreed number of the school’s staff to attend the WSI Summer Institute and retreats.
  • Schedule time during the school year for teaching artists and consultants to work with staff and model strategies with students.
  • 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 conduct at least five WSI Project Team meetings at the school during the school year.
  • Submit required project documentation (including the final report) upon request.
  • Participate in WSI related teleconferences and meetings.
  • Identify a leadership team which includes the principal, lead teachers (from each grade level), arts specialist(s), etc. to plan the efforts and map the progress of the school in the WSI journey.
  • Host site visits for Arts in the Classroom, WSI schools and other guests. A three-hour visit includes: Observation of model arts integrated lessons, walk-through of the school and conversations with administrators and teachers. All visits will be coordinated through the WSI director.
  • Be available to present strategies at future WSI professional learning opportunities.
  • Assign either one person or a team of people to serve as an advisor to one or more WSI schools in the region. Please review the job description for the advisor.
  • Make the school available for hosting local, regional or statewide WSI events such as workshops, exhibits, or other related events.
  • Collaborate with the school to create a professional development plan that identifies the source of income and a plan for professional development during the 2017-18 school year.*
  • Include MAC and WSI logos on the school’s website and other pertinent print pieces

*Note: WSI director will work with staff to determine which options will work best to implement at your school.

Model School status is awarded for two years. MAC reserves the right to review the status of all WSI Model schools on an annual basis and to deny renew status based on the fulfillment of the contract.

Services awarded to schools applying by the first Monday in March deadline will be available for the 2017-18 school year (see “Important Dates” section at the end of the guidelines).

List of services that the School may provide:

  • Registration fees for the WSI Summer Institute and WSI Retreats
  • Staff travel to the WSI Summer Institute, WSI Retreats, Model School site visits, etc.
  • Presenting fees for workshops by teaching artists, etc.
  • Art supplies (that pertain to the teacher’s exploration of new arts integrated strategies)
  • Fees that were spent on substitute teachers hired to relieve classroom teachers during their WSI professional development opportunities.

During the spring, MAC will collaborate with the school to create a professional development plan that includes a list of goals and services for each applicant that identifies the source of income (either MAC or the school/school district based off the application) for each expense during the 2017-18 school year. The document will need to be reviewed and signed by the principal and school district fiscal officer and returned to MAC by the spring deadline.

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 1&2 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.)
  • The percentage of the co-project directors’ salary that will be dedicated to the WSI project
  • School or district funds (to support purchase of supplies, contracting professional development, or reimbursing travel)
  • Contributions from individuals or local businesses

Eligibility Requirement

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.

Applicants must have completed at least three years as a WSI school prior to applying for Model status.

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.

Review Criteria

Model Whole School applications will be reviewed using the following criteria:

1. Improving Academic Achievement (0-10 points)

The applicant should provide:

  • A plan that outlines how and when teachers and art specialists meet to collaborate on arts integrated lessons
  • A plan to implement arts integrated strategies which connect to the school’s academic goals (must include their involvement in WSI)
  • A curriculum map or planning tool that shows arts connections
  • An school-wide expectation to integrate the arts on a consistent basis
  • An explanation that addresses the school’s 2015-16 test scores and how the arts are part of the solution
  • A clear understanding of arts integration from administrators and teachers and has incorporated the strategy into their teaching philosophy
  • Model lesson demonstrations display mastery of an arts integrated strategy, element(s) of a discipline by the teacher and students

2. Increasing Students' Skills in and Knowledge of All Arts Disciplines (0-10 points)

The applicant provides:

  • A schedule of visual art and performing classes that give opportunities to all students to learn through the Mississippi Visual and Performing Arts Frameworks
  • Documentation of the results of visual and performing art instruction displayed or demonstrated through photos, videos, or short performances
  • A schedule of events (performances, workshops, model lessons, etc.) at the school for the upcoming year that include visual art exhibitions or performing art performances
  • Examples of how students are learning in and through all four art forms

3. Professional Growth for Teachers and Administrators (0-10 points)

The applicant describes:

  • A realistic plan to send staff members to WSI professional development opportunities
  • An internal in-service professional development schedule that includes time set aside to disseminate information after the WSI summer institute and retreats
  • How arts integration and WSI are an integral part of the professional growth for teachers and administrators
  • Administrators and teachers strengths and weaknesses in arts integration and the four arts disciplines.
  • A plan to address staff’s weakness in upcoming professional development opportunities
  • The quality of arts integration strategies implemented in the classroom and how this is evaluated by administrators and other colleagues at the school
  • New arts integrated techniques implemented into the classroom on an annual basis
  • (optional) WSI logic models have created a professional development plan to bring in teaching artists that connect to academic goals

4. Increasing Parental and Community Involvement (0-10 points)

The applicant describes:

  • How the school’s PTO/PTA is involved in the arts (during and after-school)
  • The training for the parents in arts integration and the four disciplines
  • The tools provided to the parents to continue artful conversations at home
  • The community involvement at the school (including local cultural institutions)and the school’s involvement in the community demonstrates shared goals
  • How the school promotes their involvement in WSI (model school banner, information on the website, or other activities)

5. Building a Sustainable System for Arts-Integrated Learning (0-10 points)

The applicant describes:

  • WSI Co-project directors who are qualified, interested and represent the majority of the staff
  • The Arts Leadership Committee with defined roles and responsibilities who meet on a regular basis
  • A financial commitment from the school/school district to match the $2,000 service award
  • How arts integration is part of the interview process for new staff at the school
  • A plan to orient and mentor new staff on arts integration and WSI
  • The administrator’s clear vision of how arts integration is part of the “fabric” of the school
  • How art supplies are a vital part of the annual school budget and have designated storage areas in the building

6. Site Visit (conducted during site visit) (0-45 points)

The applicant demonstrates the following:

  • Minimum of 85% showing results of arts integrated lesson plans with documentation representing WSI standards (Images of the process and student reflections get bonus points!)
  • Results of lesson plans form arts specialists are shown with documentation representing WSI standards (Images of the process and student reflections get bonus points!)
  • Student artwork is unique and does not come from a copied outline
  • Arts Integration definition by the Kennedy Center is displayed in each classroom (including the specialists classrooms)
  • The elements of the four arts disciplines (visual art, theatre, dance and music) are displayed in each classroom (including the specialists classrooms)
  • A commitment to supporting newer WSI schools through being an advisor, hosting retreats, providing presenters for professional development opportunities, etc.
  • A commitment to hosting Model school site visits to new schools
  • WSI Model school banner is hung in the front entrance

7. Quality of Application (conducted in-house) (0-5 points)

The applicant includes the following complete information:

  • Model School Application
  • All narrative questions answered
  • WSI and MAC logo is on the school's website
  • Other required support materials

Steps to Applying

  1. Read through the guidelines and review the application with your school team.
  2. Prior to beginning work on the application, contact the WSI Director (contact information below) to discuss your school’s interest in the initiative and the details for applying and participating.
  3. Pull together data, fill out application and collect support materials (see list below).
  4. Submit one original and one copy of the application and one copy of the support materials (in the order listed below) to MAC on or before the deadline date. Note: Do not staple or bind your application.
  5. Once MAC receives your application and support materials, an e-mail notification will be sent to the primary project director. Consult the "Important Dates" section below for the review and approval schedule for the program.
  6. The WSI director will set up a day in March/April that is convenient for the applicant school to bring in a small group of panelists (3-4) that will meet with the staff, observe model arts integrated lessons and walk through the hallways to learn how the arts has transformed the school.

Required Items for Model School Application Package

  • Model Whole Schools application form
  • Narrative (three page maximum) in which you address the questions listed on the application form
  • WSI Project Team Organizational Chart (sample here)
  • A copy of your school’s current planning schedule (highlighting time with teachers and art specialists, if applicable)
  • Letter of support from the school’s superintendent that describes the support (both administrative and financial) to the school’s involvement with WSI
  • Calendar of school events and regularly scheduled meetings for the 2017-18 school year. Include items such as PTA/PTO meetings, faculty meetings, professional learning community meetings, and other school-wide events. Highlight the events that relate to WSI.
  • Letter of support from the school’s PTO or PTA that describes the structure of the meetings, involvement of the parents at the school as it pertains to the arts and other annual school events.
  • An overview of the school schedule, including information on each grade level’s visual and performing arts classes
  • 3-5 copies of past newsletters from this current school year that point out arts experiences and arts integrated lessons

If your school is applying to be a Model School for the first time or a Year One, please also submit these additional items:

  • One sample arts integrated lesson plan from each grade level at the school (include the Common Core standards and Mississippi Visual and Performing Art Frameworks)
  • One sample lesson plan from each of the school’s arts specialists (include the Mississippi Visual and Performing Arts Frameworks). (Optional) Include 2-3 images of students working on the lesson and 2-3 images of the final product.
  • Curriculum Map (with art connections highlighted)
  • Personal statement from the principal describing their desire and purpose their school to apply to be a Model School (Year One only)
  • If a private school, a copy of your IRS 501(c)3 determination letter

Important Dates

  • The first week of February - WSI application draft deadline (should be sent electronically to WSI Director)
  • March 1 - Model Whole Schools application deadline
  • March/April - Full day site visits are set up with each applicant
  • May - Professional development plans along with budget information sent to each school for confirmation. Plans are signed by the principal and school district fiscal officer and sent back to MAC.
  • June - MAC Board meets and makes final decisions on all applications
  • July 1 - Applicants are notified whether they are awarded Model status.
  • TBD - WSI Summer Institute
  • TBD - WSI Winter Institute

For additional questions about the Whole Schools Initiative, please contact Andrea Coleman, Whole Schools Initiative Director at 601-359-6040 or

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 is considered the Average Daily Attendance?
An average of a daily count of students in attendance in an entire school year.

7. Who should we plan to send to the WSI Summer Institute and Retreats?
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 even should bring together a different team in order to spread the opportunities throughout the staff.

8. Who should be on the WSI Project Team and how should it be organized?
The committee 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.

9. How do we create an organizational chart for the Arts Leadership Committee?
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. Please make an attempt to add a parent to the committee.

10. What happens during the site visits?
See the Model School Visit Sample Agenda.

11. What is the format for the narrative questions?
Answer the questions in a narrative up to three pages. It should be formatted using a minimum 12 point font size and one inch margins on all sides of the page. It should be written by a project team that includes both administrators and the co-project directors.