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The Whole Schools Initiative

The application for the 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 annual 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

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 increase family and community engagement and understanding of the arts.

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

WSI is a six year commitment between the school and MAC. Participating schools receive services valued at up to $5,000 that support items such as:

  • Professional development for faculty and administrators through the Whole Schools Initiative Summer Institute and the bi-annual Whole Schools retreats.
  • 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 advisor assigned to provide technical assistance, model arts integrated strategies and act as a mentor to the school.

During May, MAC will create and send each applicant school a proposed professional development plan that identifies the source of income (either MAC or the school based off the application) for each expense during the project period. The document will need to be reviewed and signed by the principal and school district fiscal officer and returned to MAC by posted deadline.

Services awarded to schools accepted into the program will be available for the 2017-18 school year (see “Dates to Remember” section at the end of the guidelines).

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 WSI Summer Institute, Fall and Spring Cluster Retreats (see dates below).
  • Sponsor teaching artists or consultants to lead workshop(s) at the school that connect to the school’s goals.
  • Support travel costs for staff to attend off-site professional development if the school is unable to cover the costs and if it is within the award amount.
  • Assign an advisor from a WSI Model school for 3-5 visits (depending on the needs of the school).

Expectations for the School when participating in WSI

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 WSI Director immediately.
  • Support an agreed amount of staff to attend the WSI Summer Institute. School will send an administrator to attend the WSI Summer Institute and at least one of the WSI Cluster Retreats.
  • Schedule time for teaching artists and consultants to work with students and teachers.
  • Provide mileage reimbursement for an advisor if they are located out of the school district.
  • 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 at least five WSI Project Team meetings at the school.
  • Submit other required documentation and reports to MAC upon request.
  • Participate in WSI -related teleconferences and other related meetings.
  • Include WSI 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 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, professional development, or travel)
  • Contributions from individuals or local businesses

Review Criteria

WSI Applications will be reviewed utilizing the following criteria:

1. Improving Academic Achievement (0-25 points)

The applicant should provide:

  • an internal in-service professional development schedule that includes each WSI workshop and time set aside to disseminate information after the WSI summer institute and WSI retreats
  • an existing planning schedule with teachers and art specialists
  • a description of their school's greatest needs in generating academic improvement and how the services from MAC will be incorporated into their plans

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

The applicant provides:

  • a realistic proposed schedule of visual art and performing classes that demonstrate an increase in student’s knowledge of art(s) discipline(s)

3. Professional Growth for Teachers and Administrators (0-15 points)

The applicant describes:

  • a realistic plan to send staff members to WSI professional development opportunities and a WSI model site visit

4. Increasing Parental and Community Involvement (0-25 points)

The applicant describes:

  • their relationship with the school’s PTO/PTA
  • parental involvement at the school
  • how they inform parents and community members about WSI and arts integration
  • community involvement at the school (including local cultural institutions)

5. Building a Sustainable System for Arts-Integrated Learning (0-15 points)

The applicant describes:

  • who the co-project directors of the project will be
  • who serves on the school’s Arts Leadership Committee
  • the financial commitment from the school that matches the maximum value of services offered by MAC

6. Quality of Application (0-10 points)

The applicant provides the following complete information:

  • Whole Schools Initiative application
  • All narrative questions answered
  • Other required items

How to Apply

  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 Grants Calendar below for the review and approval schedule for the program.

Required Items for WSI Application Package

  • WSI 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)
  • 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 committee meetings, and other school-wide events.
  • A list of your school’s academic goals for the current school year.
  • A general overview of the school schedule containing each grade level’s visual and performing art classes. (i.e. days of the week each student receives instruction in an art discipline from an art specialist)

Program Calendar

  • First week of February - WSI application draft deadline (should be sent electronically to WSI Director)
  • March 1 - Whole Schools application deadline
  • April - Review of applications in-house by MAC staff
  • 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 accepted into the program or not.
  • 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 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 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.

9. Who should be on the WSI 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 WSI 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.