In 2018, COA began transitioning from Higher Order Thinking (HOT) Schools, the nation’s longest continually running arts-based whole school improvement program, to the HOT APPROACH Professional Development and HOT APPROACH Implementation Grant program to expand the HOT APPROACH to all educators statewide. This model invites teacher, school, or district level teams (that include certified arts teachers) to participate in conference-style hands-on professional development with a STEAM focus.  Fully participating teams may apply for grant funding to implement the HOT Approach in their classroom, school, or district. This model has resulted in engaging (beyond the teacher and principal level) superintendents and district curriculum directors and advancing the HOT Approach from school to district-wide level. Approximately 50% of those participating in Phase I had never participated in HOT professional development in the past.

The HOT APPROACH, reflected in a school's commitment to child centered, experiential, arts integrated teaching and learning, weaves best practices in arts in education with present-day needs and experiences of urban, suburban, and rural school communities. The HOT APPROACH is comprehensive. It considers the whole child, teacher, artist, administrator, and school community. Professional development supports teacher growth and parental involvement, and leads to personal renewal. The strong presence of teaching artists and parents is a distinctive feature of the HOT APPROACH.

The HOT APPROACH builds higher-order thinking skills and prepares students to be successful learners and contributors in the 21st Century through standards-based arts education, arts integration, and democratic practice, and cultivates a democratic school culture to which all members of the community contribute and which emphasizes individual leadership.

Professional Development Opportunities

Professional Development forms the core of the HOT APPROACH. Grounded in current research and best practices in teaching and learning, it is designed to engage arts and non-arts classroom teachers, administrators, teaching artists and parents. HOT APPROACH professional development demonstrates the value of arts integrated learning communities, fosters collaboration and provides educators actionable strategies and skills to address learning challenges, and advances learning through differentiated instruction. The HOT APPROACH cultivates higher order thinking skills and inquiry –based teaching and learning in and through the arts processes of creating, performing, responding and connecting. The HOT APPROACH provides opportunities for growth and development along the Arts Learning Continuum.

HOT Strategies

HOT Strategies, each reflecting a synthesis of the HOT Schools Core Components -  strong arts, art integration and democratic practice - provide structured paths to facilitate the implementation, reinforcement and enhancement of the HOT APPROACH. HOT Strategies demonstrate the value of creating unique learning environments that support and celebrate a child’s individual voice while giving each the tools needed to become a creative, successful life-long learner.



For information or if you have questions, contact Bonnie Koba via email at