JoAnn Moran

HOT Schools

I was one of 20 artists that originally worked with HOT Schools founder DR. Plato Karafelis  and HOTS program staff at the CT Commission on the Arts to implement and experiment with arts-integrated eduction. It was exciting  to be a part of  the development of this effective program that welcomes artists to unleash their creative interaction with students for a higher purpose. Entering to "work", teach and make art at  Plato's education laboratory "Wolcot Elementary School"  was an experience unmatched since. HOT artists now number in the hundreds. 

Plato Karafelis

author and founder of the Higher Order Thinking (HOT) School organization, which assists schools in effectively integrating the arts, academics, and democracy into their school culture. Former principal for the award-winning West Hartford pilot school. Wolcott Elementary School has become a model of team leadership. In 2001, the school was recognized by The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts as a National Distinguished School of the Arts. Dr. Karafelis is a member of the Advisory Board of the Neag School of Education at the University of Connecticut. He is a recipient of the Milken Educator Award.


HOT Schools - an overview

The Connecticut HOT Schools Program, established in 1994, has directly served over 47 schools in all congressional districts reaching over 90,000 students, approximately 4,000 educators and 120+ artist educators. The HOT Approach has been adopted by schools, arts organizations, and teaching artists across the country that are interested in understanding school culture change, curriculum integration, and arts-infused program design. In our partnering schools, we have established a supportive learning community, whose collective experience has molded the unique approach to teaching and learning that is HOT Schools.

The HOT Approach can be adopted by arts organizations, individual artists, and state and local arts agencies interested in understanding school culture, and curriculum design, and wishing to strengthen their school/arts partnerships and arts in education initiatives. The HOT Approach is designed to be flexible for adaptation and uniquely suited to help individual school communities address their specific needs and build community. The program director works closely with each school to design a professional development plan to implement the HOT Approach. Schools using the HOT Approach share a commitment to academic achievement through three essential components:

Strong Arts
--Education in, about, and through the arts helps students develop critical thinking abilities, independent judgment and creative problem-solving skills. The arts, as rigorous academic subjects, each with their own sequential comprehensive curricula, convey knowledge not learned through studying other academic disciplines and provide stimulating vehicles for children to communicate their ideas. 

Arts Integration
--Developing basic skills is central to the HOT Approach to school renewal. An interdisciplinary approach to teaching reinforces learning in all disciplines; encourages students to seek, establish and test connections; and allows them to synthesize relationships between ideas. Integrating the arts into all subjects and creating arts-rich environments enhances and reinforces the power of the arts in learning in each school community. 

Democratic Practice--
The arts provide avenues for expression in an authentic democracy. HOT Schools cultivate a school culture in which purposeful activities support choice, participation, connection and contribution to celebrate the unique voice of each member of the school community. HOT School educators plan and work collaboratively and invite parent partnerships, input and participation.