Creativity in Court and Community Schools

Grades 6-12

Developed by the Alameda County Office of Education and Teaching Artists Guild

Welcome to Creativity at the Core, Module 4 Creativity in Court and Community Schools (Grades 6-12) brought to you by the Alameda County Office of Education and Teaching Artists Guild.

Module 4:  How can we better understand ourselves and our world through a hopeful, active, critical pedagogy that leverages the arts and creative strategies and which embraces a raising consciousness and an inclusive perspective that values students’ voices, needs and individuality?

How can a deeper understanding of the complicating factors that impact a court and community school network help us to better navigate the interconnected systems as we envision possibilities for change? How might we employ critical pedagogy and arts learning through integrated curriculum that promotes self-understanding and agency in youth, while working to build a more democratic learning community that values divergent ways of knowing, authentic engagement, and hope?

  • Participants in this module will understand the current and historical complexities of working with incarcerated youth and will learn strategies to best serve the academic and social-emotional needs of incarcerated youth.
  • Participants will know how to leverage opportunities in Arts Integration Strategies and Common Core Plus aligned curricula to increase student engagement and learning.

Planning your Professional Learning

The Presentation Chart (available under Downloads) provides an overview of the module.

Tutorial: Click here to view a tutorial for this module: Creativity in Court and Community Schools.

The following Content Outline can be used to break down your training. It is available under downloads.   This module is best undertaken in three distinct workshops or sections as follows. There are resources for each of these areas in the module presentation.

  1. Contextualizing the School-to-Prison Pipeline: When working with youth in court and community schools we recognize that many of the students have experienced dissatisfaction, disengagement, and trauma in their schooling history. We are also aware of the ways this history with school takes place on a personal level for students as well as on a systemic level. It is crucial that adults working with young people in the system understand the many complicated ways that youth end up in juvenile justice settings.
  2. Critical Pedagogy: Critical pedagogy is the foundation of culturally and linguistically relevant pedagogy. While these important philosophies are vital in all education settings, they are crucial in juvenile justice settings.
  3. Art-Centered Literacy Strategies: In this activity participants will learn about the possibilities of creating artworks on found texts. They will see connections to ELL learners, common core standards, & connections to contemporary art practices.

Module 4 Version 1: This portion of the module demonstrates recruitment and training of teaching artists who will be offering weeklong classes to students in County Court and Community Schools.  The module focuses on using Artistic Studio Thinking Frames to deepen student learning for our most at risk and under-served students. See Module 4 Version 1 to view the documents and resources. (available under Downloads).

Handouts & Resources

Use the following handouts and resources to help with professional learning.

  • Handout 1: School to Prison Pipeline
  • Handout 2: Integrated Learning Article
  • Handout 3: Integrated Learning Habits of Mind


In the Research document you will find web, book and periodical resources. Much of the research is embedded into the screen cast videos 1-3.


Read about the Common Core Plus standards in the Standards document under Downloads.


Derek Fenner, Former Art Learning Program Manager, Alameda County Office of Education, 313 W. Winton Ave., Hayward, CA 94544

Jean Johnstone, Executive Director, Teaching Artists Guild

Ray Cagan, Former Arts Learning Coordinator, Alameda County Office of Education

Mike Beckett, Intersession Coordinator, Alameda County Office of Education

Other Education and Arts Contributors

Dr. Julia Marshall, Principle Investigator, Alameda County Office of Education

Louise Music, Former Executive Director of Integrated Learning, Alameda County Office of Education

Integrated Learning Department, Alameda County Office of Education

Mariah Landers, Former Integrated Learning Specialist Program Manager, Alameda County Office of Education

Sarah Cowell, Artistic Director, Destiny Arts Center

Rashidi Omari, Teen Company Co-Artistic Director, Destiny Arts Center

Chip McNeal, Former Integrated Learning Specialist Program Senior Instructor, Alameda County Office of Education