About HOT Schools

Higher Order Thinking Schools

HOT Schools(™), a program of the Connecticut Office of the Arts, is a community of practice that networks and develops entities interested in teaching and learning in, about, and through the arts, in a democratic setting, using The HOT APPROACH. The HOT APPROACH builds higher order thinking skills and prepares students to be successful learners and contributors in the 21st Century. HOT Schools(™) practices and strategies stimulate student curiosity, ignite their sense of wonder, empower students so they feel invested in their school and in their learning, and steer students toward a journey of lifelong learning. Students who attend a HOT school enjoy numerous outlets for expression and for reinforcement of the intrinsic value of their thoughts.

The HOT Schools program, established in 1994, builds higher order thinking skills and prepares students to be successful learners and contributors in the 21st Century through strong arts, arts integration, and democratic practice. In HOT schools, the arts are rigorous academic subjects, each with its own sequential curriculum that conveys knowledge not learned through other academic disciplines. HOT School teachers work collaboratively to structure interdisciplinary curricula that promote deep learning of subject matter, higher order thinking, creativity and teamwork by strategically linking learning in the arts to learning across the curriculum. HOT Schools cultivate a democratic school culture to which all members of the school community contribute and in which individual leadership is emphasized. The HOT APPROACH to teaching and learning has emerged through a strong network of 47+ Connecticut urban, suburban and rural public schools representing all Congressional Districts.  HOT Schools directly serves approximately 7,000 – 8,000 Pre-K through grade12 students, their teachers and their parents annually. The HOT Schools APPROACH to teaching and learning has been adopted and adapted by schools, arts organizations, individual teaching artists, local arts agencies, and state arts agencies nationwide interested in understanding and facilitating school culture change, curriculum integration, and arts-infused program design.


Over 47 Schools Served

Over 47 Schools Served

Working with select Connecticut schools since 1994, the program has directly served over 47 schools in all congressional districts and reached over 100,000 students.

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HOT Schools Quote

"The globalized society transformed by technology requires all children to become creative, entrepreneurial, and globally competent. The HOT program is one of the few innovative educational programs I have seen in the world with such a future orientation. It has the promise to lead the educational changes much needed for cultivating creative, entrepreneurial, and globally competent citizens.”

Dr. Yong Zhao, Author of World Class Learners