The following Professional Development Options reflect nearly 25 years of teacher tested theory into practice for teaching and learning in, about and through the arts in the Connecticut Office of the Arts’ prestigious Higher Order Thinking (HOT) Schools Program.  They are fitting to advance learning through differentiated and inquiry–based instruction, multiple intelligence theory and higher order thinking through the arts processes of creating, performing, responding and connecting for any educational setting.  Each opportunity is designed as hands-on, experiential learning for educators of all types – arts and non-arts classroom teachers, teaching artists, principals, curriculum directors, arts organization educators, etc.  Each inspires collaborative practice in a professional learning community and provides educators innovative actionable strategies to awaken joyful engagement in the K-12 classroom. 

 Recommended Professional Development Options



Louise Pascale

Participants will engage in strategies that enhance listening skills and directly relate to science, math and language arts curriculum. We will investigate sound/music topics and strategize ways in which, when integrated effectively, can deepen learning, clarify student's thinking, enhance critical thinking and open opportunities for understanding multiple perspectives.  Gain greater understanding of ways to authentically integrate music into curriculum while connecting to CCSS, differentiated learning and Universal Design for Learning (UDL).

Full day: K-6, appropriate for all staff including arts essentialists and special education educators

Email Louise at for more info, to schedule, and for pricing




Louise Pascale

Arts integration strategies can deepen learning and provide flexible options for all students to access curriculum and diverse ways of understanding. Participants will engage in a range of arts integrated strategies and make connections between fiction and informational texts.Participants will engage in both arts integration and the exploration of the art form itself. There will be opportunities to express understanding in a variety of ways and reflect upon and critique the work considering art making skills, techniques and academic content. The workshop will cultivate purposeful activities that support choice, participation, connection, contribution and responsibility to celebrate the unique voice of each member of the group.

Full day: K-6, all staff including specialists

Email Louise at for more info, to schedule, and for pricing 




Betty Hadlock

Teachers need tools to support the incorporation of arts integration and democratic practice into regular classroom practice. By empowering students to be independent and responsible learners that have both voice and choice in the classroom, teachers will be better able to work as facilitators of learning and engage students who are eager to learn. Teachers will explore strategies to make this possible. In addition, teachers will be able to initiate and facilitate individual project work for students. The participants will walk away with the knowledge of how to integrate the arts into a classroom unit. The participants will walk away with the knowledge of how to promote democratic practice within the classroom and incorporate individual project work to foster learner independence and responsibility.

Half Day, Full Day, Peer Coaching: Audience should be a grade level team of teachers (5 - 6 staff); available  to work with multiple teams within a full day.

Email Betty at for more info, to schedule, and for pricing 


Marilyn Liberatore

Arts Integration is one of the three essential components of HOT Schools. Teachers do not have to be skilled artists to integrate the arts into their curriculum. Arts Integration provides differentiated instruction by addressing the multiple intelligences of their students and puts the fun back into teaching. Students become engaged and gain a deeper understanding of the content presented. Facilitating an arts integrated lesson incorporates the other HOT School core components; Strong Arts and Democratic Practice. Strong Arts is infused by providing a vehicle for students to demonstrate their understandings and express their thoughts in and through the arts while Democratic Practice becomes a natural means of giving students choice and a voice for communicating their ideas.  

Full Day - This service is best suited for grade level and subject area teams of teachers who want to integrate the arts within their curriculum.

Email Marilyn at for more info, to schedule, and for pricing 



Gail Freeman

Does your school’s budget process facilitate arts integration in classrooms? Are classroom teachers able to order materials/supplies/equipment that support the arts? Can a team of middle school teachers plan a budget that facilitates interdisciplinary learning? Does the budget process offer opportunities for democratic practice? Are previous orders looked at in light of student and teacher feedback before re-ordering? Can teachers order books based on their students’ particular needs and interests? Do teachers have discretion in ordering so they can provide optimal differentiation of instruction? What happens when middle school students are involved in the decisions about furnishing their classroom space? Find out about past and current budgeting practices in some of our HOT schools and discuss as a staff what can improve your budget process to make learning even more arts-integrated and democratic.

Half day

Email Gail at for more info, to schedule, and for pricing 





Gail Freeman

Personal research projects empower students in grades 2 – 5 to explore their interests and passions by creating questions, applying research skills and sharing new learning through their strengths. A personal research project in grades 6 – 12 might focus in depth on an aspect of a whole class study or might culminate in a service/community project or artistic production. Presenting individual projects to others gives each student a sense of contributing to others’ fund of knowledge and the opportunity to have their unique gifts and learning style appreciated by their peers. Professional development focused on project work can be tailored to a school’s or group of teachers’ needs. It can be an overview or can explore aspects such as: -Introducing, implementing and managing multiple ongoing projects. -Helping students develop researchable questions; how to determine, mediate, and extend their understanding through higher order thinking after they’ve located information, read it, taken notes and written it in their own words. -Designing a framework for students to share their work and receive empowering feedback from their peers about content and artistic choices.

One Full day,  Two Full days, Peer Coaching with modeling and debriefing

Email Gail at for more info, to schedule, and for pricing  





Gail Freeman

Students who have written project research, fiction or poetry can share their work by designing and constructing a sewn bound book. Books can also be made for class collections of poems or to commemorate field trips. You will see examples of student work, their design choices and how that connects to their writing. After deciding on a purpose for your book, you experience the process of designing, constructing and sharing the reasons for your choices. With teachers, we can make a maximum of 14 books in one session. With students, after a whole class slide presentation, I would work with one pair at a time. Students should have work they have already done, on which to base their design ideas.

Half day (3 hour minimum) up to Two Full days

Email Gail at for more info, to schedule, and for pricing  





Gail Freeman

Use this professional development opportunity to examine the ways in which you already provide opportunities for choice in your classroom and school, then explore more possibilities, tested and used by HOT school teachers, from student seating options to student-initiated curricula, identify the ones you’d like to implement and why, and brainstorm ways you can do it. Expanding student choice is a democratic practice that unfetters creativity and promotes student ownership of learning, while building self-responsibility and contribution to others. School cultures are built around teacher-facilitated and student-initiated choices, such as developing with students and teachers a protocol for inviting a student from another lunch wave to join you for lunch or developing criteria for having choice time in your classroom and parameters of activities during that time.

Half day, Full day

Email Gail at for more info, to schedule, and for pricing  



Gail Freeman

How do you design   your curricula to be more interdisciplinary and arts-integrated? Use professional development time to do team curricular planning that benefits students through designing entry points and ways to show learning that engage your students’ multiple intelligences and provide for a variety of learning styles. When every student has a way in and a way through an area of study, each can pursue the driving question, and their own additional questions, with higher order thinking. When each teacher has a hand in designing their curriculum, teachers are also more able to engage their own strongest intelligence areas, share them with others on their team, and identify where students may be able to lead.

Half day, Full day working with designated teacher teams

Email Gail at for more info, to schedule, and for pricing  


Amy Goldbas

Interested in creating an arts-energized school community or adapting your arts organizations programming to better connect with and support school curricula? Wondering where to start to integrate strong arts, arts integration and democratic practice? Creating an arts-integrated culture in your school or arts organization takes careful planning, consensus building, and a professional development plan designed specifically for your school or organizations culture. Explore empowering your teachers, your students and arts education personnel and teaching artists using time and teacher-tested strategies developed over 24 years in the HOT Approach. Adopting an arts integrated approach to teaching and learning with a foundation of democratic practice engages students, creates collaborative communities and brings curriculum to life by making cross-disciplinary connections, supporting learning across all core curricular content.

 Full day or Half-Day

Appropriate for all staff including administrators, arts and non-arts classroom teachers, parents and teaching artistseducators

Email Amy at for more info, to schedule, and for pricing



Amy Traggianese

This workshop will help visual art educators increase Democratic Practice through student choice and voice. Participants will spend the day in a choice art studio learning about TAB, (Teaching for Artistic Behavior) a nationally recognized, choice-based art education approach to teaching visual art. Students create in their “art studio,” with drawing, painting, collage, architecture, and 3-D construction centers. Each student artist is responsible for his or her own materials, set-up and clean-up. The students work like “real artists” and are given choice in the projects they create. Skill builders and challenges and connections to the new National Core Arts Standards will also be explored.

Full day-Available on Tuesdays or Wednesdays

Email Amy at for more info, to schedule, and for pricing  


Amy Traggianese

Cultivate a school culture in which purposeful lessons support participation and making connections for students and teachers. This HOT Strategy, developed at Samuel Staples Elementary School promotes innovative planning and teaching and fosters mutual respect and dialogue among teachers while motivating students to improve. Participants will be introduced to the essential ingredients needed to create a co-teaching collaboration with essentialists (e.g. art, music, physical education, media) to develop meaningful arts-integrated approaches to support academic deficiencies. Learn about specific, effective HOT Block collaborations that improved student learning during a school year.  

Half Day, Full Day, Peer Coaching- Available on Tuesdays or Wednesdays

Email Amy at for more info, to schedule, and for pricing


Amy Traggianese

Connect digital activities with creative techniques and apps to integrate the arts with other core subjects! Using devices to take photos or video and record speech can help students practice speaking and increase their fluency. Participants will learn how to use digital connections to the CCSS: speaking audibly, expressing thoughts, feelings, and ideas clearly, describing people, places, things, and events. Learn how to help students create multimedia components and visual displays for presentations... storytelling with a digital twist! This professional development will help educators and students develop critical thinking and creative problem solving skills through the arts. Creating multimedia presentations necessitates linguistic and non-linguistic thinking. Participants must use their own mobile devices (tablets or cell phones) to create their own content.

Half Day, Full Day- Available Tuesdays and Wednesdays

Email Amy at for more info, to schedule, and for pricing


Cheryl Hulteen

Say YES to your ideas, say YES to the people you work with. And make each other look GOOD. Engaging theatrical explorations  in writing, drawing, singing, dancing and improvisation, you will build Creative Classroom Cultures resulting in understanding Multiple Intelligences Theory and its applications to arts integrated curriculum. The process of Explain, Explore, Express provides building blocks of skills-building in, about and through an art form to strengthen understanding and provide multiple ways to demonstrate understanding. Improvisation is the basic foundation for all arts expression.  The understanding of how to improvise is the first step to expression. YES YES GOOD or YES YES GOOD Part 2 for teachers who have worked with Cheryl previously.

Half Day, Full Day, Peer Coaching

Email Cheryl at for more info, to schedule, and for pricing


Christopher Eaves

Elevate your understanding of the HOT Schools core components and ensuing best practices. Christopher will assist educators with fine-tuning arts integrated practices to ensure that they take root and flourish in the classroom. Educators will engage in the application of Multiple Intelligences theory as a contextual viewfinder for instructional design and delivery.

Full Day, Peer Coaching

Email Christopher at for more info, to schedule, and for pricing 


Christopher Eaves

This is Professional  Development for educators designed to inspire Higher Order Thinking inquiry—questions with the potential for advancing school culture. Warren Berger writes in A More Beautiful Question, “A beautiful question is an ambitious yet actionable question that…serves as a catalyst to bring about change.” This professional development will inspire educators and students to ask a more beautiful question and then to artfully respond. The exercises featured in this professional development are designed to support student voice, choice and responsibility. Additionally, they are designed to encourage teachers to facilitate student understanding of Multiple Intelligences in order to encourage self-directed learning.

Full Day, Half day

Email Christopher at for more info, to schedule, and for pricing  



Lisa Donovan, PhD

What has yet to be tapped fully in arts integrated work is the power of the arts to serve as a means for formative and summative assessment. This professional development will provide an in-depth view of how the processes and products of the creative process can fuel a feedback loop for teaching and learning.  Teachers will be invited to see their role as that of a curator, intentionally selecting, organizing and presenting information, strategies for teaching and learning as well as presenting evidence of student understanding. Participants will be exposed to a variety of models that can be adapted and used by educators across content areas and grade levels. Each participant will engage in an experiential exploration of an arts integrated progression and will learn and use several creative assessment strategies to design documentation of their learning as models that can be used in their classrooms.

Full Day

   Email Lisa at for more info, to schedule, and for pricing  



Lisa Donovan, Ph.D. is a Professor in the Fine and Performing Arts Department at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts. Prior to this she served as Associate Professor of Education and Director of the Creative Arts in Learning Division at Lesley University. Lisa has broad experience working as an arts educator and administrator in a variety of arts organizations including Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival, Berkshire Opera Company, Barrington Stage Company, University of Massachusetts' Department of Theater, Boston University's Theater, Visual Arts and Tanglewood Institutes. She served as  Executive Director of the Massachusetts Alliance for Arts Education and is the co-editor/author of a five-book series on arts integration published by Shell Education. Most recently she conducted research on leveraging change for arts education in rural areas. She was voted Best Professor in the 2017 as part of Berkshire Eagle’s Best of the Berkshires competition.

Christopher Eaves is the Artistic Director of eavesdrop® and Associate Director for Professional Development for Higher Order Thinking Schools. He has provided residencies, professional development and keynote addresses for educational institutions nationally and internationally. As a playwright, designer, director, actor and producer he has created over fifteen original theatrical works and has performed throughout the world. In 2014 Christopher performed BULLSEYE, his theatrical memoir on brotherhood, bullying, identity and intolerance, throughout the US and in South Korea with the support of the U.S. Embassy, Seoul. Christopher designed and led a yearlong arts integration initiative for an entire New York school district during which he provided professional development and coaching for 200 educators and arts integrated instruction for 4,000 students in ten elementary and intermediate schools. Christopher is a member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society (SDC), the Monacan Indian Nation and the U.S. Department of State Speakers Bureau. He has served on the HOT Schools Summer Institute faculty since 1999.


Gail Freeman is a HOT Schools coach/facilitator with 36 years of classroom teaching experience, grades 3-6, in the Integrated Day Program in Regional School District #13, including 28 years at John Lyman School in Middlefield, where she worked with many resident artists and infused the arts into her students’ curricular studies. Gail has been a speaker, and workshop presenter over multiple years, at the HOT Schools Summer Institute and has led professional development workshops in several CT HOT Schools (grades K-9) and for Hartford Public Schools through Hartford Performs. She enjoys empowering colleagues and students through arts integration, multiage learning, bookbinding, drawing and printmaking, as well as project-based learning, including student-initiated research projects shared through various art forms.


Amy Goldbas former Associate Director for Program Design for the Connecticut Office of the Arts Higher Order Thinking (HOT) Schools Program, holds a BA in Child Development and a Masters in Arts Education from Syracuse University. Prior to her work with HOT Schools, she worked in museum education at the Boston Children's Museum, The Cooper Hewitt Museum and the Metropolitan Museum of Art designing programs for individuals with challenges and families with severely disabled children. She served as an exhibition assistant and museum liaison for Jim Henson and The Muppets. She was Director of the Albany Institute of History and Art's Harmanus Bleecker Community Arts Center designing integrated arts, object based experiences in all media. Amy's work in arts education focuses on facilitating strategic planning, arts integrated program design and designing professional development for teachers, teaching artists, arts organizations, parents and administrators.


Betty Hadlock was a teacher in the Integrated Day Program at John Lyman School, a multi-aged HOT School, for 28 years.  She received her BS and MS in Elementary Education from Southern Connecticut State University. Using an integrated learning approach, her work with children includes a strong emphasis on the arts and individual project work. She is a PIMMS Fellow and former Teacher of the Year. Betty has attended over 15 HOT School Summer Institutes. Since retiring in 2013, she has been supporting schools and artists as a HOT Coach and Facilitator. She has 4 children and 7 grandchildren and lives with her husband, Kevin, in Orange, Connecticut.

Cheryl Hulteen is the author of YES YES GOOD: The heART of Teaching. She is a Master Teaching Artist whose teaching practice uses improvisation, joy, humor, courage and risk to find paths to understanding and expression of creative voices. Cheryl works nationally with schools and individual educators to build learning communities by fostering Creative Classroom Cultures - an ecosystem of creativity. Cheryl decodes Howard Gardner's Multiple Intelligence Theory by immersing educators in a fully arts integrated approach to encourage how to nurture and sustain their own creative classroom cultures. From stage and the small screen, Cheryl uses her skills as a theater artist, writer, improviser, story-in-action/reaction to build confidence in classroom teachers for bringing their curriculum to life and valuing the voices of every member of their school community.


Marilyn Liberatore, a progressive educator for over 40 years, is the former principal of Columbus Magnet School in S. Norwalk, CT.  Under her leadership Columbus became a HOT School. Presently Marilyn is an education consultant. Being a strong advocate for making learning meaningful and engaging, she is a HOT School Coach for Higher Order Thinking Schools and an Executive Coach for Connecticut Association of Schools.   In this capacity, she encourages and supports schools to incorporate and integrate the arts within the core curriculum and into daily instruction; creating a stimulating classroom environment that deepens student understanding and knowledge of the school’s curriculum, oneself and our global world.   


Celeste Miller holds an MFA in Choreography from Hollins University/American Dance Festival. She is currently on faculty in the Department of Theatre and Dance at Grinnell College.  Celeste has directed, facilitated and produced arts-based community engagement projects for over thirty-five years. Through this work she has built a methodology for all-inclusive practices for the creative tools of dance and theatre to be used in a wide variety of settings, including the K-12 educational environment. She co-founded and directed Jacob’s Pillow Curriculum in Motion program from 1995 – 2011, a nationally acclaimed program that uses dance as a tool for learning in the public school classroom.  She currently serves as advisor for this program, and is developing a program with the Pillow for the use of movement-based tools in medical education. Celeste is a regular presenter for the Connecticut HOT (Higher Order Thinking Schools) program annual summer institute, training K-12 classroom teachers on methods for arts integration – specifically the use of movement-based approaches.

Dr. Louise Pascale, Director of ITA (Integrated Teaching through the Arts) program at Lesley University has worked in the field of arts in education for over 25 years. Louise’s research focuses on investigating the meaning of singer and non-singer with an interest in changing the ways singing is perceived, nurtured and implemented in classrooms. In 2005 she launched the Children’s Afghan Songbook & Literacy Project, an internationally recognized project that strives to preserve and redistribute traditional Afghan children’s songs and folktales that were almost completely eradicated due to the devastation that has afflicted Afghanistan over the past 30 years. She has published two songbooks Qu Qu Qu Barg-e-Chinar :Children’s Songs from Afghanistan, and Awasana See Sana. Each songbook has an accompanying teacher’s guide to help enhance basic literacy skills. Louise presented a TEDx talk – Returning Music to the Children of Afghanistan. Her latest book, Integrating the Arts across Content Areas which she co-authored with Lisa Donovan, provides arts-based activities and strategies to use in language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies instruction


Amy Traggianese is an elementary art essentialist who specializes in arts integration, Amy received her Masters in Art Education from Southern Connecticut State University and most recently, her Certificate in Education Leadership from Sacred Heart University. She works in Easton at Samuel Staples Elementary School, a HOT school since 1994. A former kindergarten and first grade teacher, Amy enjoys the challenge of integrating art and technology with ELA, math and sciences. She provides technical support for the HOT Schools Program in social media and has provided workshops at many schools in both integrating technology and in using HOT BLOCKS, an approach she designed with the principal and other faculty at Samuel Staples Elementary School to address inclusion and SRBI.


Heather Wolpert-Gawron is an award-winning middle school teacher. She is the author of: Just Ask Us: Kids Speak Out on Student Engagement, DIY for Project Based Learning for ELA and History, DIY for Project Based Learning for Math and Science, Writing Behind Every Door: Teaching Common Core Writing in the Content Areas, and ‘Tween Crayons and Curfews: Tips for Middle School Teachers. She is a staff blogger for and shares all things middle school at She has been a proud member of the National Writing Project since 2008. Heather is passionate about Project Based Learning and believes the Maker Movement for teachers is in curriculum design. Heather believes curriculum design itself should tell a story, and helps her students craft the tale. Heather lives with her husband and two boys in Los Angeles where they play Dungeons & Dragons every week, building their crossover stories together. Follow Heather on Twitter: @tweenteacher.