Higher Order Thinking (HOT) Schools

Arts for Learning Connecticut has adopted the nationally-renowned Higher Order Thinking Schools, a whole-school, deep impact, teaching and learning program.

Arts for Learning Connecticut is excited to have re-launched Higher Order Thinking (HOT) Schools, a program designed and developed by the CT Office of the Arts, a division of the Department of Economic and Community Development. 

HOT Schools is a whole school, deep impact, teaching and learning program that enriches school culture, improves student engagement, and expands teacher practice. Grounded in Social and Emotional Learning, Culturally Responsive Teaching, and Multiple Intelligence Theory, HOT Schools utilizes a skilled roster of Teaching Artists to provide Professional Development, Arts Integrated Residencies, Arts Workshops, and School-wide Performances in K–12 schools across the state of Connecticut.

In the 2023–24 school year we are partnering with 10 schools. With a school portfolio that bridges the urban, suburban, and rural divide, we seek educational equity by serving schools and communities with significant proportions of students who are eligible for Free or Reduced Price Lunch or who are Black, Indigenous, People of Color.

HOT Schools was established 30 years ago by the Connecticut Office of the Arts, and partnered with dozens of schools and hundreds of teaching artists, serving tens of thousands of students over three decades. Beginning in 2019, leaders at COA and AFLCT started working together to envision the next chapter of this nationally-recognized program, which has led to AFLCT relaunching HOT Schools from within our non-profit in search of expanded impact and a sustainable future for HOT Schools.

We’ve partnered with Dr. Gene Diaz of PERG Learning to evaluate the impact of HOT Schools. A foundational HOT Schools Developmental Evaluation report investigating the program during the 2021–22 school year can be found below. For a review of the program during the recently-completed 2022-23 school year, see our HOT Schools Annual Impact Report, 2022–23.

Higher Order Thinking (HOT) Schools: Arts Integrated Learning in Action

The joy and creative collaboration that Higher Order Thinking Schools fosters continues to raise the bar for student engagement and educational practice throughout Connecticut. Every student is our most important teacher. Every teacher is our most important student. Every Teaching Artist offers a way.

—Christopher Eaves, Director, HOT Schools

2023–24 HOT Schools partner schools

  • Ashford School, Ashford (2020…)
  • Church Street Elementary, Hamden (2020…)
  • Warren Harding High School, Bridgeport (2020…)
  • F. J. Kingsbury Elementary, Waterbury (2021…)
  • Roberto Clemente Leadership Academy for Global Awareness, New Haven (2021…)
  • Concord Magnet School, Norwalk (2022…)
  • Regional Multicultural Magnet School, New London (2022…)
  • Roxbury Elementary School, Stamford (2022…)
  • Wolfpit Integrated Arts School, Norwalk (2023…)
  • Wintergreen Interdistrict Magnet School, Hamden (2023…)

HOT Schools Funding Partners

Special thanks to the support of our generous 2023–24 HOT Schools funders, including: CT Office of the Arts, a division of the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development; National Endowment for the Arts, Carol Bailey and Laurie Desmet, and Elizabeth Carse Foundation; Scripps Family Fund for Education and the Arts and American Savings Foundation (enabling our work in Ashford); Liberty Bank Foundation, Hamden Rotary Foundation, NewAlliance Foundation, and Ion Bank Foundation (enabling our work in Hamden); International Association of New Haven and Harry Chapin Foundation (enabling our work in New Haven); City of Bridgeport ARP and Fairfield County’s Community Foundation (enabling our work in Bridgeport); Community Foundation of Eastern CT’s Southeast General Fund, Chelsea Groton Foundation, Frank Loomis Palmer Fund, and George and Grace Long Foundation (enabling our work in New London); and NAMTA and Near & Far Aid Association (enabling our work in Stamford).