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 Schoolwide 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 created over 2 decades ago by leaders at the Connecticut Office of the Arts, and partnered with dozens of schools and hundreds of teaching artists, serving tens of thousands of students over the years. 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.

2023-24 HOT Schools partner schools

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

As we navigate a path through this paradigm shift in education, arts infused teaching and learning remains critical to our resilience. Higher Order Thinking Schools cultivates creative and collaborative thinking to help steer our way. 

—Christopher Eaves, Director, HOT Schools

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 (enabling our work in Ashford); Liberty Bank Foundation, Hamden Rotary Foundation, and NewAlliance Foundation (enabling our work in Hamden); International Association of New Haven (enabling our work in New Haven); City of Bridgeport ARP and Fairfield County’s Community Foundation (enabling our work in Bridgeport); and 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).