Chicago Lights Academic Success in Schools (CLASS)

Chicago Lights Academic Success in Schools (CLASS) supports learning and creative self-expression through fine arts programs for nearly 615 students in two Cabrini-Green public elementary schools (Jenner Elementary Academy of the Arts and Manierre Elementary School), at Salazar Elementary Bilingual Center, and at Belmont-Cragin Elementary School.

Professional artists teach drama and dance classes throughout the school year which uncover talents, build self-esteem and confidence, and increase students’ desire to apply themselves in school. Tutors also volunteer to work in the classrooms during the day to assist teachers that have up to 25 students in each class.

Developed in 2000, this program is directed by Diana Anton. For the first ten years, students who met their reading goals at year-end had the opportunity to perform in an annual fine arts production called the Festival of the Heart. In 2010, that production was discontinued and arts programming changed to better serve the students.

From 2010 to 2011, more than 600 students in two schools participated in drama and dance class during the school day. At the end of their ten-week program, all participants had opportunity to perform in a final showcase.

During the 2011–2012 school year, CLASS expanded to include kindergarten creative movement classes at Belmont-Cragin Elementary School. Through a partnership with LEARN Charter School Romano Butler Campus, 140 students and nine teachers worked with CLASS teaching artist to produce The Wiz That Wuz, which was performed for the community. This new partnership also expanded CLASS to a fee-for-service program.

Additionally, CLASS works in partnership with River North Dance Chicago to provide field trips and performance opportunities for older students. 

CLASS Photos

Newsprov for the Arts #3 | April 19, 2013

Newsprov for the Arts #2 | April 12, 2013

Newsprov for the Arts #1 | April 5, 2013

Chicago Lights CLASS Students Have a “Chance to Dance” | May 24, 2012

More information about CLASS is available on the Chicago Lights website or by contacting Diana Anton (312.981.3561), Director of Chicago Lights Academic Success in Schools.