Chicago Lights Academic Success in Schools (CLASS)

Chicago Lights Academic Success in Schools (CLASS) supports learning and creative self-expression through fine arts programming for students who attend under-resourced, and often under-performing, schools in Chicago.

CLASS’s performing arts education in the areas of dance, storytelling, and musical theater are taught by experienced professional teaching artists. With support from the Polk Bros. Foundation, professional artists teach drama and dance classes to over 900 students at Manierre Elementary School, Belmont-Cragin Elementary School, Ruben Salazar Bilingual School, and William H. Brown Elementary School.

Dance ensembles comprised of advanced students are hosted at all four schools. Many of the students in the ensembles participate in our highly successful dance intensive held at Fourth Presbyterian Church over the summer (see below for details).

These in-school classes uncover talents, build self-esteem and confidence, and increase students’ desire to apply themselves in school. Courses are offered during the school day and are integral to students’ learning process. The curriculum is closely linked to Social Emotional Learning, Illinois State Standards, and Common Core Standards and includes detailed assessments.

Summer Dance Intensive

The CLASS Summer Dance Intensive is opportunity for students going into grades five through twelve to engage in two weeks of dance instruction in the styles of ballet, modern, jazz, ballroom, and Spanish flamenco. Classes are held each summer at Fourth Presbyterian Church (126 E. Chestnut St.).

The 2015 Summer Dance Intensive concluded on Friday, July 24. Check back next spring for details about the 2016 Intensive!

Photos from the 2015 Summer Dance Intensive Showcase are online here.

For more information about CLASS, contact Cescily Washington at 312.981.3561 or

CLASS Photos

CLASS Students Offer a Liturgical Dance | August 16, 2015

CLASS Summer Dance Intensive Showcase 2015 | July 24, 2015

CLASS Dancers at Taizé Service | March 27, 2015

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 Cescily Washington, Director of Chicago Lights Academic Success in Schools.