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"The residency artist is a great motivator and really encourages the students to use their imagination to design and create." - Teacher

"I have learned that you have to be very respectful and you have to work together to make a great show (Which we did!)" - Student

"Thank you for allowing [my child] to participate. This experience aided in [his] rehabilitation mentally and physically.It gave him more confidence and self-esteem." - Parent

Community Partnerships


Partnerships with District of Columbia Public Schools

DC Partnership Schools Initiative

The mission of the Kennedy Center's DC Partnership Schools Initiative is to support education of the whole child by enhancing partner schools' existing arts education programs. The DC Partnership Schools Initiative is aligned with the approach to arts education employed by District of Columbia Public Schools - experiencing the arts, learning in the arts, and learning through the arts. Each school participates in a strategic planning process to develop their own arts education vision, goals, and action plan, selecting Kennedy Center resources that align with the articulated vision, goals, and plan. Partnership schools participate in professional development for teachers and administrators, in-school lecture/demonstrations by performing artists, in-depth arts integrated curriculum residencies with teaching artists, and performances at the Kennedy Center. Participation in the program is by application.

PDF to list of 2013-14 partnership schools.

Artists in Schools Programs
School Visual Arts Residency; a little girl with a paper cut-out
  • In-Depth Residency Programs. Residency programs are sequential classroom sessions led by teaching artists integrating an art form with other curriculum. There are two types of residency programs. In the student centered residency program, the focus is on increasing student understanding in and through the arts, and modeling effective arts integration for teachers. In the professional development residency, the focus is on increasing the capacity of the teacher to integrate the arts into their own curriculum. Teaching artists who lead residency programs participate in a rigorous application and review process, including participation in on-going Kennedy Center professional development.
  • Lecture/Demonstration Programs. Students from partnership schools receive multiple in school performances during the school year. The National Symphony Orchestra (NSO) In-School Ensembles program provides performances by small ensembles of NSO musicians to elementary schools. The In School Performing Artists program provides lecture/demonstrations by artists performing in Kennedy Center Dance, Theater and Music productions. In addition, all DC Partnership Schools may participate in the Concerts in Schools program of the DC Arts and Humanities Education Collaborative.
Performance Attendance Opportunities
School Music Residency; a girl paying a wooden xylophone
  • Student Groups. DC Partnership Schools attend performances at the Kennedy Center through the Arts for Every Student Program of the DC Arts and Humanities Education Collaborative. The Kennedy Center sponsors the Collaborative's Fifth Grade Initiative, providing every 5th grader in DC public and public charter schools tickets and transportation to a Kennedy Center performance. Secondary schools also receive tickets and transportation to attend daytime performances in the Kennedy Center Jazz Club.
  • Families. Each participating school selects students and their family members to attend evening or weekend performances from the Kennedy Center Theater for Young Audiences series.
Professional Development for Teachers and Administrators
Student Audition

The Duke Ellington School Partnership

The Duke Ellington School of the Arts is a magnet high school in the District of Columbia that offers college preparatory academic instruction and pre-professional training in the visual and performing arts.  The school is managed and operated by The Kennedy Center, District of Columbia Public Schools, George Washington University and the Ellington Fund through the Duke Ellington School of the Arts Project.  As a member of the partnership, The Kennedy Center supports the curricula through teacher professional development, master classes/clinics, lecture/demonstrations, and performances at the Kennedy Center.  The Kennedy Center Vice President of Education serves on the Board of Directors of the Duke Ellington School of the Arts Project.