Schools & Youth

COMPAS is your partner for meeting your goals as an educator. Our professional teaching artists represent a wide variety of art forms and cultural backgrounds and make the arts live and breathe in classrooms across Minnesota every day.

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Welcome to the Creative Classroom

An elementary school aged child writes a poem in class

Everyone creates in our classrooms. Teaching artists provide encouragement, inspiration, and access points for different learning styles and interest levels, giving every student the opportunity to benefit from their expertise and lived experiences. COMPAS board, staff, and teaching artists are deeply committed to using our assets to mitigate racial, ethnic, and income disparities in our region.

We take a leadership role in delivering priority access to creative learning experiences for schools that are under-resourced and historically underestimated. Here are some of the ways COMPAS can assist you in achieving your classroom goals.

Our Teaching Artists Can Help You …

Meet Minnesota Educational Standards
Students painting together.

We’re passionate about collaborating with art and music educators to broaden students’ exposure to diverse art forms. Our programs align with Minnesota arts standards in dance, media arts, music, theater, and visual arts, offering experiences that transcend the ordinary.

Through our programs, students not only learn professional techniques but also collaborate directly with practicing artists to create original works of art.

Unleash Storytellers with Language Arts Programming

We work with each school to understand its artistic, social, and language arts goals and help them select a COMPAS poet, non-fiction writer, storyteller, memoirist, playwright, or other writer who will inspire and motivate students as they meet those goals. Selected student pieces from our literary and communications programs are published each year in the COMPAS Young Writers Anthology. View a sample of literary programs (PDF).

Middle and high school students unleash the power of their ideas and voices through our spoken word and hip-hop programs. They dive into language analysis, challenge stereotypes, and explore social themes, mastering concise and rhythmic storytelling.

Curious about spoken word? Watch a student’s captivating performance in this 2-minute video.

Provide Accessible Arts Programming to Students Living with Disabilities

When you collaborate with COMPAS, you bring award-winning experiences customized to your students’ needs directly into your classroom. Access Yes! works with students with IEPs in center-based classrooms and/or center-based schools. Artists are experienced in working with students with physical and cognitive disabilities and differences and students with autism spectrum disorders, persistent mental health issues, as well as emotional behavioral disorders.

Access Yes! residencies entail a planning meeting, student observation, and 5+ residency sessions culminating in a sharing of student work.

Check out Rising Stars, a video made in collaboration with students at Minnesota State Academy for the Blind. Want to discuss your vision for arts programming for your students? Get in touch with us today!

Connect Children & Youth with New Cultures & Bilingual Programming

Immerse students in the rich tapestry of cultures from around the globe. COMPAS artists breathe life into diverse traditions, offering experiences like African drumming, music from Ecuador, Northern Indian dances, Aztec performances, SAORI weaving, and music from Algeria, Egypt, Hawaii, Morocco, and Tunisia, just to name a few.

Our roster of artists contains bilingual speakers fluent or practiced in Spanish or French. These artists can be found using our artist directory page.

Provide Professional Development for Yourself or Fellow Teachers

COMPAS supports teachers with professional development, recognizing their crucial role in shaping the future. Our Teaching Artists collaborate with educators to seamlessly integrate arts activities into the curriculum. Through personalized feedback and skill-building sessions, we empower educators to infuse creativity into teaching. Explore our workshops today.

Boost student success with COMPAS professional development programs

Our COMPAS Teaching Artists, experts in artistry and education, offer tailored workshops and coaching sessions to equip educators for excellence.

Find a professional development workshop that’s right for your team

COMPAS Teaching Artists can lead partial- or full-day workshops during your professional development session. Enhance intercultural competency, integrate creativity into your curriculum, incorporate creative writing across disciplines, engage students with active learning, and more!

Work with a Teaching Artist coach

COMPAS Teaching Artists partner with teachers for a semester or school year to integrate arts activities into units and lesson plans, meeting academic and arts standards simultaneously. Receive regular meetings and personalized feedback, and practice new skills to integrate the arts into your curriculum.

Work with any of these Teaching Artists to build your professional skills and bring success to your students!

Your COMPAS Program Can Take Many Forms, Including …

In-Person & Virtual Workshops
A teacher doing a music workshop.

Creative Classroom workshops offer students the chance to complete a stand-alone project, experience and try out the basic building blocks of an art form through an exposure session.

Workshops typically last 45-60 minutes; a minimum of two back to back is preferred. Class sizes are no more than 30 students.

In-Person & Virtual Residencies

Creative Classroom residencies provide in-depth opportunities for students to learn about an art form, build a mastery of skills in that art form, understand the cultural, historical, personal contexts, and then present new creative work. All residencies align with classroom goals and standards.

All residencies begin with teacher and artist co-planning. Together we modify/ adjust programs to complement and enrich existing curriculum and/or to meet specific goals or learning standards. Then the residency begins! Residencies can last for one week, or a series of weeks. The standard residency includes 20 sessions with an artist–four sessions per day for five days. Each day the artist works with the same four groups of students. Each day’s lesson builds on the one before and works towards a showcase of student work at the end of the week.

Residencies include family guides for the students to take home including vocab, resources, and artist bios. Sessions last for 45-60 minutes. Class sizes are no more than 30 students.

While this standard residency works for many schools, it doesn’t work for all. We are happy to customize!

Virtual Residencies

Connect, collaborate, and create remotely with our flexible options designed to bridge the gap in distance learning.

Foster student creativity at home with COMPAS Teaching Artists through online residencies. Mix live digital meetings with pre-recorded videos for flexible learning. Options include personalized feedback and individual art kits. Access videos for one month.

Explore some of our virtual residencies


    Creative Classroom performances engage a larger group with a balance of performance, demonstration and interaction. COMPAS Teaching Artists come from around the world and are excited to share their cultures, art forms, and/or personal stories. Length is typically 45-60 minutes. Some performances also have companion workshops. Performances are for groups of up to 300 audience members.

    Individual Art Kits

    Explore seed art, mini-movies, collage, watercolor, drawing, poetry, sewing, and more! Each kit includes step-by-step instructions, supplies, and prompts for further exploration. Use them as stand-alone activities or pair them with in-person or virtual programming.

    Examples of Art Kits Include

    Arts Lesson Plans

    Created by COMPAS Teaching Artists, PRISM Arts lesson plans highlight African American, African, Latinx, Indigenous, and Asian, and Asian American artists and artworks. New lessons are added periodically to our library. To access lesson plans that are currently available, click on the images below.

    Sign up for the COMPAS Educator Newsletter to be alerted when new lesson plans are available. For more information about hosting a PRISM residency at your school or working with a COMPAS Teaching Artist, contact us or book a program now.

    A Juried Art Show & Artist Residency

    The Emerging Young Artists program is available to young visual artists in the Saint Paul metro region. It provides young artists with valuable guidance from professional artists in the form of a gallery show opportunity and/or an artist residency focusing on visual arts experiences that are outside the normal visual arts curriculum. Learn more.

    An Anthology & Showcase for Young Writers

    Every year, COMPAS showcases young writers from every writing residency. With 43 editions under our belt, we’re eager to witness the latest contributions from today’s youth, adding to the collective tapestry of Minnesota’s young voices. Learn more.

    Get Started

    We’re looking forward to exploring how our teaching artists can create memorable learning opportunities within your school. You can get started by discussing your questions with us, exploring the teaching artist directory, or booking your program now.

    Stay Connected

    Creative ideas, stories, and news from artists and students across Minnesota, right in your inbox!

    COMPAS Logo

    COMPAS is an arts education nonprofit that puts creativity in the hands of Minnesotans, regardless of their age, background, or skills. Based in the Minneapolis-Saint Paul metro area, COMPAS teaching artists deliver creative experiences and arts programming across Minnesota.

    Minnesota State Arts Board LogoLegacy Amendment Logo

    This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a Minnesota State Arts Board Operating Support grant, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.