Creative Learning Initiative

The Creative Learning Initiative

The Creative Learning Initiative is an investment in the future of Austin. Our mission is to ensure that every child benefits from the arts and creative learning across core curriculum subjects, during and outside of the school day.

AISD is a lead partner in the Creative Learning Initiative (CLI), a nationally recognized, community-wide partnership among the district, MINDPOP, the city of Austin and more than 100 community arts partners working to transform education in Austin.

Our goals are to:

  • Create arts‐rich schools for all students.
  • Create a community network that supports and sustains the arts‐rich life of every child.
  • Develop leaders and systems that support and sustain quality creative learning for the development of the whole child.
  • Demonstrate measurable effects on students, families, schools and our community.

CLI provides a specialized curriculum and professional development for educators, using emergent, culturally responsive, rigorous, trauma-informed Creative Teaching strategies that support positive social-emotional learning and development.

Why Creative Teaching?

Creative Teaching is a set of research-based instructional strategies that teachers can use to increase cognitive demand and provide meaningful ways for students to express understanding. In this video, MINDPOP and AISD share why Creative Teaching works.


Watch on YouTube.

Creative Learning Initiative Campuses

CLI is being implemented in a phased 10-year approach in AISD schools. This approach allows the district to provide training for approximately 1,500 teachers at 36 schools at a time before the schools transition to their own sustainability plans.

CLI is currently being implemented in the following families of schools:

  • Akins ECHS Vertical Team (Foundational)
  • Bowie Vertical Team (Foundational)
  • Navarro ECHS Vertical Team (Foundational)
  • Anderson Vertical Team (Sustaining)
  • Crockett ECHS Vertical Team (Sustaining)
  • Eastside Memorial ECHS Vertical Team (Sustaining)
  • LBJ ECHS Vertical Team (Sustaining)
  • McCallum Vertical Team (Sustaining)
  • Travis ECHS Vertical Team (Sustaining)

Each year, a new vertical team is selected to participate. By 2023-24, more than 6,000 teachers will be affecting the lives of AISD's 81,000 students through arts-based instructional strategies.

Contact Us

CLI Administration
John Green-Otero, Creative Learning Initiative Coordinator 
john.green-otero@austinisd.org

Lydia Nelson, Assistant Coordinator, Public Relations and Partnerships
lydia.nelson@austinisd.org

CLI Instructional Coaches
Jennifer Arffmann
jennifer.arffmann@austinisd.org

Sloan McLain
sloan.mclain@austinisd.org

Sherri Moe
sherri.moe@austinisd.org