Partnership for Whole School Change





We collaborate with teachers, teaching institutions, and organizations and individuals who want schools to have the power to change. We also collaborate with individuals and organizations that want to understand education's role in the global marketplace. Every collaboration gives the PWSC greater resources and abilities to help school communities successfully implement their school transformation process. 





The Partnership For Whole School Change is a program of Cooperative Artists Institute (CAI). For 46 years, CAI has successfully implemented its arts-based K-12 education programs in Massachusetts’ schools. Whether it was working with an individual student, classroom, or an entire school, these programs addressed all aspects of K-12 education and have been recognized and appreciated throughout our state. CAI’s programs will soon be archived at Emerson College.

While doing this work, our developers discovered highly destructive cultural patterns and policies that were undermining our K-12 schools. They were preparing our students for a world that no longer exists — arguably the worst outcome an educational institution can foist on a child. These patterns and policies were also preventing our state's educational establishments from correcting this situation. What made matters worse was a powerful taboo that was preventing our schools, and the agencies that support them, from even speaking about these destructive patterns. This dire situation drove CAI to reformulate its programmatic structure to address these real threats to our state and its children.

CAI's answer is focusing all of its extensive 46-years of programmatic resources and development on our state’s K-12 schools and the local and state educational establishments that oversee them. We are speaking out about this danger to our state and its residents. We aim to create a ground swell of support powerful enough to overcome the taboo that is preventing a conversation that will lead to a sound educational response to globalization. To overcome this taboo and establish this educational response, CAI took the following steps.

It made The Partnership For Whole School Change (PWSC) its only operational program, because it has always been the tip of the spear when it comes to addressing the destructive cultural patterns that plague or K-12 schools. CAI consolidated the following arts-based educational programs within the PWSC: Tribal Rhythms Program for K-5 schools; Arts-Now Program for middle schools; and Peace Drum Program for high schools; and scores of professional development programs for K-12 teachers and administrators.

The PWSC is best positioned to establish a collaboration of schools, cultural organizations, and university partners. This collaboration provides professional development resources for school coaches, K-12 educators, artist/educators, and college education professors and their students.

The PWSC’s website is also the Digital Center for K-12 Education and Globalization and The Transformation of School Culture. It enables the PWSC to collaborate with schools to develop school cultures and policies that prepare our children for the global marketplace. Its current initiatives and programs include:

  • free presentations, seminars, and conversations facilitated by PWSC developers for K-12 school staff and communities, colleges and universities, and community and business organizations;
  • internship and professional development opportunities that combine the role of K-12 schools, state government, the general public, unions, the non profit and business sector, and other major players in K-12 Education and Globalization;
  • Tribal Rhythms Curriculum that brings the transformational process into the elementary classroom;
  • stART-NOW that brings the transformational process into the middle school classroom; and
  • The Peace Drum Project that brings the transformational process into the high school classroom.



Tribal Rhythms Dance, Music and Instrument Making Program held master classes for students and staff at the Boston Teachers Union K-8 School (BTU) to deepen arts instruction. The classes also help students learn and educators teach healthy habits. This project was designed by our artist/ educators and the BTU School's visual art teacher, music teacher, and the English and Spanish language arts teachers. It was funded by the Boston Public Schools’ (BPS) Arts Expansion Fund managed by Edvestors and the Massachusetts Cultural Council’s (MCC) Stars Program. For more information about this collaboration, click here.  For more information on teaching Healthy Habits, click here

Our Tribal Rhythms artist/educators modeled for teachers and students how to use community building arts activities and Tribal Rhythms Group Building activities to create the Classroom Learning Tribe at Boston's Nathan Hale Elementary School. It was funded by the Boston Public Schools (BPS). 

The Tribal Rhythms program is one of the PWSC's 35 trans- formational tools. It provides school communities with the opportunity to experience the spirit of the PWSC’s school transformation process and provides a vehicle that brings our transformation process into the classroom.

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                                      A COLLABORATION TO ESTABLISH                                       A STATE EDUCATION COMMISSION

The PWSC is currently collaborating with Massachusetts’ legislators, city neighborhood associations, parent organizations, and faculty and administrators at Northeastern and Lesley University to formulate a state bill: The Commission On K-12 Education And globalization. This commission will be designed to support schools that are working to change their school cultures to help them graduate students who can humanely succeed in the global economy. The commission also gives Massachusetts’ schools the resources to acquire a sounder understand of the global marketplace. This gives their teachers the capacity to make teaching and learning relevant to the world our students are and will be living in. For more information, call us at 617-524-6378 and ask for Curtis Jones.


The PWSC is collaborating with artist/educators, teachers, and school administrators to make schools’ governing, planning, and development teams first rate. The PWSC’s School Team Building Professional Development Opportunity and its School Team Building Manual is our contribution to this collaboration. Both these tools help K-12 schools create school committees and teams that can deliver what their students and school staffs need. The PWSC is expanding this collaboration to Greater Boston’s K-12 schools and faculty members at Northeastern University, Lesley University, University of Massachusetts, and Harvard University. 

What These Tools Do:

The manual and professional development opportunity provide schools with the most advanced conflict management and decision-making tools used in today's innovative businesses, community organizing, and peacemaking strategies. They help school communities create school teams or groups that significantly improve classroom instruction and parental participation. They are needed in high and low achieving schools that take on bold initiatives such as combining in-school and after-school programs, closing or merging schools, or getting everyone’s buy-in to insure success. They help school communities take the lead in integrating their school’s disconnected systems and subgroups, so school members stop seeing their school only through the perspective of their role in it.  This new perception gives school communities the capacity to rethink, redesign, and rebuild their schools in ways that close the achievement gap and give students a constructive voice in their school’s decision-making process. They teach four skills that are not taught in college education programs, but are essential for every school’s success:

  • leadership and leadership support;
  • consensus decision-making;
  • authentic, caring relationships; and
  • transformative school meeting management strategies.

When school teams attain the four skills above, they start conducting meetings that result in success in every aspect of school life. These skills establish teams that ready students to thrive in testing and real life. Transferring these capacities to our schools are critical, because a school is rarely better than the school teams that govern and develop it, and no school has ever become a first rate school without first being able to conduct top-flight meetings.

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Skilled experts from Cooperative Artists Institute, the Harvard Family Research Project, Boston Public School's Unified Student Services, African American Master Artist-in-Residence Program at Northeastern University, and Peaceable Schools & Communities have provided programmatic and administrative support.  Peaceable Schools and Communities is on sabbatical.  See Resources and Links

Below are fieldwork schools that have participated in PWSC projects and profited from the use of one or more of our 35 tools. Most of these schools have participated in a tool's development.  Twelve of the schools listed below had members who served on either the PWSC’s Transformational Support Team or the PWSC’s Advisory Committee.  Members of these schools have stayed engaged with the mission of make it easier for K-12 schools to transform their culture.

Boston Public Schools

      • Charles Taylor, K-5                               • Sarah Greenwood, K-8

      • Dennis Haley, K-5                                 • James Hennigan, K-5

      • Louis Agassiz, K-5                                • John Winthrop, K-5

      • Thomas Kenny, K-5                              • Harvard-Kent, K-5.

      • Warren/Prescott, K-8                            • Young Achievers Science & Math, K-8

      • David A. Ellis, K-5                                 • Charles Sumner, K-5

      • English High School  

Somerville Public Schools     Mashpee Public Schools

      • Arthur Healey School, K-8                     • K. C. Coombs School, K-5

Fall River Public Schools       Cambridge Public Schools

      • John J. Doran School, K-5                     • Benjamin Banneker Charter School, K-8

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The schools below are Resource Schools.  They are schools that understand that they can call upon the PWSC to talk in confidence about any school issue or challenge, new ideas or strategies, or current or new approaches to teaching and learning.  

• Davis Hill Elementary School, K-5                      • Charles Taylor, K-5         

• Dennis Haley, K-5                                            • James Hennigan, K-5     

• Benjamin Banneker Charter School, K-8             • John Winthrop, K-5

• John J. Doran School, K-5                                 • Young Achievers Science & Math, K-8       

• Harvard-Kent, K-5                                             • Arthur Healey School, K-8

• K. C. Coombs School, K-5                                  • Charles Sumner, K-5

• Sarah Greenwood, K-8                                       • Thomas Kenny, K-5

Warren/Prescott, K-5                                         • David A. Ellis, K-5

• English High School