Teacher Toolbox Workshop

SAVE THE DATE: 2023 Teacher Toolbox Workshop and Luncheon

Friday, September 22, 2023

9:30 a.m.–2:30 p.m. CT (check-in begins at 9:00 a.m.) 
Optional Campus Tours: 2:45–3:45 p.m. CT

SAIC MacLean Ballroom
112 S. Michigan Ave. 
Chicago, IL 60603

Join us for our annual Teacher Toolbox Workshop at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC). This is a special opportunity for high school art educators to discuss topics relevant to their teaching practice and classroom lesson plans, as well as receive tickets to visit the Art Institute of Chicago.

This free event will feature:

  • Keynote Address 
  • Several short hands-on workshop options
  • Dedicated networking time
  • Optional tour of the Art Institute of Chicago museum and School of the Art Institute campus

Lunch will be served. Illinois educators who attend this workshop are eligible for CPDU credit.

Contact us at 312.629.6100 or ugadmiss@saic.edu with any questions you may have.

2022 Resources:

"Portfolio Prep 101" Presentation by Lauren Hogan Casser

"Game Day" by Maire Witt O'Neill

Beeswax workshop photos


2020 Recordings:

11 AM - 12 PM (CT) 
Adapting Arts Education for Chicago Public Schools
Melisa Rutkelis, Manager of Student Programs, Department of Arts Education, Chicago Public Schools

Watch the recording

Melisa Rutkelis is the Manager of Student Programs for The Department of Arts Education in Chicago Public Schools. There, she manages the Advanced Arts Program, All-City Visual and Performing Arts Program, and District-Wide Music Festivals. She taught for 8 years and spent 5 of those years teaching: general music, modern band, mariachi, concert band, and choir at Twain Elementary in CPS. During that time she secured over $55,000 in grants, was teacher of the year, and led the All-City Elementary and High School Bands. Melisa has presented at The Illinois Music Educator Conference, VanderCook College of Music, NAfME, Modern Rock Band Fest, and for the New York Public Schools. Her most advanced degree is a Masters in Music Education, from VanderCook College of Music. She is an oboist, and loves attending concerts across the city.

Nora Guerrero, Student Program Coordinator
Nora Guerrero provides administrative and logistical support for DAE student programs, including All-City Performing Arts, All-City Visual Arts Exhibitions, and Music and Theatre Festivals.

Gaby Lopez, Advanced Arts Student Program Coordinator
Gaby Lopez coordinates and executes a range of daily operations for the Advanced Arts Program at Gallery 37. in addition to leading outreach/student recruitment district-wide, purchasing/budget management and student scheduling.

12 PM - 1 PM (CT) 
The Power of Asynchronous Learning
Chris Sykora, Deerfield High School + Co-Founder of the Illinois High School Art Exhibition

Watch the recording

Chris Sykora holds degrees in the liberal and fine arts, including a Masters in Education Leadership. He currently teaches visual art at Deerfield High School. He co-founded the Illinois High School Art Exhibition and serves as its Assistant Director & Secretary. Chris previously served as the IAEA's Advocacy Taskforce Chair. This role included facilitating discussions with key policy officials in Illinois and across the country. His work has been vital in improving arts access in public schools. As a teacher, Chris practices reflective social constructivist teaching, while facilitating future-focused project-based learning opportunities. His classroom practices focus on nurturing social-emotional growth and on bridging intersections across disciplines. Chris is an avid reader and constant learner. He's always increasing his knowledge about education and creativity. He shares his findings and insights on his podcast, ​Hey Teachers!.


1 PM - 2 PM (CT)
Introduction to Resources
Alexis Bailey and Sabrina Phillips, Art Institute of Chicago

Watch the recording

Alexis Bailey is an educator in the Department of Learning and Public Engagement at the Art Institute of Chicago. Alexis develops classroom resources and professional development opportunities for educators across the Chicagoland area. She previously worked as a Museum Education Intern where she facilitated docent tours, interactive gallery talks, and art making activities. She holds a BFA in Communications and a minor in Traditional Media Art from Texas A&M University. In addition to her enthusiasm and passion for the arts, Alexis has spent her time working in local art galleries throughout the greater Texas and Atlanta area.

Sabrina Mooroogen Phillips, MA is a Senior Educator at the Art Institute of Chicago where she designs resources and virtual and in-person experiences. As a former elementary teacher, she worked with fifth and sixth graders at schools in England, Thailand, Egypt, and Qatar, exploring the bilingual learner's experience in multiple contexts. Sabrina's art-historical expertise centers on late colonial South Asian art, specifically the works of women. She is currently pursuing a doctorate in Education and Social Justice at Lancaster University UK, with a focus on critical race theory and whiteness in educator programming and professional development.


Breakout conversations following each presentation are facilitated by SAIC Staff and Faculty.

Resources from Past Presenters

Chris Sykora's media resources

CPS Advanced Arts Program/ Gallery 37

Asynchronous and virtual learning resources

Art Institute Tools for Teaching


On-Demand Content

Content you can view and use anytime!

SAIC Virtual Tours (pre-recorded)

Teacher Digital Backpack (SAIC Guides and Viewbooks) 

AIC Collections Tour with alum Patty Swanson (Pt. 1)

AIC Collections Tour with alum Patty Swanson (Pt. 2)

AIC Collections Tour with alum Patty Swanson (Pt. 3)

SAIC Zoom Backgrounds

Interested in taking a live virtual tour with one of our Student Ambassadors? Find a time and date that works for you:

Attend a virtual tour


Virtual SAIC / AIC Exhibitions

View the ArtBash 2020 Exhibition (Freshmen Spring Exhibition)

View the Spring 2020 BFA Show 

Visit the Art Institute of Chicago virtually!

Additionally, connect with us on our Facebook Page for Art Educators!

Resources Shared by Teacher Participants

Padlet: Collaborative Learning Tool
20 ways to use Padlet in Class
Google Jamboard: Collaborative Learning Environment
Milanote: organizing thoughts into visual boards where students can collect inspirations/thoughts (think Evernote + Pinterest)
Collaborative Online Tool Reviews (includes Padlet and Jamboard)
Artsteps.com: For Online Exhibitions
Anti-Racist Art Teachers 
Google Arts and Culture