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Wisconsin Standards for Theatre

Introducing the Wisconsin Standards for Theatre 

We are pleased to introduce this set of theatre standards. The Wisconsin Standards for Theatre has been adopted by the Wisconsin State Superintendent for school districts to consider in their work with theatre education programs.


Standards Documents

Music Standards
The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction's Wisconsin Standards for Theatre provides a foundational framework that identifies what students should know and be able to do in theatre. Here is a full set which includes the standard strands - Theatre Performance and Theatre Production. Wisconsin Standards for Theatre - Full Set. Desktop Poster 11"X17"
I Can Image
I CAN...
I CAN Statements - Download these copies onto your desktop. The I CAN statements are aligned to the Wisconsin Standards for Theatre and allow for edits within the document to create classroom, student friendly posters. There are slight variations between the grade bands for formatting to show multiple versions. Feel free to adjust the format to support your classroom. 
Theatre Performance K-23-5, 6-8, 9-12
Theatre Production K-2, 3-5, 6-8, 9-12

Theatre Performance

The Theatre Performance strand identifies activities that focus on the techniques of acting.

Theatre Production

The Theatre Production strand focuses on the behind the scenes activities such as lighting, sound, stage management, and costume design to name a few.

Educator Learning Modules

Participate in these modules to investigate additional ways to implement the standards in your arts classroom. Here are the links to each module for Theatre, along with newsletter issues which provide more resources for your use.

                CREATE                 PERFORM                            RESPOND                            CONNECT


Learn more about the Wisconsin Standards for Theatre. 

Theatre Education in Wisconsin

In Wisconsin, a wide variety of theatre education programs is available to students. The 2018 Wisconsin Standards for Theatre offers a voluntary single set of standards to guide and prepare students to be college and career ready in all school settings, including traditional, Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), Montessori, and other models. School communities have the opportunity to tailor and expand these areas through their own curriculum work. 

Wisconsin’s Vision for K-12th Grade Theatre is to:

  1. Introduce fundamental concepts and aesthetic aspects of theatre to all students, beginning in the elementary school levels;
  2. Present theatre at the secondary level that expands exploration through more performance and production opportunities;
  3. Offer additional secondary-level theatre experiences that will allow interested students to study theatre in depth and prepare them for entry into a career or college;
  4. Demonstrate how theatrical skills directly relate to and can contribute to success in a variety of career paths;
  5. Offer opportunities for students to demonstrate their theatrical knowledge and skills through artistic processes of: Create, Perform, Respond, and Connect; and
  6. Increase knowledge of theatre for all students through investigating various aspects of theatre across time and cultures.
Components of the Standards
Here are elements of this tool to look for:
  1. The Wisconsin Standards for Theatre focus on the artistic processes of Create, Perform, Respond, and Connect through two strands – Performance and Production. The standards are inspired by the National Core Arts Standards (2014).
  2. The Wisconsin Standards for Theatre are organized by grade bands: K-2, 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12. This allows for some flexibility in instruction and greater differentiation for the support of students over time. All levels identify proficient for the older grade level in that band. Supplemental materials providing additional levels, such as those in early childhood and for advanced theatre levels, are being investigated.
  3. There are four theatre standards identified for grades kindergarten through 12. These conceptual ideas take into consideration the current Wisconsin Model Academic Standards for Theatre (1997) and the National Core Arts Standards (2014), as well as other state examples available and reviewed by the writing team.
  4. The overall concept for the theatre standards provide what students should know and be able to do in the identified grade bands. Performance indicators provide student learning expectations to support the standards. The performance indicators allow for flexibility for educators and school communities to identify more specific elements through their own curricular development. This document focuses on the what (and not the how) a learner will know when they reach the identified performance indicators. This set of standards does not prescribe specific strategies, knowledge sets, or theatre examples, but rather allows the school community to identify these areas through their own theatre curriculum plan.

Theatre Strands

The two strands differentiated within the standards are defined as Theatre Performance and Theatre Production.
Standard: Broad statement that tells what students are expected to know or be able to do.
Artistic Process: Breaks down the broad statement into manageable learning pieces.
Performance Indicator by grade band: Measurable degree to which a standard has been developed or met.
Grade Bands: K - 2nd (Elementary), 3rd - 5th, 6th – 8th, and 9th – 12th

Welcome to the Toolbox. There are multiple resources populated within the folder topics listed below. Check back to this site often to see what new ideas have been added. If you have a resource you would like to share with the field, please either contact Chris Gleason, Art and Creativity Education Consultant for the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, or become a curator for the WISELearn Educator Portal .

Theatre Safety
Wisconsin Standards for Theatre Review and Revision Process
The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction has a transparent and comprehensive process for reviewing and revising academic standards. The process involves the wide gathering of ideas from multiple persons including teachers, administrators, parents, business professionals, theatre industry and service organizations, and leaders from across the state. The process is outlined within the standards review/revision process link.
The Theatre Writing Committee started their review in May 2018 and worked throughout the spring and summer of 2018. The committee reviewed survey feedback, the current Wisconsin’s Model Academic Standards for Theatre Education (1997), and other theatre standards examples including the National Core Arts Standards for Theatre (2014). Another part of the process included the public release of a draft with an accompanying survey to gather feedback from the public, key stakeholders, and educators, and a set of public hearings. This feedback further informed the writing committee in their work. The following links provide more information about this process.
The final draft of the Wisconsin Standards for Theatre was presented to the State Superintendent's Standards Review Council (SSSRC) on September 11, 2018. The SSSRC approved the draft submitted by the Theatre Writing Committee and State Superintendent Evers approved the Wisconsin Standards for Theatre on December 10, 2018.
2018 State Superintendent’s Theatre Standards Writing Committee
This work is made possible through the efforts of a dedicated team of educators, administrators, higher education staff, and theatre industry professionals. The Wisconsin Standards for Theatre (2018) was shaped with the goal of creating a tool for educators, parents, community members, and learners to use in their building of skills and knowledge in theatre. Members of the writing committee donated numerous hours and shared their expertise in the development of the theatre standards document.

Theatre Standards Writing Committee Members

Sara J Danke Lukaszewicz, Wisconsin Rapids Public Schools, Wisconsin Rapids
Kristi Ross-Clausen, Former K-12 / University of Wisconsin - Madison Theatre Teacher, Appleton
Laura Ellen Anderle, Nicolet High School, Glendale
Jennifer Chapman, UW Eau Claire, Eau Claire
Nancy Herbison, Tomahawk High School, Tomahawk
Joshua Jackson, Sherman Multicultural Arts School, Milwaukee Public Schools
Adam Jacobi, Wisconsin High School Forensics Association, La Crosse
Gary Olsen, UW Stevens Points, Stevens Point
Ron Parker, Appleton North High School, Renaissance School, Appleton
Amy Tubbs, Pulaski High School, Pulaski
David Valdés, Theatre Educator & Consultant
Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) facilitator:
Julie Palkowski, WI DPI Fine Arts and Creativity Education Consultant
Standards Resources Consulted
The majority of the resources used in developing the Wisconsin Standards for Theatre came from the Wisconsin Model Academic Standards for Theatre (1997) and the National Core Arts Standards in Theatre (2014). The artistic processes of this work are based on the National Core Arts Standards © 2015. Rights administered by State Education Agency Directors of Arts Education (SEADAE) (All rights reserved).
Also considered for comparison were:
Wisconsin Implementation Plans

The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (WI DPI) will be updating the resources on this page to support districts in learning about and implementing the theatre standards. WI DPI supports a three-year implementation for districts to ensure appropriate time to fully implement the music standards into the curriculum, instruction, and assessment.

Theatre Standards Roll Out
Wisconsin Standards for Theatre Roll Out

District Teams - As Wisconsin school districts begin to implement the Wisconsin Standards for Theatre, they are encouraged to consider the overall needs of the students in their care. It is essential that the school community discusses the delivery of the standards through a thoughtful alignment of instruction, learning, and assessment. Other factors to support this work will include planned professional learning to build educator and learner capacity of the key theatre concepts. The use of collaborative leadership teams provides a solid start in ensuring proper planning and budgeting to support high-quality learning experiences that focus on access for all students. The principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and equitable learning opportunities for all students are a central focus of the team. In addition, districts are encouraged to leverage the Wisconsin Standards for Theatre to implement instructional support systems that align with the local Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).