The Creative Arts Laboratory (CAL) was established at Teachers College in 1994 as a result of a three-year grant from the US Department of Education: Fund for Innovative Education. CAL's purpose is to change school cultures by preparing teachers of economically disadvantaged and educationally challenged students to integrate the arts into core curriculums of public elementary and middle schools in New York City.
As a professional development model, CAL is based on the premise that integrating the arts into the school curriculum facilitates teachers' capacities to help students make connections across subject matter areas. CAL believes that critical thinking skills and positive attitudes about learning enhance students' repertoires of problem-solving abilities. These problem-solving abilities provide the impetus for students to formulate their own ideas and to engage in meaning-making activities from the perspectives of the arts, (dance, drama, music, videography, and visual arts), in conjunction with core academic disciplines, (eg, math, science, language arts, and social studies).