New Book Makes Strong Case for Writers in Schools Programs

9781441111944Forthcoming from Bloomsbury in January 2014, Terry Ann Thaxton’s book Creative Writing in the Community makes a powerful statement in favor of the expansion of Writers-in-Schools programs. Here’s some of the buzz surrounding the new book:

“Terry Ann Thaxton’s thorough and thoughtful guide to community-based creative writing programs mixes inspiring stories with concrete strategies to turn inspiration into action. The voices gathered in Creative Writing in the Community make the strongest possible case for the value of the literary arts and convey the joy of helping students
find their voices as writers, whether those students are seven or seventy years old.” – Amy Swauger, Director, Teachers & Writers Collaborative

Creative Writing in the Community is a unique, comprehensive guidebook – an indispensable, whole-hearted resource both for aspiring writing teachers and practicing writers who, like the author, believe that the union of creative writing and service based learning can build confidence and generate, in learners from all walks of life, a sense of hope, possibility, and purpose.” – Michael Steinberg, Professor Emeritus, Michigan State University and co-author (with Robert Root Jr) of Those Who Do, Can; Teachers Writing, Writers Teaching (1996)

From the publisher: Each chapter is packed with easy-to-use resources including: specific lesson plans; case studies of students working with community groups; lists of suitable writing examples; “how to…” sections; examples and theoretical applications of creative writing pedagogy and techniques; reflection questions; writings by workshop participants. Enhanced by contributions from directors, students and teachers at successful public programs, Creative Writing in the Community is more than an essential guide for students on creative writing courses and leaders of community-based learning programs; it is practical demonstration of the value of art in society.

Terry Ann Thaxton is Associate Professor in the Department of English at the University of Central Florida and the founder of Literary Arts Partnerships. Other directors and leaders of WITS Alliance programs who authored chapters are Terry Blackhawk, Allen Gee, David Hassler, and Robin Reagler. To pre-order the book, click here. It will be officially released in January 2014.

US Poet Laureate Visits WITS Program in Detroit


PBS NewHour is doing a series of stories about poetry in America led by the U.S. Poet Laureate Natasha Tretheway. Correspondent Jeffrey Brown reports on Natasha’s visit to WITS Alliance member program InsideOut in Detroit. Read more about the young poets of Detroit here and here. Or watch the full segment from PBS NewsHour here.

iO's Justin Rogers celebrating his Detroit last night on the PBS NewsHour: "I looked at what my city is now and realized I enjoy what I have here more than what my fantasy city is, and that these negative things, they are there, but there are so many other positive things, that I'm going to enjoy what I have here." Photo by Regina Boone, copyright 2013.
iO’s Justin Rogers celebrating his Detroit last night on the PBS NewsHour: “I looked at what my city is now and realized I enjoy what I have here more than what my fantasy city is, and that these negative things, they are there, but there are so many other positive things, that I’m going to enjoy what I have here.” Photo by Regina Boone, copyright 2013.

 

WITS Leadership Position Open in San Francisco

Emerson-2012-laurenThe Center for the Art of Translation in San Francisco seeks a qualified visionary and passionate professional to be its next Executive Director. Here is the official announcement:

About the Center for the Art of Translation
Founded in 2000, the Center is a San Francisco-based non-profit which broadens cultural awareness
through international literature and translation. The Center aims to make global voices and great literature
accessible to the public through three programs: Two Lines Press, publishing literature in translation;
the Poetry Inside Out literacy program; and Two Voices, an event series spotlighting international
writing. As Two Lines Press celebrates twenty years and other Center programs mature, we are seeking
an experienced Executive Director to lead a talented, professional staff, build financial resources, and
guide the organization toward future growth and success. The ideal candidate will bring a passionate
commitment to the arts, proven non-profit management and fundraising experience, and interest in
literature and translation.

Responsibilities
• Provide leadership to develop and implement a long-range strategy for the organization.
• Ensure ongoing programmatic excellence, rigorous program evaluation, and consistent quality of
finance and administration, fundraising, communications, and systems.
• Develop strategic fundraising initiatives, taking a lead role in relationship cultivation, individual
donations, and fundraising events; oversee development staff and grantwriting.
• Lead and manage high-performing staff; provide coaching and performance assessment.
• Actively engage Center partners and funders, and identify new opportunities for growth.
• Keep apprised of trends in the philanthropic, publishing, and education fields, as well as in the local
arts community.
• Develop, maintain, and support a strong and involved Board of Directors.
• Oversee and manage annual budget; help produce monthly and quarterly financial reports and projections
and supervise annual financial review/audit.

Qualifications
• Minimum of 5 years senior non-profit management experience with successful outcomes.
• Passion for the arts and the work of arts organizations.
• Significant experience leading fund development, including private donor cultivation and solicitation
and event fundraisers.
• Experience in developing organizational strategies that enable growth.
• Demonstrated ability to lead, support and inspire an equivalent size organization.
• Excellent human resources and project management skills.
• Ability to think strategically and programmatically while managing operations.
• Excellent oral and written communication skills, and the ability to represent the Center.
• Sense of humor and ability to maintain effective working relationships with a small staff.
• B.A. in a related field.

Preferred
• Senior management experience at an arts organization.
• An advanced degree in the arts, education, or non-profit management.
• Experience with foreign languages, publishing, and/or K-12 education a plus.
This is a full time position; salary dependent on qualifications and experience. The Center offers a generous
vacation package, retirement plan and benefits package.
To apply, please send a cover letter and resume to catexecutive2013@yahoo.com and addressed to:
Executive Director Recruiting Committee. Please tell us how you heard about the position.

A World of Language, Literature & Learning

Summer Institute for Advanced Teaching Artists

cwp logo
 

Save the dates: July 19, 22 + 23, 2013!

Apply by June 5, 2013

Summer Institute is a three-day intensive workshop conducted by Community-Word Project for creative writers, visual artists, musicians, dancers and theater artists with 2+ years teaching artist experience.

Summer Institute’s training curriculum is based on Community-Word Project’s “creative process” exploration methods, teaching practices and arts-in-education philosophy developed over 12 years.

Deepen your teaching practice:

  • Explore creative processes and critical thinking
  • Transform creative processes into effective teaching tools
  • Refresh techniques for project-based arts integration
  • Strengthen classroom management strategies
  • Cultivate environments of social change within classrooms
  • Learn best practices in the teaching artist field

Be a part of the movement!

2013 Application

WITS Alliance Goes to Boston

boston_small by nina goffi in poets & writers
Boston by Nina Goffi
published in Poets & Writers 2011

WITS Alliance Schedule of Events
AWP 2013 in Boston
Hynes Convention Center

WITS Alliance Booth # 210

Wednesday, March 6
WITS AWP Day of Service
12:00-4:00 p.m.

WITS Alliance Membership Meeting
Room 209, Level 2
4:30-5:45 p.m.

Thursday, March 7
WITS Writers on Teaching: A Reading
Lacy M. Johnson, Giuseppe Taurino, Miah Arnold, Stacy Parker Le Melle, Nicole Zaza
Room 102, Plaza Level
10:30-11:45 a.m.

A Reading from Writers in the Schools [WITS Alliance]
Alise Alousi, Bao-Long Chu, Michael Dickman, Tim Seibles
Room 201, Level 2
1:30-2:45 p.m.

Rowing Your Boat across the Curriculum [WITS Alliance]
Amy Swauger, Sarah Dohrmann, Margaret Dougherty-Goodburn, Andrew Proctor, Terry Ann Thaxton
Room 102, Plaza Level
4:30-5:45 p.m.

WITS Alliance Reception
Room 303
7:00-8:15 p.m.

Friday, March 8

Informal Drop-In Breakfast 8:30 – 10:00

New Location: Sheraton lobby, near the Starbucks
Trident Booksellers and Cafe‎
338 Newbury Street
Boston, MA 02115
(617) 267-8688
tridentbookscafe.com‎

Founder’s Toolkit: How to Start a Non- Profit in Your Own Backyard [WITS Alliance]
Long Chu, Allen Gee, Janet Hurley, Lisa Murphy-Lamb, Jerome Vielman
Room 102, Plaza Level
10:30-11:45 a.m.

Phillip Lopate Book Signing
WITS Alliance Booth #210
1:30 – 2:30 p.m.

Fundraising with Individuals – Crafting the Story [WITS Alliance]
Jack McBride, Kate Brennan, Lee Briccetti, Michele Kotler
Room 102, Plaza Level
3:00-4:15 p.m.

Saturday, March 9
Writing to Change the World: Social Justice and Youth Writing Programs [WITS Alliance]
Janet Hurley, Tamiko Ambrose Murray, Glenis Redmond, Christina Shea, Terry Blackhawk
Room 208, Level 2
12:00-1:15 p.m.

Where in the World is the Writer in Residence? [WITS Alliance]
Cecily Sailer, Alise Alousi, Tina Angelo, Josephine Jones
Room 102, Plaza Level
3:00-4:15 p.m.

So, You Want to Become a Writer in the Schools?

witsa messenger bagJoin us at the 2013 AWP Conference in Boston, March 6-9. Here is a list of the Writers in the Schools (WITS) Alliance events this year.

WITS Alliance Schedule of Events
AWP 2013: Boston
Hynes Convention Center

All events take place in the Hynes Convention Center unless otherwise noted.
 

WITS Alliance Booth: 210

 

Wednesday, March 6

WITS Day of Service hosted by WriteBoston
12:00 noon -4:00 p.m.

WITS Alliance Membership Meeting
Room 209, Level 2
4:30-5:45 p.m.

Thursday, March 7

WITS Writers on Teaching: A Reading

Lacy M. Johnson, Giuseppe Taurino, Miah Arnold, Stacy Parker Le Melle, Nicole Zaza
Related Panel
Room 102, Plaza Level
10:30-11:45 a.m.

This reading by new, veteran, and former WITS teachers will explore what it really means to be agents of the WITS mission—to engage children in the power of the written word, to nurture imaginations, and to awaken young minds to the adventures of language. Readers will discuss how WITS teaching can sometimes be at least as revolutionary for teachers as for their students, even having potentially life-altering effects on teaching, writing, and overall worldview.

A Reading from Writers in the Schools [WITS Alliance]

Alise Alousi, Bao-Long Chu, Michael Dickman, Tim Seibles
Room 201, Level 2
1:30-2:45 p.m.

Four poets will share work by young students as well as their own work. They will discuss the ways in which their work with school children has affected their own writing. Two of the poets will have participated in the AWP WITS Day of Service and will tell about that. Students from the Day of Service project will be invited to the event.

 

Rowing Your Boat across the Curriculum [WITS Alliance]
Amy Swauger, Sarah Dohrmann, Margaret Dougherty-Goodburn, Mary Rechner, Terry Ann Thaxton
Room 102, Plaza Level
4:30-5:45 p.m.
 

From lyrics on the nesting habits of eagles to odes to the ozone layer, teachers are incorporating creative writing projects in science, math, and social studies curricula. From kindergarten to college, instructors are being asked to merge the disciplines. In this session, panelists will share strategies to engage students in creative writing across the curriculum.

 

WITS Alliance Reception

Room 303
7:00-8:15 p.m.

Friday, March 8

Founder’s Toolkit: How to Start a Non- Profit in Your Own Backyard [WITS Alliance]
Long Chu, Allen Gee, Janet Hurley, Lisa Murphy-Lamb, Jerome Vielman
Room 102, Plaza Level
10:30-11:45 a.m.

If every organization is the lengthened shadow of one person, and if the MFA is the new MBA, then poets and novelists are already equipped with the imaginative drive and divergent thinking necessary to start and operate a successful nonprofit. This panel of founding directors and arts administrators will provide useful information on how to start a literary non-profit. We will guide participants through the process of incorporating one’s passion into a viable project working for public good.

Fundraising with Individuals – Crafting the Story [WITS Alliance]
Jack McBride, Kate Brennan, Lee Briccetti, Michele Kotler
Room 102, Plaza Level
3:00-4:15 p.m.

Non-profits start brainstorm sessions with this phrase: if money were no object. But, money is an object, and not having it is an obstacle. In an economy where revenues and contributions are down, non-profits rely on individual donors. While 70% of all giving comes from individuals, just 5% of donations go to the arts. How do we shape a passion for our work into a message that encourages increased giving? This panel explores ways we craft our stories to win the hearts of individual donors.

Saturday, March 9

Writing to Change the World: Social Justice and Youth Writing Programs [WITS Alliance]
Janet Hurley, Tamiko Ambrose Murray, Glenis Redmond, Christina Shea, Terry Blackhawk
Room 208, Level 2
12:00-1:15 p.m.

Does the endeavor of creative writing intrinsically encourage the subject of social justice and/or nurture the same? Panelists who work with students, elementary through college age, will discuss the art of teaching youth. They will chronicle the ways in which creative writing often triggers or gives space for idealism in students and empowers a sense of agency. What are the teachable moments and what risks are involved?

 
Where in the World is the Writer in Residence? [WITS Alliance]
Cecily Sailer, Alise Alousi, Tina Angelo, Josephine Jones
Room 102, Plaza Level
3:00-4:15 p.m.

Although people might agree poets make the world a better place, poetry is often marginalized to classrooms. What happens when we move the poet from the ivory tower into the real world? What if a poet-in-residence could work in the hospital, museum, theater, or science lab? This panel explores how individuals and arts organizations can enliven and deepen the teaching of creative writing through unlikely collaborations. 

WritersCorps Rocks Litquake

CAnetsberger_LitQuake2012_41

WritersCorps, a WITS Alliance organization in San Franciscowas thrilled to be a part of Litquake again this year, the annual literary festival that brings hundreds of writers and thousands of literature lovers to San Francisco for a fun-packed week of events. Our teaching artists and students read on Saturday, October 13, 2012, as part of Lit Crawl, the last hurrah of the Litquake fest for the year which features three hours of poetry, fiction, and non-fiction readings in bookstores, bars, art galleries, restaurants, stores, cafés, laundromats, and community spaces in SF’s Mission district.

As an organization employing professional writers and teaching creative writing to underserved youth, it is important to us at WritersCorps to have a connection to the city’s literary scene, which is exactly why we participate in events like Litquake. A bit about us: we are a joint project of the San Francisco Public Library and the San Francisco Arts Commission and have helped nearly 18,000 youth from neighborhoods throughout San Francisco improve their literacy and increase their desire to learn. We publish award-winning publications, produce local and national events, and are part of a national alliance with sites in the Bronx and Washington, D.C. In 2010, we were honored with the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award from the White House, presented to us by First Lady Michelle Obama.

At Lit Crawl, WritersCorps packed the house at gift shop Serendipity. Teaching artist Rose Tully read an excerpt from a short story in which Crisco played a starring role. harold terezón read a series of poems, including one made up of all the names he’s ever been called. Carrie Leilam Love, true to her name, read a series of love poems. Roseli Ilano read an excerpt from her story, “Treasure.” Minna Dubin read from a prose piece. Anhvu Buchanan read a bromance ode to Jeremy Lin. Representing our students, Indiana PehlivanovaEvelyn León, and Roger Lopez read from recent work.

CAnetsberger_LitQuake2012_24

Though the entire reading was a success, a particular highlight was Evelyn reading a poem about her father and bringing him, and nearly everyone else present, to tears.

To see all of the photos from the event, click here. To see all of the videos, click here. Thanks to Litquake, all of our teachers and students, and photographer Cole Anetsberger!

by Alexandra Wilder

Program Associate, WritersCorps

For Advanced Teaching Artists Only

Writers in the Schools Alliance member Community Word Project is offering a summer training opportunity for Teaching Artists with 2 or more years of experience. Here are some details about the program:

2012 Summer Institute for
Advanced Teaching Artists
July 20, 23 and 24, 2012

WHAT: A three-day, intensive workshop focusing on Innovation, Multi-disciplinary Arts Integration, Curriculum Development, Evaluation/Assessment, Critical Thinking Skills and Classroom Management.

WHERE: Community Resource Exchange
42 Broadway, Suite 2000, New York, NY 10004

WHEN: Friday, July 20; Monday, July 23; and Tuesday, July 24

WHO: Creative Writers, Visual and Multi-Media Artists, Musicians, Dancers and Theater Artists with 2+ years experience teaching their art form in a public school setting.

The Summer Institute’s training curriculum is based on Community Word Project’s creative process exploration methods, teaching practices and philosophy developed over 12 years in NYC public school system.

Participants gain hands-on experience through classroom exercises, discussions, role-playing and collaboration in these focus areas:

• Transforming your Creative Process into Innovative Teaching Methods
• Developing Critical Thinking Skills through Arts Exercises
• Collaborating with Teaching Artists of a Different Art Form
• Evaluating and Assessing Student Work
• Arts Integration
• Cultivating environments of Social Change within classrooms
• Co-teaching with Classroom Teachers
• Classroom Management Techniques

For further details, please visit the Community Word Project website or contact Program Director Khalil Murrell at TATIP@communitywordproject.org

Report from AWP Chicago

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

We had a great time at AWP 2012. Thanks for your enthusiasm about the Writers in the Schools movement. We loved seeing you at the WITS booth, at our panels, and at our reception. Once you’ve recuperated, please be in touch.

Writers in the Schools (WITS) at AWP 2012 in Chicago – Join the Movement!

The Writers in the Schools (WITS) Alliance will present an exciting series of panels, meetings, and events at the 2012 AWP Conference in Chicago. Here is a schedule of all the WITS happenings. We will be in the Bookfair the entire time. Come say hello at Booth #609. See you in Chicago!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Membership Meeting
Wednesday, February 29th, 4:30 to 5:45 PM
Joliet, Hilton Chicago, 3rd Floor
Writers in the Schools (WITS) Alliance invites current and prospective members to attend a general meeting led by Robin Reagler, Executive Director of WITS-Houston.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Celebration in Any Language: Teaching Bilingual Students  
Jack McBride, Alise Alousi, Merna Ann Hecht, Milta Ortiz, Cara Zimmer
Thursday, March 1st, 9:00 to 10:15 AM
Location: Grand Ballroom, Palmer House Hilton, 4th Floor
As student populations become increasingly diverse, most writing teachers work with bilingual students. We face specific challenges in creating an inclusive classroom community but ultimately celebrate linguistic difference through powerful writing and creativity. Panelists will discuss strategies for reaching all students, the challenges in navigating multiple languages in one classroom, and successes in creating a safe place for students to tell their own individual stories.

What You Need to Know Before You “Stand and Deliver”: K-12 Teaching 101
Rebecca Hoogs, Cecilia Pinto, Valerie Wayson, David Hassler, Cecily Sailer
3:00 to 4:15 PM
Location: Empire Ballroom, Palmer House Hilton, Lobby Level
Standing in front of a classroom and delivering inspiring and effective lessons doesn’t just happen. And just because you’re a great writer doesn’t mean you’re ready to be a great teaching artist in a K-12 classroom. But this panel will help you understand the path to becoming the teacher you want to be, that your teachers expect you to be, and that your students deserve. We’ll share tips and tricks of the trade and offer concrete advice for how to get the experience you need to succeed.

WITS Alliance Reception
Thursday, March 1st, 7:00 to 8:15 PM
Location: Hilton Chicago Hotel, Astoria, Hilton Chicago

Friday, March 2, 2012

Finding a Common Language in the Public Schools
Long Chu, Renée Watson, Giuseppe Taurino, Keith Yost
Friday, March 2nd, 1:30-2:45 PM
Location: Private Dining Room 1, Hilton Chicago, 3rd Floor
WITS organizations have deep artistic roots, and may approach the teaching of creative writing in ways public school administrators and teachers misunderstand or find irrelevant to their concerns. How do we make the case for WITS programs as valuable partners in meeting schools’ goals for student learning, but still remain true to our artistic identity? This panel of school administrators and WITS leaders share real world ideas to strengthen outreach to school partners.

The Wired Writing Classroom: The Marriage of Technology and Teaching
Cecily Sailer, Jeanine Walker, Janet Hurley, Jim Walker, Bertha Rogers
Friday, March 2nd, 3:00-4:15 PM
Location: Lake Huron Room, Hilton Chicago, 8th Floor
With an endless supply of evolving technology, how can educators capitalize on innovative web platforms and social media to augment classroom teaching, inspire students, and showcase their work? In this panel, several administrators from writers-in-the-schools organizations share multi-media projects that marry technology and traditional teaching methods. These stories of “teachnology” touch upon best practices while considering questions of safety and authenticity.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Low Res, Full Res, No Res: The Poet and the Terminal Degree
Christopher Salerno, Amy Gerstler, Bob Hicock, Timothy Liu, Robin Reagler
Saturday, March 3rd, 10:30 AM to 11:45 AM
Location: Wiliford C, Hilton Chicago, 3rd Floor
This panel will address what about the different MFA/CW program models is transcendent, what is common, and what is hindrance. We’ll discuss ways poets use, ignore, dismiss, or are damaged by aspects of each. What intersections are there amongst the MFA options? How does one take ownership of their track? Is an MFA necessary? Panelists will discuss why they did (or did not) pursue their particular terminal degree, and how those experiences inform their teaching practices in these programs now.

Marketing the Literary, or Putting some Poetry into your PR
Robin Reagler, Alison Granucci, Tree Swenson, Kristine Uyeda
Saturday, March 3rd, 1:30 PM to 2:45 PM
Location: Boulevard Room A,B,C, Hilton Chicago, 2nd Floor
For many writers, the business of promoting literature does not come naturally. Many literary organizations are led by writers for whom marketing is unfamiliar terrain. But some programs are finding surprising ways to connect with a larger public through low-cost campaigns to promote individual writers, literary arts education programs, memberships, and donations.

Crisis Economics for Nonprofits
Amy Swauger, Rebecca Hoogs, Michele Kotler, Melanie Moore
Saturday, March 3rd, 3:00 – 4:15 PM
Location: Grand Ballroom, Palmer House Hilton, 4th Floor
How are some nonprofits thriving in the current economy while others struggle to keep the doors open from one day to the next? The panelists in this session, who represent presenting organizations, literary publishers, and writers-in-the-schools programs, discuss their strategies for weathering the financial storm by identifying different sources of funding, collaborating with other nonprofits and for-profit partners, and finding ways to maintain programs and services while cutting costs.