CPITS Facts for Classroom Teachers
& School Administrators
California Poets in the Schools poet-teachers serve as living models of the commitment to imaginative language and are uniquely capable of
sharing an artist’s insights into the creative process.
CPITS poet-teachers are professional
published writers with diverse
backgrounds. The CPITS
roster includes practicing journalists,
playwrights, musicians, and visual
artists. All are expected to maintain
a writing and publishing
career. Most of our poet-teachers
have master’s degrees and/or teaching credentials, and have received
awards for their work as writers and artists. CPITS strives for cultural
diversity with its poet-teachers and is committed to placing poet-teachers
who are sensitive to specific student populations. New CPITS poets are paired with experienced mentors in an extensive training
program before classroom placement.
California Poets in the Schools is one of the nation’s largest writers-in-residence programs. We more than 25,000 K-12 students each year in public, private and alternative schools, after-school programs, juvenile detention, hospitals, and other community settings. CPITS was established in 1964 as part of San Francisco State University’s Pegasus Program and is now a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, with support from the California Arts Council, the National Endowment for the Arts, foundations, corporations, and generous individuals. CPITS reaches students statewide, holds an annual conference publishes an anthology of the year’s best student poetry, and sponsors local readings and performances. We also co-sponsor—with the California Arts Council, the NEA, and the Poetry Foundation—the national poetry recitation competition, Poetry Out Loud.
The Poet Residency
THE CPITS RESIDENCY
The purpose of a CPITS residency is to encourage students to write. Our poet-teachers focus on targeted, grade-level appropriate, experiential creative writing; working with critical thinking and language as tools for self-expression and discovery. The emphasis is on sequential exploration of the creative process rather than the product—though students will usually produce poems in each session. The poet-teacher presents model poems along with his or her own work and published student poems. The poet-teacher leads students in discussion of poetic tools, including image, metaphor, rhythm, line, stanza, alliteration, and wordplay. Most of the workshop is devoted to a writing exercise that follows from examples and discussion. Students are encouraged to share their new poems aloud and to respond to each other’s creative efforts in thoughtful and positive ways, to learn from each other’s work, and to approach literature with an insider’s—a writer’s—appreciation and understanding. The California Poets in the Schools program meets and enriches California State K-12 Curriculum Standards for English Language Arts and English Language Development. Poetry workshops also engage Visual and Performing Arts standards and enrich the core curriculum including Math, Social Studies and Natural Sciences. Individual workshops usually last fifty minutes to one hour. Typically, the visiting poet-teacher meets with each class once a week for the length of the residency.
PRODUCING AN ANTHOLOGY OF STUDENT POEMS
Longer residencies (fifteen sessions or more) may be designed to include the production of printed anthologies of students’ poems. Public poetry readings and performances by students may also be arranged, usually as a culmination of a residency or to celebrate the publication of an anthology.
THE ROLE OF THE CLASSROOM TEACHER
Classroom teachers are an integral part of the CPITS program and are expected to remain in the classroom during the poetry sessions. In collaboration with the classroom teacher, visiting poet-teachers can tie poetry workshops into other curricular areas, including science, ecology, watershed study, art, performance, history, and math. Teachers who share in discussions and writing often inspire their students to take greater risks and learn from the lessons. CPITS also offers separate in-services and creative writing workshops for teachers.
FUNDING A CPITS POETRY RESIDENCY
Funding for residencies is available from a variety of state, federal, and private sources, including: Title I, bilingual, and GATE programs; state lottery funding; special education; school site funds; the PTA; service organizations (Rotary, Lions); local business and corporate partnerships; local arts councils; and educational foundations. CPITS poet-teachers often work with school administrators to identify funding sources in their community.
CPITS poets work as independent contractors and are responsible for securing their own residencies. A standard CPITS contract must be completed and signed by a school representative. Residencies begin as soon as a school, or a district representative authorized to commit funds, signs the approved CPITS contract.
Poetry residencies are designed to fit the needs of each school’s program. The basic one-hour teaching session fee is $75, which includes preparation and follow-up time.
For an additional negotiated fee, if stipulated in the contract, poet-teachers will edit and compile a student anthology representing the best writing from the residency (fifteen to sixty sessions only). The school bears the expense of printing production, which can be done on-site, at a district duplicating facility, or through local printers. A mileage fee may be asked of schools at a great distance (more than twenty-five miles round trip) from the poet’s home.
The chart below shows various residency options available, all with talented and trained poets.
|One Year Residency, 60 Sessions
||In-depth poet Involvement
|Semester Residency, 30 Sessions
||In-depth poet Involvement
|| $ 2,250
|Short Residency, 15 Sessions
|Pilot Program, 10 Sessions
|| $ 750
|Demonstration, 5 Sessions
CONTACTING A CPITS POET
CPITS poets often contact schools individually. Classroom teachers and school officials may also contact the central office or the local CPITS Area Coordinator to connect their school with the trained poet-teacher best suited to work with their students. We will be happy to help you sign up for a CPITS residency.
Please contact email@example.com or Tina Pasquinzo at (415) 221-4201 to discuss individual needs and special opportunities available in your county or region.