Writers in the Schools (WITS) connects professional writers with public school classrooms throughout the Puget Sound region to elevate the expressions of all students as they discover and develop their authentic writing and performance voices. Through WITS, students become authors of their own lives.
WITS Writers-in-Residence support both students and teachers in building a vibrant literary culture within their classrooms. By weaving residencies into the school day, the program reaches students who might never elect to attend a creating writing program outside of school hours.
- Inspire students to engage in the writing process, build writing skills, and increase self-confidence.
- Bring a race and equity lens to the teaching of creative writing with the goal of cultivating a sense of belonging for all, while centering students most impacted by structural racism.
- Build a positive learning community that amplifies and celebrates student voices.
- Support teachers and students by providing opportunities for meaningful connection with local writers.
How WITS Works
Writers in the Schools works with each school to design a residency that meets that school’s particular learning outcomes, curriculum needs, and schedule. In a typical residency, the WITS Writer-in-Residence teaches three or four classes of students once or twice a week for an entire semester. Providing students with sustained, sequential learning allows them to engage with the full arc of the writing process: brainstorming, pre-writing, drafting, revising, publishing, and performing.
Each WITS Writer-in-Residence designs lesson plans based upon the curriculum, goals, and standards of the classroom teacher. Writers are responsible for preparing and teaching the lessons, commenting on student work, and planning a culminating project such as a reading or publication. Teachers are responsible for assisting the writer with overall planning, providing an understanding of the school’s culture, and managing the classroom. They are also invited and encouraged to participate fully in, and learn from, the lessons.
We are committed to designing our creative teaching within larger learning benchmarks such as the Essential Academic Learning Requirements, Grade Level Expectations, the Writers’ Workshop, and state assessments, such as the Washington Assessment of Student Learning (WASL).
WITS Rewritten is a pilot program that provides WITS at no cost to K-12 public schools that serve students furthest from educational justice due to systemic racial and socio-economic inequities. WITS Rewritten will center these students and bring literary arts engagement opportunities into their classrooms. In its inaugural year, WITS Rewritten is partnering with Wing Luke Elementary School, Denny International Middle School, and Rainier Beach High School in the Seattle Public School District.