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Kent State’s Wick Poetry Center Receives Grant to Conduct Outreach With Akron Public Schools

Posted Aug. 11, 2014
enter photo description
Carly Sachs, Kent State University doctoral student and
Wick teaching artist, discusses poetry with Shreya Basu,
a freshman from Theodore Roosevelt High School, in the
Kent State University Library during Wick Juniors, the
Wick Poetry Center's summer writing workshop.

(Photo credit: Erin LaBelle)

The Wick Poetry Center in the College of Arts and Sciences at Kent State University has received a $33,472 grant from the Akron Community Foundation through the Howard Atwood Family Fund. The grant project, titled “Encouraging New Voices,” is a collaborative initiative between the Wick Poetry Center and Akron Public Schools, designed to increase literacy among students in grades three through 12. The project will run from October 2014 to October 2015.

Beginning this winter, teaching artists will begin working with students in the classroom at Akron Public Schools. Next summer, the Wick Poetry Center will host a workshop for participating teachers on the innovative methods of teaching content subjects through creative writing exercises.

“We have a long-standing reputation of pioneering programming and outreach initiatives,” says Jessica Jewell, program director at the Wick Poetry Center. “This grant allows us to meet a direct need in the community, which is to empower students to share their stories and creative accomplishments, while also engaging in deeper learning experiences.”

Members of the Wick Poetry Center will hold writing residencies that focus on creative writing and the Common Core in Akron Public Schools. Students will explore individuality and community with the ultimate goal of increasing literacy.

The project also will feature student participation in writing workshops and field trips to the Wick Poetry Center at the May Prentice House where they will engage with a state-of-the-art community classroom, visit the Poetry Park and the Kent Campus. Jewell estimates that this project will impact 10 to 15 teachers and approximately 210 students.

“The project is the first of its kind for the Wick Poetry Center, which draws on 30 years of programming and outreach initiatives,” Jewell says. “Although it is not uncommon for poetry centers to offer poetry-writing workshops for area classrooms, we are proposing meaningful changes to poetry workshop curriculum that address the needs of implementing state standards for content subjects.”

The Wick Poetry Center at Kent State was founded in 1984 and will be celebrating its 30th anniversary on campus this September. Recently, the Wick Poetry Center relocated from Satterfield Hall to the newly renovated May Prentice House on the Lefton Esplanade.

For more information about the Akron Community Foundation, visit

For more information about the Wick Poetry Center, visit