Writers in the Schools

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Director: Connie Voisine
Coordinators: Mindy Bezdek, Erin Carlyle, Ross Howerton, Josh Randall

Led by La Sociedad para las Artes, the Writers in the Schools program (WITS) brings graduate student writers from the English Department into classrooms across the Las Cruces area to work with younger students. The goal of the program is to encourage both an appreciation and application of writing that gives students— many Latino or Chicano and living under the poverty line— the opportunity to discuss, interpret, and express themselves through a variety of genres. Graduate students may be able to develop lessons that incorporate the themes already present in the class by working with teachers to adapt lessons to fit the needs of the class. This is an incredible program that provides valuable experiences both for the students and the writers.

About the Program

WITS participants are paired up with local high school or middle school teachers in order to help get students excited about writing and enhance their chances of success in the future. Participants connect with the teachers they’ve been assigned to and find out where the class is at and what they’re working on and then set up 10 hours of in-class teaching. This is an opportunity to learn from some amazing teachers in our area, and it can give you experience teaching creative writing. If 10 hours seems like more than you can fit in your busy schedule, you can work together with another grad student so each of you does five hours in the class room or you can tackle each class together.

Previous school participants include Vista Middle School, Academia Dolores Huerta, Alma D’Arte, Sierra Middle School, Las Cruces High School, Lynn Middle School, Mayfield High School, Desert Hills Elementary, Crossroads, Oñate High School, and Arrowhead Park Early College High School.

Here are a few reasons to get involved with WITS:

  • WITS is a great way to enhance your skills as a writer and educator.
  • WITS organizations exist in many cities throughout the U.S. and can help you find job opportunities locally and nationally.
  • WITS is considered community service, so if you are a member of EGSO your involvement with WITS counts, and it is possible to get extra funding for conferences if you spend more time volunteering.

This program is made possible in part by New Mexico Arts, a division of the Department of Cultural Affairs, and the National Endowment for the Arts.