Working in a
public-private partnership with Simon Elementary, Hart Middle and
Ballou Senior High Schools, the D.C. Creative Writing Workshop offers
over 600 hours of programming annually, both in class and after
school, to more than 600 students. With the schools providing office
space, utilities, and management support, administrative costs are
kept unusually low, allowing a high percentage of the budget to
be spent on the Workshop’s mission of transforming the lives
of at-risk youth.
Select a link
below to read more about one of our programs. You can scroll down
to view all of them.
Teaching Tolerance Through
Reading Resource Center
The D.C. Creative
Writing Workshop’s writers-in-residence work with teachers
in grades 4-12 to provide intensive literary instruction to students
throughout their school careers. Each student keeps a personal creative
writing portfolio to document his or her progress during the year.
clubs are based at Hart and are open to all students, ages 5-19,
in the surrounding neighborhood. Participants in the Workshop’s
extra-curricular activities have the option of attending up to three
days a week of literary clubs.
Club members work on a variety of projects throughout the year,
writing about art and photography, keeping journals, and penning
original stories and essays.
Since the Writing
Club’s inception, Hart Middle School has developed a city-wide
reputation for artistic excellence, consistently fielding winners
in the Parkmont Poetry Contest, the Larry Neal Awards, the District
Lines Poetry on Metro Competition, and the Junior League Teen Poetry
Club graduates have continued on to the prestigious Literary Media
program at Duke Ellington High School for the Arts.
year, Drama Club members read and discuss a work of classic drama,
selecting from among such exemplars as Euripides’ “Medea”
and Sophocles’ “Antigone.” The students then interpret
the play in their own words, updating it to create an original adaptation.
The D.C. Creative Writing Workshop hires a professional director
to assist the students in their production, and after months of
writing, memorizing lines, and rehearsals, the students perform
their work for their friends, their parents, and the surrounding
community. The Drama Club's 2010 and 2011 productions, "R Town"
and "The Notorious P.Y.G.," were made into motion pictures.
up to eight plays each year at the Arena Stage and as many as three
productions by the Shakespeare Theatre. Participants have also seen
plays at the Studio Theater, the Source Theater, Woolly Mammoth,
the Atlas Theater, and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing
Arts, and they receive regular visits from theater professionals
Literary Magazine Club
Literary Magazine Club publishes hArtworks, the nation’s
only inner-city public middle school literary magazine. hArtworks
is featured in the 2011 Poet’s Market as “an
outstanding example of what a literary journal can be (for anyone
of any age).” Each year, club members produce three issues
of hArtworks, distributing over three hundred copies of
each to classmates, teachers, parents, and other members of the
community. To celebrate the publication of each issue, club members
give a reading at a local bookstore, offering signed copies of their
work for sale to audience members. Literary Magazine Club members
often interview a published author for the magazine. Featured writers
have included Cornelius Eady, Alan Cheuse, Arnost Lustig, Toi Derricotte,
and Nikki Giovanni.
the Literary Magazine Club has produced two annual publications,
Simon Says, featuring the works of students at Simon Elementary,
and Voice of the Knight, devoted to writings from Ballou
Tolerance Through Literature
of a range of opportunities offered by the U.S. Holocaust Memorial
Museum, the D.C. Creative Writing Workshop has developed a six-week
unit of Holocaust studies that involves 100 students from Hart and
Ballou each year. Throughout this period of study, the students
work on their own creative responses to the moral and ethical issues
raised, which they then compile into a special issue of hArtworks,
“Reflections on the Holocaust.”
of books to choose, students are learning that reading doesn’t
have to be a chore. D.C. Creative Writing Workshop members have
found that reading can actually be fun! Students can choose any
selection from the Workshop’s library, including a variety
of popular children’s books, as well as biographies, sports
books, and young adult novels. There is no time limit for borrowed
books. Each child keeps a book for as long as necessary to enjoy
it fully. Then, after finishing a book, the student can return it
in trade for a new one. At the end of the school year, each participant
in the after-school clubs may choose one book to keep permanently.