Seattle Art & Lecture (SAL)
SAL’s Writers in the schools (WITS) program
Seattle Arts & Lectures’
Writers in the Schools (WITS) program places professional local writers in public elementary, middle, and high school classrooms, empowering young people to discover and develop their authentic writing and performance voices. Since 1994, WITS has served over 100,000 students throughout the Puget Sound region.
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).
Lafayette WITS writer: Jay Thompson
Jay Thompson (they/he) has taught poetry and creative writing to K-12 students through Writers in the Schools since 2018, and at Lafayette Elementary since 2021. They’re the parent of a middle school and, alongside their work at WITS, they teach poetry classes for women incarcerated at King County Jail. They’re a poet and essayist, and the author of the memoir The Resurrection Appearances: Fragments of a Daybook (Gold Line Press). They’re delighted to work with the brilliant, creative, and soulful young writers of the Lafayette community!