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poet teachers california poets in the sc

As members of California Poets in the Schools, our Poet-Teachers serve as living models of the commitment to imaginative language and are uniquely capable of sharing an artist’s insights into the creative process. CalPoet teachers are professional published writers with diverse backgrounds. The CalPoets roster includes practicing journalists, novelists, screenwriters, playwrights, musicians, and visual artists. All are expected to maintain a writing and publishing career. Most of our Poet-Teachers have master’s degrees and/or teaching credentials, and have received awards for their work as writers and artists. CalPoets strives for cultural diversity and is committed to placing poet-teachers who are sensitive to specific student populations. New CalPoet Teachers are paired with experienced mentors in an extensive training program before classroom placement. 

Read more about our Poet-Teachers.

The purpose of a CalPoets residency is to encourage students to write. Our Poet-Teachers focus on targeted, grade-level appropriate, experiential creative writing; working with critical thinking and language as tools for self-expression and discovery. The emphasis is on sequential exploration of the creative process rather than the product—though students will usually produce poems in each session. The Poet-Teacher presents model poems along with his or her own work and published student poems. The Poet-Teacher leads students in discussion of poetic tools, including image, metaphor, rhythm, line, stanza, alliteration, and wordplay. Most of the workshop is devoted to a writing exercise that follows from examples and discussion. Students are encouraged to share their new poems aloud and to respond to each other’s creative efforts in thoughtful and positive ways, to learn from each other’s work, and to approach literature with an insider’s—a writer’s—appreciation and understanding. The California Poets in the Schools program meets and enriches California K-12 Common Core Standards for English Language Arts and English Language Development. Poetry workshops also engage Visual and Performing Arts standards and enrich the core curriculum including Math, Social Studies and Natural Sciences. Individual workshops usually last fifty minutes to one hour. Typically, the visiting poet-teacher meets with each class once a week for the length of the residency.   Poetry Residency Fact Sheet

Longer residencies (fifteen sessions or more) may be designed to include the production of printed anthologies of students’ poems. Public poetry readings and performances by students may also be arranged, usually as a culmination of a residency or to celebrate the publication of an anthology.

Classroom teachers are an integral part of the CalPoets program and are expected to remain in the classroom during the poetry sessions. In collaboration with the classroom teacher, visiting poet-teachers can tie poetry workshops into other curricular areas, including science, ecology, watershed study, art, performance, history, and math. Teachers who share in discussions and writing often inspire their students to take greater risks and learn from the lessons. CalPoets also offers separate in-services and creative writing workshops for teachers.

 Setting Up & Funding a Poetry Residency

CONTACTING A CalPoet Teacher

CalPoet Teachers often contact schools or organizations individually. Classroom teachers and school officials may also contact the central office or the local CalPoets Area Coordinator to connect their school with the trained poet-teacher best suited to work with their students. We will be happy to help you sign up for a CalPoets residency.



CalPoet Teachers work as independent contractors and are responsible for securing their own residencies. A standard CalPoets contract must be completed and signed by a school representative. Residencies begin as soon as a school, or a district representative authorized to commit funds, signs the approved CalPoets contract. Poetry residencies are designed to fit the needs of each school’s program. The basic one-hour teaching session fee is $75-90, which includes preparation and follow-up time.  For an additional negotiated fee, if stipulated in the contract, Poet-Teachers will edit and compile a student anthology representing the best writing from the residency (fifteen to sixty sessions only). The school bears the expense of printing production, which can be done on-site, at a district duplicating facility, or through local printers. A mileage fee may be asked of schools at a great distance (more than twenty-five miles round trip) from the poet’s home.



Funding for residencies is available from a variety of state, federal, and private sources, including: Title I, bilingual, and GATE programs; state lottery funding; special education; school site funds; the PTA; service organizations (Rotary, Lions); local business and corporate partnerships; local arts councils; and educational foundations. CalPoet Teachers often work with school administrators to identify funding sources in their community.  Funding a Residency Info


RESIDENCY STRUCTURE (Prices listed are estimates and may vary depending on design of residency.)

One Year Residency, 60 Sessions       Poetry Residency                      $4,500 to $5,400

Semester Residency, 30 Sessions       Poet Residency                         $2,250 to $2,700

Short Residency, 15 Sessions               Introductory Program              $1,125 to $1,350

Pilot Program, 10 Sessions                   Introductory Program                   $750 to $900

Demonstration, 5 Sessions                   Development Sequence                  $375 to $450


                                                                             FOR MORE INFORMATION


Please contact or (415) 221-4201 to discuss individual needs and special opportunities available in your county or region.

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