The Creative Writing Club at KIPP DC Valor Academy offers middle school students the opportunity to improve their abilities as writers in a positive and nurturing environment. Led by English Language Arts Special Education teacher Hannah Love, the club’s establishment sprang from the enthusiastic response students had to creative writing when teaching. “Students get really involved with creative writing inside the classroom. They asked for something like this and we made it happen.”
The Creative Writing Club meets once a month on Fridays and offers students a chance to not only sharpen their skills as writers, but do so while interacting with a diverse peer group. “One of the aspects that works the best for the club is how diverse we are,” said Ms. Love “We have kids from all grade levels, general education, and special education interacting with one another. It’s really cool when you see an eighth grader sit down with a fifth grader and collaborate.”
Currently students have the opportunity to work on different writing techniques during meetings, but one project in particular on the horizon has both Hannah and her students excited for what’s to come. “In the spring we’re going to publish our very first literary magazine through the School Culture Champion grant, which the kids are really excited for. They’ll get to name it and design the cover and all of that.” The School Culture Champion grant is part of KIPP DC’s commitment to fostering successful and ambitious school cultures by investing in innovative teacher-led projects.
In addition to publishing Valor Academy’s first literary magazine, Ms. Love also hopes to see the club host an Open Mic night for students and continue to get drum up interest for the club and their projects around the school, with parents, and inside the community. Most importantly, she wants to see her students recognize how impactful writing can be as both a tool of expression and personal development.
“I want them to see themselves as writers and I want them to see writing as so much more than something you do when your teacher tells you to do it. It’s something you can do to work through issues or for fun. I want build that context that writing can take place whenever or wherever.”
The Creative Writing Club is in its first year as an extracurricular at Valor Academy. Across KIPP DC’s network of middle schools, student council, boys and girls basketball, and choir are a few of the many extracurricular opportunities available to students. Each middle school principal works with students and families to decide what extracurriculars are best for their school.