Students shared poems, both some they had written and some they selected for how they felt
Lue Morgan, a senior at Woodland Public Schools’ alternative TEAM High School, organized an evening poetry slam as a way for them and their classmates to have an opportunity to share their creativity and to have their voices heard on the evening of March 1.
The poetry slam kicked off with Elizabeth “Liz” Vallaire, one of TEAM’s Math and Science teachers, reading a poem she had written herself about her own time in school. Students shared other poems, both some they had written and some they selected for how they felt, such as Talia Maxwell who delivered two: one she wrote herself and “Annabelle Le” written by Edgar Allen Poe. The audience was made up of students who wanted to support their classmates during their performances.
For Morgan, creative writing provides an outlet to discuss challenging ideas through expression, “Poetry has always inspired me because it’s a way to talk about hard topics, to express yourself, and to share what you have been through,” they said. “While English Language Arts isn’t actually my favorite subject, it has always come pretty easy to me.”
Jillian Domingo, TEAM’s English Language Arts, Social Studies, Art, and Computer Sciences teacher, knew Morgan would excel during their performance at the poetry slam, “Lue is one of our deep thinkers and deep feelers,” she said. “They spend their time putting together care packages for people experiencing challenges and they are prolific poetry-writers.”
Morgan first approached Domingo about putting on a poetry contest or some kind of poetry event last year. “This year, Lue came up with the idea of hosting a poetry slam and did all the planning and preparation to make it happen,” she said. “Lue shared a poem they wrote themselves which was deeply personal and they delivered it with moving emotion.”
TEAM High School offers an alternative approach to earning a diploma rather than attending traditional high school as students can configure their schedules around their lives. Additionally, TEAM lets students work at their own pace, so many, like Morgan, can graduate early. “I started attending TEAM because I wanted to graduate quickly,” they said. “It’s definitely an alternative school, and it’s been very accommodating to my needs, as well.”
Morgan appreciates the supportive nature of TEAM’s teachers and staff who address student needs with one-on-one attention. “I think TEAM’s staff are absolutely awesome,” they said. “The staff definitely helps us as we approach our own educational paths.” Currently a senior, Morgan plans to get a job after graduating in the next few months and will look at colleges in the area to see if any appeal to them.
About TEAM High School:
TEAM High School offers Woodland’s students a path to earning a high school diploma which accommodates individual students’ life circumstances including full-time work, family responsibilities, or simply wanting the chance to finish high school early and get a jumpstart on their future.
The staff of TEAM try to help people think of alternative high schools differently. “Many people hear ‘alternative school’ and think it’s a place for ‘troubled’ kids” said Vallaire. “We want to change that perception: we don’t have ‘typical’ students – we have high-achieving students; students with life responsibilities; and students whose life circumstances make TEAM’s approach to learning a better fit.”
“TEAM can be great for students because we meet them where they are academically and offer a myriad of supports and flexibility with classes to help them succeed,” said Jillian Domingo, who teaches English Language Arts, Social Studies, Art, and Computer Science at TEAM. “Since we have time to work with our students one-on-one, they share information about their work, hobbies, and home lives; I feel having that knowledge helps me be a better teacher by allowing me to adjust my instruction to fit their specific needs and learning styles.”
To learn more about TEAM High School, how to enroll, or how your organization can partner with Woodland Public Schools, visit the TEAM website at www.woodlandschools.org/team
Learn more about how Woodland Public Schools educates students and serves the community by visiting the dedicated news webpage at www.woodlandschools.org/news/wsd
Information provided by Woodland School District.
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