Young Chicago Authors provides free literary arts partnership residencies to select Chicago Public Schools where schools work closely with a YCA Teaching Artist to create school programming to assist in the cultivation of a strong arts culture.

During this partnership, YCA Teaching Artists visit the school to facilitate writing workshops, foster inclusive learning communities, and become collaborators, helping students fulfill their artistic vision, and more. Teaching Artists show students different approaches to writing, often using pieces by contemporary poets and lyricists and writing prompts to begin crafting pieces. Students have the opportunity to engage in observation, analysis, interpretation, evaluation, and decision-making when engaging in the literary arts.

In addition, Education Partner schools have the opportunity to send up to ten poets to compete at the poetry festival, Rooted & Radical (R&R), with teams from other schools. Most schools organize a field trip to attend the festival to show school-wide support for the team. Poetry club members not competing in the competition have the opportunity to participate in the non-competitive auxiliary programs.

Program Benefits

  • Free YCA Teaching Artist instruction and mentorship in class and/or after-school.
  • Assist in coordinating and recruiting for an after-school poetry club.
  • Assistance in preparing for the poetry festival, Rooted & Radical, including instruction in both performance and poetry.
  • Networking and collaboration opportunities with schools in the partnership.

Partnership Requirements

All Education Partnership schools must have:

  • A classroom teacher able to support literary arts curriculum delivery and host a YCA Teaching Artist.
  • The capacity to conduct regular planning meetings with a YCA Teaching Artist to coordinate in-class and after-school curriculum.
  • A dedicated school staff member to recruit and coach an after-school poetry club 
  • Space to run a Poetry Club on campus one day a week (Tuesdays, Wednesdays, or Thursdays) across the partnership.
  • The ability to attend a Professional Development (PD) trainin

Applications for the 2024-2025 school year are OPEN. If you are interested in having the program at your school, please complete the application below to begin the process. For more information about YCA’s Education Partnerships, please get in touch with Heather Roberts, Director of Education, at

Our 2023-24 Education Partners

  • Dvorak School of Excellence
  • Kenwood Academy High School
  • Wells Community Academy High School
  • Wendell Phillips Academy High School
  • John Hancock College Preparatory High School
  • Little Village Lawndale High School
  • Roberto Clemente Community Academy