Due to COVID-19 YCA has suspended in-person programming. See our calendar for virtual programs.

Young Chicago Authors provides free 15-week (October-April) literary arts partnership residencies to select Chicago Public Schools.

Schools work closely with a YCA Teaching Artist to create inter- and intra-school programming in preparation for the school’s participation in Louder Than A Bomb, the largest teen poetry slam festival in the country, and a final culminating performance.

During this partnership, YCA Teaching Artists visit the school to perform original work, facilitate poetry workshops, and critique student work. Teaching Artists show students different approaches to writing, often using pieces by acclaimed contemporary poets and lyricists as a starting point, and give students writing prompts to begin the work of crafting individual and group poems.

Education Partner schools send a team of four to ten poets to compete at the Louder Than A Bomb Youth Poetry Festival (LTAB) in two preliminary bouts with teams from other schools, with the chance to progress to the quarter and semifinal rounds and ultimately to the Team Finals competition. Most schools organize a field trip to attend one of the preliminary bouts to show school-wide support for the team. Poetry club members not competing in the team LTAB competition also have the opportunity to participate in the LTAB speciality programs, including the Jordan Slam, Louder Than A Bomba, MC Olympics, and more.

Program Benefits

  • Free YCA Teaching Artist instruction in class and/or after-school.
  • Help in coordinating and recruiting for an after-school poetry club.
  • Assistance in preparing for the Louder Than a Bomb tournament, including instruction in both performance and poetry.
  • Direct student mentorship from YCA Teaching Artists.
  • Waived team registration fee for the Louder Than A Bomb tournament.
  • Networking and collaboration opportunities with two other schools in your region.
  • Access to Chicago Writes, a unique, Chicago-centered, CPS-approved literary curriculum, Check The Method, and A People’s History curriculum.

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 curricular 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 and the Louder Than A Bomb team with assistance from a YCA Teaching Artist.
  • Space to run a Poetry Club on campus one day a week (Tuesdays, Wednesdays, or Thursdays) across the partnership.
  • The ability and capacity to host school-wide poetry engagements.
  • The ability to attend a Professional Development (PD) training at the start of the academic year.
  • The ability to bring LTAB team, club, and other students from the school to Louder Than A Bomb events every winter (February-March).

Applications for the 2019-2020 school year are now closed. If you are still interested in having the program at your school for the 2020-2021 school year, please fill out the information below. For more information about YCA’s Education Partnerships, please contact Heather Roberts, Senior Education Programs Manager, at heather@youngchicagoauthors.org.

Our 2018-19 Education Partners

  • Kenwood Academy
  • Ogden International School of Chicago
  • Butler College Preparatory High School
  • Michele Clark Academic Preparatory High School
  • Percy L. Julian High School
  • Simeon Career Academy
  • CICS Longwood
  • Taft High School
  • Collins Academy High School
  • Chicago Vocational Career Academy
  • Lincoln Park High School
  • Richard T. Crane Medical Prep High School
  • Little Village High School
  • Community Links High School
  • Clemente High School