January 4, 2017 - Michael Salinger

Poetry, police, pedagogy and perspective.

So, Sara and my latest project involves students and law enforcement officers. It’s something we have been talking about for a long time but never had the chance to implement. We’ve had a couple false starts over the years but we’ve finally got our foot in a door.


Sara and her new writing partner.

We’re just starting out and we will update you on our progress but here is our idea in a nutshell. We work with police officers and students separately for a few sessions than we bring them together to work as partners and we present the work in a culminating event.

Sounds simple right? Our hypothesis is that if we have the two groups write on similar themes – then bring them together to share and collaborate on the pieces they’ve penned turning them into pieces for two voices which they can present together.

We’re hoping this helps to create some empathy from both sides and provide a ways for the youth and students to interact once the kids have aged out of the traditional outreach programs like D.A.R.E.


Detective and officer investigate poetry.

So far we’ve had one session with some officers from the Eastlake, Ohio Police Department and we look forward to working with some 7th graders in our friend, Libby Royko’s class at Eastlake Middle School. We’re tweaking the curriculum so that we go beyond the traditional prompt and write model that is the basis of so many creative writing workshops. We are focusing on craft and actual process and this approach has already been commended by our participants.

We will continue to document our process. our goal is to come up with a plan that can be followed by others who might like to implement a program like this in their own community.

Of course we aren’t doing this alone if not for the hard work and daring of some key folks, Lori Caszatt, Willoughby-Eastlake Public Library Communications & Development Manager – Chief Larry Reik of the Eastlake police Department and Libby this would never had come to pass.

Can you tell we’re excited about this?

We’ll keep you in the loop.

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“Sara and Michael bring infectious energy and joy leavened with deep knowledge of best practices in literacy to their work with children and teachers.” Ellin Keene – Author of Mosaic of Thought and The Teacher You Want to Be
“Sara and Michael bring magic, and a contagious love of words to both students and teachers alike!” Georgia Heard - Author of Awakening the Heart: Exploring Poetry in Elementary and Middle School More testimonials...