Reading, writing and performing poetry
Build communication skills...
through reading, writing and performing poetry on topics relevant to kids’ experiences.
to find and cultivate their unique voices for personal growth and civic engagement.
by creating a safe place for sharing personal stories and cultural understanding.
Connect to the larger world...
of Spoken Word through mentorship, showcases, and competitions.
creating articulate, engaged young people
Launched in Fall 2015, Spoken Word is a powerful and effective medium for fostering creativity and self-expression in young people.
Through both in-school residencies and extracurricular clubs, students learn to write and revise poems that reflect their own unique experiences, interests, and opinions. They then have opportunities to share their poetry in safe and supportive space.
Kids learn to collaborate creatively and to respond to each other’s work in a thoughtful and constructive manner.
The program consists of 3 main components:
- teacher professional development for 7th grade English Language Arts teachers at Brooks and Julian Middle Schools, as well as two Spoken Word club sponsors at each middle school
- week-long classroom residencies serving all 7th grade English Language Arts classes
- an extracurricular club open to all 6th, 7th, and 8th graders
brings in teaching artists to mentor students
engages all students with topics relevant to their personal experiences
creates a strong classroom and school community
helps students find their unique voices and connects them to the wider world
"…the Spoken Word program spearheaded by OPEF makes me wish I was a 7th grader. ...I feel like my kid is attending a boutique middle school.”
"Loved what you did with the kids. I heard one student say, ‘Wow we really used our noggins this period.’ Pretty cool.”
Spoken Word Teaching Artist
“This art form is one that really gives these kids a voice—to be able to stand up and say ‘who I am.’ They don’t have the space to do that at this age.”
Spoken Word News
National Poetry Month* is the largest literary celebration in the world, with tens of millions of readers, students, K-12 teachers, […]Read More ›
Join us on Tuesday, April 25th as Spoken Word club members from Gwendolyn Brooks and Percy Julian Middle Schools gather […]Read More ›
We had a big turnout for Maker Day 2017 on MLK Day with more than 200 kids participating! From the intricate […]Read More ›
The residency program for 7th graders and extracurricular club helped the students find their voiceRead More ›
“We Can’t Do It Without You”
$250 Sponsors a week-long residency of a Spoken Word visiting artist.
Cindy Milojevic was born In Oak Park and is a proud lifelong resident. After a 25-year career in the dental industry, she served for 11 years at her alma mater, Oak Park River & River Forest High School as Director of Student Activities. Cindy attended the University of Illinois, where she obtained a B.S. in Education followed by a Masters degree in Public Health (MPH) from Northwestern University and a Masters in Educational Leadership from Concordia University. Cindy lives with her husband Duey and has two children, Lauren and Danny.
Frequently Asked Questions
More Information about OPEF Spoken Word
Seed funding for the launch of Spoken Word was provided by the Peter Traczyk Innovation Fund.