UC Links at UC Irvine

Poetry Academy

Program Name: UCI/ Poetry Academy and Writing Lab

Program Website: www.uclinks.org/PA

Site Location:  El Sol Academy of Arts and Sciences, 1010 N. Broadway, Santa Ana, CA 92701

Principal Investigator(s): 
Professors Liane Brouillette in the Department of Education, Jim McMichael in the Department of English, Jill Robbins in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese, and Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Manuel Gomez. Site program director Sue Cronmiller, Department of Education

Contact:  Sue Cronmiller, Program Director, sueacron@uci.edu

Site Description:
The Poetry Academy/Writing Lab serves elementary school children at El Sol Academy of Arts and Sciences, a dual-language English-Spanish immersion charter school for at-risk children in a low-income community in Santa Ana.  Using a variety of innovative lesson plans, the Poetry Academy/Writing Lab engages these students through interactive activities that encourage and improve student writing, through revision and publication of poetry.  Both in class and after school, three days per week, students work with UC Irvine staff and undergraduates, who provide direct ongoing feedback on drafts that the students have written and posted on the Poetry Academy website and computer database (see http://uclinks.org/PA ). Undergraduates enrolled in a UC Irvine Education course on poetry in K-12 education.  Recently the program has been adopted as an integral component of the whole-school curriculum.

Course:  Education 78: Poetry in K-12

Participants (based on 2005-06 data):

  • Approximately 105 K–5th grade students per academic year*
    • 90% Latino, 5% African American, 5% White
    • 45% male, 55% female
    • 100% English language learners
  • Approximately 40 undergraduates per academic year


  • Departments of Education, English, and Spanish & Portuguese, the Center for Learning Through the Arts, and the Faculty-Led Academic Preparation Programs at UC Irvine
  • El Sol Academy of Arts and Sciences charter school, in the Santa Ana Unified School District, Santa Ana, CA


  • Provide safe and healthy places after school for children to learn and develop a sense of self as participants in a global world
  • Promote academic achievement and encourage low-income youth to pursue paths to higher learning
  • Increase technology literacy
  • Improve elementary students’ achievement in language arts, critical thinking, and public speaking
  • Improve the quality of graduate and undergraduate education by connecting academic coursework to practicum field experience
  • Encourage undergraduates to explore the possibility of a teaching career in urban, low-income communities


  • In class reading, writing, online publishing workshops in English in which undergraduates respond to and mentor children’s writing
  • Explorations of connection between written and photographic image making
  • Familiarizing children with university students and culture


  • University of California Student Academic Preparation and Educational Partnerships (SAPEP) Annual Performance Report
  • UC Links Reading Assessment
  • Survey of undergraduate interest in pursuing graduate or professional school studies
  • Assessment of children’s commitment to learning through participation in the revision process for poems they have written
  • Develop and apply assessment ad evaluation tools to measure student improvement.

Research Focus:

  • Academic benefits of teaching poetry, especially with respect to vocabulary acquisition
  • Student attitudes and motivations related to reading and writing poetry