With his engaging performance-style poetry, U.S. Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera dazzled an audience of CPS educators last week, his art coming to life as he interacted with listeners and stirred their emotions.

I’m thrilled that so many of our teachers, principals and instructional  leaders were able to join me at this special event, and hope it will help shape the way poetry is taught in our schools. The evening was a partnership between CPS and the Poetry Foundation – a literary organization that strives to recognize great poetry and place it in front of the largest audience possible, including schoolchildren.

We are so fortunate to have this incredible institution right here in Chicago. The Poetry Foundation offers many free resources to our schools, including visits to our classrooms, professional development opportunities for teachers, and guided visits to their museum, which houses a library filled with varied styles of poetry. The foundation website also includes thousands of poems for use in classrooms, and offers programs that connect students to other genres within the arts, including music and theater.  

Teachers interested in the foundation’s free workshop on teaching poetry should contact teachers@poetryfoundation.org for additional information. All other resources are available at www.poetryfoundation.org.  

I want to thank U.S. Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera, not only for sharing his poetry with CPS educators, but for hosting our students at the Poetry Foundation and visiting several CPS high schools last week to teach students how to write and appreciate poetry.

I also thank Jaime Guzman and Gail Ward of the Board of Education, and the many teachers, principals and District leaders who participated in this literary experience, especially given CPS’ current challenges. By embracing this opportunity to learn and grow, you have proven that our commitment to providing students with a rich, well-rounded education remains unchanged.

Dr. Janice K. Jackson
Chief Education Officer