The film and curriculum have been widely credited by educators with sparking youth poetry movements within their schools and after-school programs. Many months after broadcast, the project continues to pick up steam, with teachers from all over the country ordering the film and curriculum packet. Because spoken word is a relatively new phenomenon, there is huge potential for growth, and the producers hope that the Poetic License materials will continue to fuel that growth.
Challenges & Lessons Learned
This is a new movement, with only a nascent national network in place. Because of this, the producers of Poetic License educational outreach initiatives were forced to "start from scratch" and help develop the network of youth spoken-word educators. The project tried to turn the challenge into an opportunity, however, recognizing the power to help build a community from the ground up.
In trying to get the film and curriculum integrated into schools, Poetic License learned an important lesson: understanding the landscape. With after-school programs, there is a great deal of latitude in terms of what projects can be implemented. This is not the case, however, with in-class materials. There are many barriers to entry within the school walls: state and local standards that the curriculum must be aligned with, skeptical teachers who are reluctant to try anything new, and an emphasis on test scores. In order to successfully get the materials implemented in classrooms, the Poetic License educational outreach producers had to take all of these considerations into account and develop a strategy that could work with, or around, these constraints. For example, looking at state standards and how they dovetail with the film allowed producers to hone their message to educators, to show how the materials can fit within existing structures.