Natasha Davis, Arts and Technology Academy
How long have you been with DC SCORES?
The last seven years.
How did you first get involved with DC SCORES?
A former co-worker was a DC SCORES writing coach at ATA and wanted to pass the baton on to another teacher. She knew I had a passion for writing and suggested I become a part of the organization.
Why did you want to get involved?
I love the fact that our poet-athletes are able to combine writing, soccer and service-learning. I also get a thrill from preparing our students for the Poetry Slam! each year. It’s also exciting to watch the students transform and flourish into budding writers.
Was there an experience you had growing up that pushed you into education?
I had a wonderful academic and social upbringing and I wanted my students to have the same experience. I always had a love for books and writing. It was not uncommon for me to read an entire chapter book in one night!
I wanted to create experiences in the classroom that would help foster a love for reading and writing. There were no programs like DC SCORES in Prince George’s County, Md. when I was growing up. I would have probably had more of an appreciation for sports if I could have combined it with writing.
What impact has DC SCORES had at ATA?
DC SCORES has had a tremendous impact on our school and students. The students are excited to come to writing and soccer. Our entire school shows their “Jaguar” spirit at soccer games and during “Slam Team” performances. We also incorporate our “Slam Team” into school events such as awards assemblies and “Theme Nights.” SCORES also allows students (who otherwise would not participate in other school events/programs/clubs at ATA) to participate in programs that differ from typical ATA programs.
What’s your most memorable DC SCORES experience?
I was extremely proud of our Slam Team in 2009 when they performed their Obama poems downtown for a Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., celebration and when Dallas O. represented DC SCORES and ATA on NBC’s Channel 4 in December (Dallas also went to the National Poetry SLAM! in April). It’s always nice to see our young people perform for others and be favorably received. It shines a positive light on not only DC SCORES, but also the students of Washington, DC Public and Charter schools.
What do you like most about being a writing coach?
I love working with the poet-athletes and helping them to enhance their writing and public speaking skills. I also love helping them to foster an appreciation for volunteering and helping others in their community.
My favorite DC SCORES event is the Poetry Slam!. Ms. (Joyce) Newton and I love to ensure that the poems have a central theme so we talk with the students about current trends or events in DC and beyond to aid them in creating their poems. I love to see how the students collaborate and create.
What challenges do you face as a writing coach?
Our greatest challenge is giving all of the students individualized attention, particularly when we know that their writing really needs some fine-tuning. It’s nice to have two coaches in the room, but it would be ideal to have at least three to four coaches working in the room with the poet-athletes.
In addition to being a DC SCORES writing coach at Arts and Technology Academy, Natasha Davis is a Reading Intervention/Resource teacher and a mentor for the New Teacher Academy Program.