Every week this fall we will be visiting the Barnard Bears during poetry sessions and soccer games to document the progress of the Bears. Follow along to see how students develop their writing and soccer skills, and how the team comes together. We will bring you individual poet-athletes' stories in addition to stories about the team as a whole. Follow along our journey with the Bears on Twitter @DCSCORESInterns Instagram @DC_SCORES.
Written by Elaine Lu
When you enter Barnard Elementary School — located in Washington, DC's Petworth neighborhood — you immediately get a sense of how busy the school & its staff are and the energy present throughout the school's halls.
The DC SCORES coaches gather their materials and chat with Whitney Jackson, the after-school programs coordinator, while the kids scramble, excited, to get to DC SCORES and continue their day at school.
It's evident, even just a couple weeks into the fall DC SCORES season, that each kid has made good friends in the program. This has already translated to kids becoming very comfortable expressing themselves and working together in smaller groups.
“I really like DC SCORES. I like poetry because I like to rhyme and write poems at my house and at school,” said 5th grader Ashley R., who always comes to programming with the sweetest smile on her face and best attitude around.
Each time I visit the school, I ask students, “What are you going to do when you get home today?” or “What are you up to this weekend?”
The responses are similar:
“Probably going to just stay home.”
“Nothing. It’s going to be boring.”
It’s not hard to see, just a few weeks into programming, that each student looks forward to DC SCORES and the activities that we plan for them. And after just a few soccer and poetry sessions, kids' responses about plans for their weekends and free time at home changed:
“I was practicing for our game next week!”
“I wrote a little bit of poetry, wanna read it?”
I was amazed. Change can happen so quickly. Give a kid a fun outlet for expressing themselves, and they'll run with it.
“There is a great connection between of course poetry, learning, reading, writing, and what we do with students in classrooms," said May Saffar, the poetry coach and a teacher of 12 years. "So I see a bigger picture than what these students see, and I would like to share this vision with my colleagues.
"I would like these students to know that yes, it does go into the reading, and the reading goes into
the writing, and it goes into the content area so there are just so many wonderful connections that I see between the program and academics.”
Stay tuned for much more from Barnard during the fall DC SCORES season.