The California Arts Council has awarded Charter University Prep’s (CUPrep) Kate Wells the Teacher Hero Award of 2016, for her work with the Poetry Out Loud program. For 11 years, the Poetry Out Loud competition has encouraged the nation's youth to learn about poetry through memorization and recitation. This program helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about their literary heritage. Students compete at the local level and can advance to state and national levels. The Hero Award was established to acknowledge the remarkable work done in the classroom by thousands of teachers, coaches, teaching artists, and others who bring this program to life. This year, more than 50,000 students in 35 California counties participated in the competition.
Mrs. Wells teaches five English classes across three different grades, where she has made Poetry Out Loud a required component of the curriculum in every class. This allows her students to benefit from the program and succeed in the competitions. CUPrep students often appear in the El Dorado County finals, and some have finished as high as 2nd place statewide.
The El Dorado Arts Council nominated Mrs. Wells because of her dedication to her students and the Poetry Out Loud program. In the nomination letter, Poetry Out Loud Coordinator Moira Magneson noted that, “Clearly Kate is a catalyst for and friend of poetry in El Dorado County, absolutely fulfilling Poetry Out Loud’s mission of reviving poetry as a national literary art. In uplifting language, poetry and young people, she has inspired a generation of individuals who will go out in the world fearless in their love of poetry and the arts!”
Mike Harris, CUPrep’s Principal, noted, “Kate is a hero precisely because she doesn't see her students as fitting into a normal sentence. Each one is a thought, a feeling, and an infinitely unique individual. Kate demonstrates courage to give of herself so that others might be more.”
Charter University Prep is located at the Charles Brown Educational Center in El Dorado. CUPrep focuses on addressing complex ideas and critical thinking, which are necessary for success at the University level. Poetry Out Loud supports the school’s goals of systematically strengthening students’ abilities to be rational, independently minded citizens who communicate effectively and contribute meaningfully to their communities.
For information about Charter University Prep, visit their website at cuprep.edcoe.org.