SAYS began in January of 2009 as a collaborative to encourage youth voice into schools in the Sacramento Capital region. Our initial partners included Student Affairs and the School of Education at UC Davis, Youth Speaks, Inc., the Twin Rivers Unified School District, the Sacramento City Unified School District, the Sacramento Office of Youth Development, the Sacramento County Office of Education, and the Sierra Health Foundation. This consortium represented a unique cross-section of organizations and stakeholders that shared a commitment to improving the way young people are engaged in their education.
SAYS Theory of Change
SAYS utilizes an innovative partnership model between teachers, after-school providers, and trained poet-mentor educators to facilitate student-centered learning. The theory underlying this approach is that when students are encouraged to write from their personal experience their literary practice and products can be used as a bridge to facilitate academic and more traditional formal writing styles and concepts. There is widespread evidence of disengagement and alienation among many low-achieving students in Sacramento Area schools. Data obtained from several of the schools where SAYS has been implemented shows that when students become more confident and comfortable with this form of writing their academic performance in writing and other subject areas improves significantly.