WITS Writers in the Schools

The Writers in the Schools (WITS) program provides creative writing opportunities and instruction to Lane County students. Through National Author Visits, No-School Creative Camps, Summer Creative Writing Camps, and the Young Writers Fiction Contest, students have the opportunity to learn their craft and engage with other writers.

In 2015-2016, Wordcrafters launched the WITS Writers Residency Series, placing professional writers in two classrooms at Thurston High School and in the Phoenix Program at John Serbu Youth Campus. In 2018, Wordcrafters will place writers in Kalapuya High School.

These residencies give students the opportunity to work alongside a professional writer over the course of five to eight-weeks as part of their school day. Students get to explore creative writing with a focus on the whole writing process, from composition through drafting, revising, polishing, and finally public performance and publication; creating a bridge to stronger writing and stronger academic performance across the curriculum. Studying alongside a professional writer gives students the opportunity to see what professional writing looks like up close. It also helps students to find their voice and empowers them to tell their stories.

Carter McKenzie at Thurston High School


Poet Carter McKenzie visited two classrooms at Thurston High School for an intensive study of poetry and poetic forms.




Sallie Vandagrift and MFA Students at John Serbu Youth Campus


WITS Coordinator and writer Sallie Vandagrift led three residencies at the Phoenix Program at the the John Serbu Youth Campus. She was assisted by graduate students in the Master of Fine Arts program for creative writing at University of Oregon.





WITS Residencies and programs culminate in the Annual WITS Reading hosted at Barnes & Noble Eugene.
WITS Reading WITS Annual Reading

WITS Annual Reading WITS Annual Reading

Contact our WITS Coordinator, Jorah LaFleur, to schedule a writer residency or workshop, and for more information – WITS@wordcraftersineugene.org.


WITS is made possible through support from the Herbert A Templeton Foundation, Eugene Metro Rotary Club, the Cow Creek Umpqua Indian Foundation, and Luminare Press.

Templetonlogometrorotarylogocowcreeklogo luminare_logo_sidebar