On March 1st the Kalamazoo Public School Alternative Learning Program (ALP) showed off their poetry skills at Literacy Night. The night revolved around the book “The Westing Game” by Ellen Raskin. The atmosphere was a night of mystery and poetry. Different locations in the book were the inspiration for different rooms in the school, and the ALP students’ original poetry was framed and displayed all around the school. The night ended with a poetry slam featuring the students themselves.
The poetry slam was the highlight of the night. The excitement of the students was everywhere. The slam began with the beautiful song “Lift Every Voice And Sing” often called the National Black Anthem sang by Kquashia Williams and Aviance Holmes. The students expressed their feelings in their poems, and what life is like for them.
The Alternative Learning Program was initially just a behavior based program, but according to principal Vincent Hodge it’s become much more.
“This is a program for kids who haven’t reached their full potential and we just pull it out of them,” said Dr. Hodge.
In the last few years the literacy tests of the students in ALP have risen drastically using the Read 180 program and the System 44 reading program. Superintendent Dr. Rice expressed his delight with the program
“ I think anytime you see young people reading its exciting, but particularly young people who have slipped behind, who have struggled, or who have faced challenges and who are beginning to rise from those challenges. I think it’s a beautiful thing to watch and become a part of,” said Dr. Rice.