One of the many academic endeavors supported each year by the PTA is the annual 7th grade ELA poetry residency in February and the Renfroe Poetry Slam in April. Each year the PTA provides funds to bring in a poet-in-residence for one week of the 3-week poetry unit so that students have the opportunity of working with a spoken word professional. PTA funds also provide coaching for any students 6th-8th grade who would like to perform in the Poetry Slam held each April. This coaching helps students refine their writing, hone in on word choices that amplify the intent of the poem in a spoken word performance, and learn how to overcome stage fright that will sometimes inhibit a student from performing in front of an audience.  

In this very unusual year of extended digital learning, the PTA is happy to be joined by the Decatur Education Foundation in supporting these two events. DEF funds from the Zara Yee Hawthorne Memorial Fund (Zara’s Fund) have expanded the residency to three weeks and have funded additional artists, which allows each ELA teacher to partner with a poet-in-residence.  

The substance of this work is happening through a partnership between Renfroe teachers and Paint Love, a local arts non-profit that provides extraordinary arts programming to students who may have experienced a myriad of difficult life experiences – a circumstance that certainly holds true for ALL of our students this year. All teaching artists that work with Paint Love, including those in residence at RMS, are trained in a trauma-informed care model that helps students create a supportive community with one another while celebrating their individual achievements in the work they do in class.  


Any Renfroe student can sign up to participate in the annual Renfroe Stacey Daniel Poetry Slam that will take place as a digital event on April 21st. Interested students should contact Dr. Dawn Bolton, the faculty sponsor and coordinator for the Poetry Slam, at dbolton@csdecatur.net.