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.


SAYS in Your School

SAYS services support the improvement of schools through teacher professional development, classroom instruction, and after-school programming. At the core of our model is a commitment to equity—SAYS utilizes evidence-based best practices to narrow the achievement gap. 

Sacramento Youth Poet Laureate

The Sacramento Area Youth Speaks (SAYS) Youth Poet Laureate Program will provide a platform that promotes youth voice, civic engagement, political literacy and community building. Through this endeavor, we aim to push the literary arts and poetry aesthetic to include young people's voices, ideas, beliefs and their values that are significantly under-represented and marginalized. 

SAYS Summer Program

The SAYS Scholar Academy aims to equip college bound students already active in the SAYS network with the tools, preparation, and knowledge necessary for them to begin envisioning their own educational journey after high school. The purpose of the academy is to cultivate Warrior Scholars capable of determining, defining, and creating their own path in higher education and breaking institutional barriers every step of the way.


Research Articles written by Dr. Vajra M. Watson

The Black Sonrise - download the pdf

Learning to Liberate: Available at Amazon

Censoring Freedom - download the pdf