MISSION & HISTORY

Mission

To engage children in the pleasure and power of reading and writing.

Vision

WITS revolutionizes the way reading and writing are taught, nurturing the growth of the imagination and awakening students to the adventures of language.

Values

  • Every child deserves a holistic education that encourages critical thinking, creativity, and personal responsibility.
  • Writing is an art that must be practiced and developed over time.
  • Low-income students can thrive and grow through high-quality art education programs.
  • The relationship between the WITS writer and the classroom teacher is a partnership.
  • WITS supports classroom teachers as they adopt new approaches to teaching creative writing.
  • WITS writers reflect Houston’s diversity to meet the needs of the community.
  • Everyone has a personal story to tell. WITS provides opportunities for storytelling and the skills needed to do it well.

Strategic Directions

WITS is in the second year of a three-year strategic plan, developed with a grant from the City of Houston through the Houston Arts Alliance in partnership with more than 100 stakeholders. Under this plan, WITS is guided by the following strategic directions.

  • Inspire Children through Arts Education
  • Revolutionize How Writing is Taught
  • Advocate for Creativity in Education for Every Child
  • Strengthen the WITS Community
  • Share the Joy of Stories

A 30-year History

Founded in 1983, WITS employs professional writers who teach creative writing to children and teachers in Houston. The WITS program was started by Phillip Lopate of the University of Houston, and Marv Hoffman, former director of Teachers and Writers Collaborative in New York City. Our founders saw an opportunity to capitalize on the rich pool of writing talent in the University of Houston’s Creative Writing Program – one of the best in the country – and in the diverse Houston community, and to provide a valuable service to area schools. Today, the organization is led by Executive Director and Writer Robin Reagler, Ph.D. and Board President and former WITS student Michael Pipkin. In 30 years, WITS teaching has become proven model for integrating arts and education in meaningful ways that impact the lives of children.