San Mateo County’s vision is that “Every student in San Mateo County Schools receives an engaging, impactful arts education delivered by high-quality instructors, creating equity and access for all.” Partnering with the San Mateo County Office of Education, non-profit arts & culture organizations, arts providers, and teaching artists, our collective goal is to ensure diverse, equitable, and inclusive opportunities for students to explore creativity and learn about their own rich historical narrative.

“Arts education increases literacy, advances math achievement, engages students in school, and motivates them to learn. The arts prepare students for taking their place in the workforce by equipping them with creative skills, problem-solving abilities, and the capacity to collaborate and communicate effectively. The arts prepare students for life itself by cultivating perseverance, facilitating cross-cultural understanding, and building community engagement. But most important, the arts resonate with children, providing traction with students who might not otherwise engage, tapping the uniqueness and dignity of each child, and helping children develop the sense of self-worth essential for other learning to take root.” Arts Education Partnership, Preparing Students for the Next America.


The OAC supports the following programs in partnership with the Office of Education:

Poetry Out Loud 2022

Fall is in the air which means that it’s officially Poetry Out Loud season! We hope that educators and youth organization leaders will seize the opportunity to be part of this inspiring program for teens to build public speaking skills and self-confidence, while learning about literary history and contemporary life through poetry.

“Poetry Out Loud inspires in high school students the confidence to make themselves heard, using one of the most powerful tools at their disposal—poetry. It encourages teens to learn about poetry through memorization, performance, and competition.

To make the process fun and easy for teachers and youth leaders digital resources are available:

Although the program is meant to have competitions by class and by school, to encourage diversity, equity, and inclusion, teachers may also mentor individual students and recommend them to the county competition. School/organizational champions will be mentored by local Poet Laureates and poetry teachers preparing them to effectively compete at the county, state and national levels if selected.

Poetry Out Loud is a national arts education program in partnership with the NEA, the Poetry Foundation, and each state’s arts agency.

Important dates:

  • December 3, 2021 – Confirm participation in the San Mateo County competition to Mara Grimes
  • February 8, 2022 – San Mateo County Finals held virtually
  • March 6 – 7, 2022 – State Finals Competition in Sacramento
  • April 25 - 27, 2022 – Poetry Out Loud National Finals in Washington, DC


Contact Mara Grimes, OAC Admin-Manager

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