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.

San Mateo County’s Poetry Out Loud 2023

“No matter who you are, where you come from, or what your story is, there is some poem out there you can connect with.”

Poetry Out Loud (POL) gives 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.

We invite educators, youth organization leaders, and high school students to be part of San Mateo County’s Poetry Out Loud 2023 Program. Teens build public speaking skills and self-confidence, while learning about literary history and contemporary life through poetry.

To make the process fun and easy for teachers and youth leaders who want to include POL in their curriculum or programming, 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 16, 2022Confirm participation in the San Mateo County competition
  • January 2023 – Zoom mentoring sessions for teens
  • February 7, 2023 – San Mateo County Finals held virtually
  • March 19 - 20, 2023 – State Finals Competition in-person in Sacramento
  • May 8 - 10, 2023 – Poetry Out Loud National Finals in-person in Washington, DC


Mara Grimes
OAC Admin-Manager