Low-Stakes Creative Writing in a High-Stakes School: Upper Story

Room 2104B, Kansas City Convention Center, Street Level
Thursday, February 8, 2024
12:10 pm to 1:25 pm


Explore one Kansas City, Missouri independent high school’s dedicated week of creative writing where in all English classes, across all grade levels, students engage in professional and peer-led workshops, craft talks and readings, and have time and space to write—without a grade attached. Low-stakes creative writing experiences, especially in post-COVID years, are a way to develop social-emotional bonds, imagination, and writing skills. Learn about how to design and implement a program like this at any level.

Outline & Supplemental Documents

Event Outline: AWP_Outline_for_Panel_Low_Stakes_Creative_Writing_in_a_High_Stakes_School_Upper_Story.pdf



Piper Abernathy is the English Department Chair at Pembroke Hill, a KCMO independent school. Abernathy has an MEd in literacy studies and an MFA in poetry from UMKC. Her poems have been published in Mid-American Review, Pleiades, and elsewhere. She has presented for the International Reading Association.

Ben Christian is in his twenty-fourth year of teaching secondary English at Pembroke Hill. In that time, he has witnessed many educational trends, fads, and buzzwords. The constant, however, is students' need to find theirselves in writing. Christian's project is to create a consistent place for that to happen.

Nathan Gehoski holds a PhD in English from the University of Georgia, an MA in creative writing from Eastern Michigan University, and a BS in microbiology from the University of Michigan. An eclectic writer and educator, he pursues an experimental approach to trauma and its affect.

Luisa Muradyan is originally from Odesa, Ukraine and holds a PhD in poetry from the University of Houston. She won the 2017 Prairie Schooner Book Prize and is the author of American Radiance. She is a member of the Cheburashka Collective and additional work can be found at Best American Poetry.

Jim Young has an MA in Greek and Classicals from the University of Kansas and currently teaches ninth and twelfth grade English at Pembroke Hill, an independent school in Kansas City, Missouri. His teaching interests include comics, graphic literature, and literature by and about neurodivergent authors.


February 7–10, 2024
Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas City Convention Center