Poetry News

New Los Angeles School to Be Named for Sandra Cisneros

By Harriet Staff

"This fall, elementary and middle school students will walk through the doors of the brand new Sandra Cisneros Learning Academy in Echo Park," writes the Los Angeles Times. That's right, they're naming a school after the acclaimed poet--sounds like a generative and lovely idea to us! It seems parents and administrators involved in the LA school district (the school will be near Sunset and Alvarado in Echo Park) put forward her name for the new K-8 academy, which is slated to open in September; it was originally to be called the Central Region Elementary School No. 14. Good move!

Other notables also have been given naming honors: There are schools named for boxer Oscar de la Hoya, Beethoven, Florence Nightingale, Jackie Robinson, John A. Sutter of the Gold Rrush era Sutter's Mill, lawyer Johnnie Cochran, flier Orville Wright and activists César Chávez and Rosa Parks.

Although LAUSD officials were unable to provide a list of schools named after authors, out of more than 200 in the district, we found five. There is Washington Irving Middle School -- Irving wrote "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" and "Rip Van Winkle." There are middle schools named for Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Robert Frost and transcendentalist essayist Ralph Waldo Emerson. An elementary school is named for children's book author and illustrator Maurice "Where the Wild Things Are" Sendak. And some students attend Robert Louis Stevenson Middle School, named for the author of "Treasure Island" and, um, "Kidnapped."

Cisneros is the author of "Woman Hollering Creek and Other Stories" and "The House on Mango Street." Her family migrated from Mexico to Chicago, where she was born in 1954. Cisneros was awarded a MacArthur "Genius" Fellowship in 1995. She lives in Texas and is involved in two foundations that foster creative writing.

Originally Published: June 29th, 2011