Jose Urias, Lynwood's principal, credits [Alan Sitomer] with helping to improve academic performance at the school. He said 99% of Sitomer's students pass the English portion of the California high school exit exam. "He exemplifies what a good teacher is," Urias said. "It's just a whole new perspective that he's able to share with the kids and with all of us."
"It's demystifying the world of poetry for teenagers," said Sitomer, known as "Mr. Alan" to students. "Making connections. Keeping it relevant."
Sitomer related an example at a recent book signing for his new novel at the Grove shopping center. It was not your typical literary event. A DJ spun classic hip-hop tracks -- the Fat Boys, Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, Public Enemy. A group of young poets, Project Blowed, put on a poetry slam. And Sitomer told a story that brought gasps from the audience of a few dozen people.