While students were enjoying their break, over 3,000 teachers were using the summer months to improve their craft. Through the National Writing Project, (NWP), teachers across the country worked face-to-face and in online communities to share and learn new ways to teach writing, engage colleagues, and enhance their leadership like this agency. Programs serving all 50 states provided classroom teachers deep and broad content and innovative approaches, anchored in improving instruction for today’s young people. From collaborative work on argument writing in the NWP College, Career, and Community Writers Program (C3WP) to youth programs aimed at sparking student interest and authentic learning experiences, teachers found themselves excited to return to classrooms to share what they learned. These NWP teacher leaders join a nationwide K-university professional network focused on high-quality, effective, and sustained professional development to improve the teaching of writing and learning in classrooms across the country.
“NWP teacher leaders work using our evidence-based programs to help their students become better writers and learners,” said Dr. Elyse Eidman-Aadahl, NWP executive director. “They also develop their own skills and capacities to work with colleagues to improve education and the profession more broadly.”
The Morehead Writing Project (MWP) led two cohorts of educators through the NWP Summer Institute experience:
MWP’s 2017 Invitational Summer Institute (ISI) Fellows, selected following an application and interview process, included Uriah Albrink of Mason County High School, Cole Allen of Montgomery County High School, Tiffany Carty of Fleming County High School, Greg Clark of Fleming County High School, Tanya Coffey of Wolfe County High School, Angie Penix of Montgomery County Schools, and Kimberly Sparkman of Morgan Central Elementary School. The ISI was led by Summer Institute Co-Director Leslie Workman (Bath County High School), Continuity Co-Director Brandis Carlson (Straub Elementary School in Mason County), and Outreach Co-Director Vickie Moriarity (Bath County Middle School).
MWP’s 2017 Online Summer Institute (OSI) cohort, an open professional development experience which can also earn graduate credit through Morehead State University, included Jamie Bond, Jessica Davis, Valerie Dixon, Whitney Embs, Janie Evans, Doreena Frasure, Sherry Greene, Cassandra Groce, Kimberly Hawkins, Kayli Johnson, Eliza Lee, Emilie McAlister, Heather Music, Samantha Statler, and Andrew Tichy. The OSI was led by Site Director Deanna Mascle (Morehead State University) and Online Summer Institute Coordinators Liz Prather (SCAPA) and Lindsay Johnson (Rowan County High School).
MWP’s innovative Online Summer Institute also received recognition from the National Writing Project when Site Director Deanna Mascle, OSI Coordinator Liz Prather, and Outreach Co-Director Vickie Moriarity were commissioned to write a monograph about this work.
Advancing the national scale-up of NWP’s College, Career, and Community Writers Program, 80 local Writing Project sites held Advanced Institutes to provide professional development in middle and high schools serving urban, rural, and other high-need communities across the country. The goal of the program is to assure more teachers can support students’ growth in reading and writing skills, with a specific emphasis on writing arguments based on nonfiction texts. In one of the largest and most rigorous studies of teacher professional development, SRI International found that this work has a positive, statistically significant impact on student writing. MWP is one of the NWP sites selected to support this C3WP work. Learn more about MWP’s C3WP work here.
Beyond these initiatives, the NWP network of local sites, teacher leaders, and programs encompass multiple disciplines — English, math, science, art, civics, history — and spaces beyond the classroom: online communities, after school programs, museums, and libraries. Through these partnerships, Writing Project sites extend the reach of their work to dedicated educators developing next-generation curriculum and learning opportunities that support all young people as writers and creators. An example of this work is MWP’s collaboration with Bath County Middle School in the aftermath of receiving a prestigious LRNG Innovators Challenge grant for Making A Future for All: Connecting Passion To Profession.
However, MWP’s summer activities were not focused exclusively on professional development. MWP offered summer writing camps on the campus of Morehead State as well as in Mason County and Lexington.
MWP kicked off its fall schedule with a Writing Retreat at Carter Caves State Resort Park on Aug. 26 and is in the midst of planning its 2017 Writing Eastern Kentucky Conference planned for Nov. 4. Three teacher-leaders will also represent MWP at the Kentucky Writing Project State Conference: Uriah Albrink, Vickie Moriarity, and Liz Prather.
In addition to continuing its C3WP and LRNG work, MWP will hold a Teen Writers Day Out and Tween Writers Day Out on the campus of Morehead State University this Fall.
Soon it will be time to apply for 2018 Invitational Summer Institute Fellowships (ISI planned for June 2018) or the 2018 Online Summer Institute (July 2018).
“I am so proud of the range and scope of the work we do here at the Morehead Writing Project,” said Site Director Deanna Mascle. “We serve the Eastern Kentucky community from elementary school through adulthood in our community writing programs and we work with both pre-service and in-service educators. While we never lose sight of our essential mission — improving the teaching of writing in Eastern Kentucky — we continually celebrate Eastern Kentucky writers.”
“We know through research that programs designed and delivered by NWP sites have a positive effect on the writing achievement of students across grade levels, schools, and contexts. Now is the time to continue to support this ongoing, high-quality professional development for teachers, principals, and school leaders” concluded Eidman-Aadahl.
Through its mission, the National Writing Project (NWP) focuses the knowledge, expertise, and leadership of our nation’s educators on sustained efforts to help youth become successful writers and learners. NWP supports a network of local Writing Project sites, located on nearly 200 university and college campuses, to provide high-quality professional development in schools, universities, libraries, museums, and after-school programs. Through its many successful programs and partnerships, the organization reaches 1.4 million Pre-K through college-age students in over 3,000 school districts annually. NWP envisions a future where every person is an accomplished writer, engaged learner, and active participant in a digital, interconnected world.