National Writing Project

The Development of Writing-Intensive School Environments over Time

By: Avary Carhill, Anne Campos, Nancy Mintz, Marcie Wolfe
Date: November 2, 2011

Summary: This report, based on the work of the New York City Writing Project, suggests that a consistent focus on literacy development across content areas (curricular cohesiveness) cannot be achieved in the absence of a mature professional community. Furthermore, a mature professional community will continue to benefit from professional development aimed at sustaining and enhancing an environment with a high degree of writing intensity, which ultimately affects both teacher practice and student learning outcomes.

 

Excerpt from Report

The noncomparative case studies of Northside High School and Eastriver Secondary School illustrate how differences in school culture and structure shaped the NYCWP's work, ultimately leading to differing degrees of success in developing a high degree of opportunity for students to engage in learning through varied and meaningful forms of writing throughout their school day. Considered together, the case studies suggest that a focus on literacy across the content areas (curricular cohesiveness) is not achieved in the absence of a mature professional community or independent from high writing intensity in a school. In fact, when they coexist, these three mutually-reinforcing elements contribute to the effectiveness of WISE-focused professional development.

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