Berkeley, CA, October 5, 2015 — The National Writing Project (NWP) is one of 12 recipients of new grant funding through the U.S. Department of Education's Supporting Effective Educator Development (SEED) program. With $5.5M awarded for the first year of a three-year program, this investment in NWP's College-Ready Writers Program: Expanding the Reach of Effective Teacher-Leaders to Support All Students will build on the infrastructure of the NWP network to scale professional development focused on college- and career-ready standards and to improve teacher practice in the teaching of source-based argument writing. NWP will increase the number of effective teacher-leaders prepared to lead this work and will support the implementation of NWP's College-Ready Writers Program (CRWP) in high-need middle and high schools across the country. This work builds on NWP's CRWP already underway in 44 rural districts in 10 states.
"This support from the U.S. Department of Education has come at a critical time for NWP teacher-leaders," exclaimed Elyse Eidman-Aadahl, NWP executive director. "Now more than ever, it is vital that we expand professional support and access to the innovation, learning, and creativity of teachers—with our proven approach—so that students can be college and career ready to meet the demands of our modern society."
The SEED grant will allow NWP to reach additional students, teachers, districts, and states through face-to-face and online professional learning opportunities. The program aims to help students become skilled at writing arguments from non-fiction sources. Through sustained, high-quality professional development, teachers gain the knowledge and practices needed to teach source-based argument writing in middle and high schools.
"The shift I have made in my own teaching..." notes Casey Olsen, a Montana Writing Project teacher-leader and a teacher at Columbus High School in Columbus, MT, "has really allowed me to take students to deeper, more complex arguments."
"We know through research that professional development programs designed and delivered by NWP sites have a positive effect on the writing achievement of students across grade levels, schools, and contexts. With these additional resources, Writing Project sites will be able to collaborate and support the learning of thousands of talented teachers over the next three years," concluded Eidman-Aadahl.