National Writing Project Teacher Leaders Head Back to School

Summer collaboration augments year-round high-quality professional learning for NWP teachers

Berkeley, CA, August 30, 2018"Write.Learn.Lead." is the backbone of the National Writing Project (NWP) network's signature programs for teachers and young people alike. During summer break, more than 3,000 teachers worked face-to-face and in online communities to share and learn new ways to teach writing, engage colleagues, and enhance their leadership. Programs served all 50 states and included a wide range of content and approaches, anchored in improving writing and learning 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, Writing Project sites offered opportunities to fit local needs. NWP teacher leaders now 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 expand their own skills and knowledge to benefit their students," said Dr. Elyse Eidman-Aadahl, NWP executive director, "but an even larger impact happens when they share that knowledge with their colleagues. Through their efforts, local Writing Project sites serve as hubs for a range of professional development activities and youth opportunities throughout the year."

Advancing the national scale-up of NWP's College, Career, and Community Writers Program, over 40 local Writing Project sites held institutes and launched work 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.

Through NWP's Writing Our Future: American Creed initiative, teachers, librarians, and youth mentors continue to engage young people as they respond to the PBS film, American Creed with writing, media, and art. Using an online youth publishing platform, NWP's Writing Our Future projects are designed by educators for educators and the young people they work with and intended for use in schools, libraries, and other educational settings. The projects support young people's writing and civic participation by providing a safe and supportive environment for youth writing, media creation, sharing, and publishing.

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.

"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.


August 30, 2018

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National Writing Project