Berkeley, CA, August 17, 2017 — 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. 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."
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.
Beyond this initiative, 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.