As schools implement the College, Career, and Community Writers Program (C3WP) across the country, some have experienced hopeful outcomes as expressed in state mandated testing scores. Junior high and high school teachers at the Freer Independent School District located in rural deep south Texas just 90 miles west of Corpus Christi are celebrating growth in their writing test scores. A cohort of 7th graders who are in their second year of C3WP saw a 12% jump in their writing scores from when they were last tested as 4th graders. Freer believes that C3WP has had a significant influence on these scores. “We’ve seen [teacher] confidence increase in their ability to teach writing,” says assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, Dr. Frances A. M. Perez, “Their capacity to continue teaching has also increased. I remember in my teaching coursework no one taught me to teach how to write. With this program, I see the teachers really teaching the writing.”
While improved state test scores are impressive, equally significant is the overall integration of C3WP into the district’s overall literacy plan. Alice Berecka, a site leader for the Coastal Bend Writing Project (CBWP), has been diligently working with C3WP and Freer Junior High School teachers for three years now. “It hasn’t been a revolving door,” says Dr. Perez about the consistency of CBWP’s work. Along with the educators at Freer Middle School, Alice in particular has been instrumental in developing the program through professional development and one-to-one coaching which has helped teachers methodically integrate C3WP as a routine for the school. In fact, Freer Junior High School has adopted C3WP as the sole program for their reading enrichment class. “I love how the teachers have really taken ownership of the program this year,” says Alice. “They are using the website, adapting materials to their own classrooms and students, adding their own materials, and figuring out ways to make the skills part of their daily curriculum.”
The College, Career, and Community Writers Program (C3WP) from the National Writing Project is an intensive professional development program that provides teachers with instructional resources and formative assessment tools for the teaching of evidence-based argument writing. Teachers in C3WP typically participate in 45 hours of professional development per year for two years, experiencing instructional materials of the highest quality, learning to analyze student work carefully to determine instructional next steps, and leading their students towards active participation in their communities through argument writing.