The tag cloud in my right-hand sidebar basically sums it up: NWP (National Writing Project) is central to my professional life.
In my 19 years in public education, the professional development I have received through the NWP is the single most important resource in my teaching toolkit. In case you are not familiar with the National Writing, it is an organization that supports teachers in sharing best practices around what works best to teach students writing skills that cross all academic content areas.
With great pride, I include at the top of my resume that I am a Writing Project Teacher Consultant (TC), which means I participated in a Summer Institute at a local writing project: the Area 3 Writing Project. Ask any TC and he/she will tell you how empowering it is as an educator to be part of the NWP community. We have the huge advantage of being able to draw on the support and research-based professional development needed to engage our students in writing across the curriculum and, as a result, push them to higher literacy levels.
In my own district and in my current position as a technology integration specialist, I have witnessed first-hand the impact of the NWP across our K-12 classrooms. Teachers who have participated in our local Area 3 Writing Project Summer Institutes, Saturday seminars, and grant-funded projects have a vision for taking district-adopted, scripted literacy programs and injecting them with innovative strategies – including new technologies – and crafting incredible, inspiring examples of best practices.
NWP teachers empower their students as writers and as 21st century citizens. Check out the amazing collection of lessons and resources posted to the Digital Is site, for instance, for a glimpse into the depth and breadth of this dynamic community.
This weekend, in response to Chad Sansing’s invitation, I join hundreds of colleagues in blogging and tweeting in support of the National Writing Project. This is why:
On March 2nd, 2001, President Obama signed a spending bill to keep the federal government operating during budget season. The bill cut federal funding to the NWP as part of a Congressional effort to eliminate earmarks – federal funds legislated to support certain programs like the NWP. While pork-barrel projects are, perhaps, easy political targets for elected officials looking to make names for themselves as no-nonsense fiscal conservatives, the NWP is not a pork-barrel project and it makes no sense to eliminate funding to the NWP, a program with a proven track record in raising student achievement that provides teachers and students with authentic opportunities for communication, inquiry, and problem-solving – opportunities to practice those deservedly ballyhooed skills our students need to be college-, community-, and life-ready.”
I hope you will join us in getting to word out to our elected officials to reintroduce federal funding for the NWP. For our teachers, for our students, for our communities – the National Writing Project should be saved.
Oh, almost forgot….To maximize our efforts, here are some guidelines from Chad:
“Please support the NWP by sharing your experiences with the project, its institutes, its teacher consultants, and the resources it freely provides for all teachers. As you post, send the links to Chad via Twitter (@chadsansing, by @ or DM), or email your link to him. He will collect and publish the links at his blog: http://coopcatalyst.wordpress.com/. If you tweet about NWP, please include @EdPressSec, @Ed_Outreach, @nwpsiteleaders, and @whitehouse in your tweet. Let’s use the hashtag #blog4NWP. If you post before or after this weekend’s window, please let me know and/or use the hashtag to make sure I pick up your article for inclusion on the #blog4NWP archive post. Please also consider sending your writing as an email to your local and state representatives in federal government.”