I often find myself at a loss for words when it comes to describing something I care deeply about. I am therefore pick-pocketing my way through the growing archive of National Writing Project bloggers who are sharing their thoughts on the impact and importance of a professional learning community that profoundly benefits teachers and, in turn, their students. My pockets are now lined with gems I wish I had said because they nail down exactly what the NWP experience has meant to me and why we must fight for its continued funding. I’d like to share a few of these stolen/borrowed thoughts:
- From the Mississippi Writing Project’s Ellen Shelton – “The National Writing Project bridges that gap between what was not in our teacher education classes and what our students demand from us as we prepare them for their worlds.”
- From the National Writing Project’s Paul Oh – “We are each of us building upon the thoughts and questions and practices of others in order to form a collective vision of the future that is greater than what would otherwise be possible if we were toiling away in our own little silos.
- From the Virginia Writing Project’s Paula White – “Becoming a teacher is a lifelong endeavor to connect… to communicate… to encourage… to support… to challenge set ways of thinking… to scaffold learners to become smarter, more efficient and effective at learning in every way they can–while you, yourself, are doing the same.”
- From the Northern Virginia Writing Project’s Mary Tedrow – “In fact, I cannot think of a single move I make in the classroom that is not the end result of the close examination, sharing, and planning of the teaching consultants and fellows of the National Writing Project.”
- From the NWP at Rutger’s Kristen Turner – “My NWP community has grown over the last decade from local, like-minded educators into a national network of teachers and researchers who I can call on to help me think hard about issues of literacy.”
- From the Red Cedar Writing Project’s Amanda Cornwell – “Each time, I think that I’ve “done” the writing project, there is some new program or initiative that offers a different challenge or task, with the same basic goal – to improve education for our students through teachers teaching teachers.”
- From the Oakland Writing Project’s Karen Allmen – “But the thing about Writing Project is that it has a way of affirming the fact that the best kind of professional development is teachers learning from other teachers.”
- From the New Hampshire Writing Project’s Meg Peterson – “Anyone who has been associated with the writing project will tell you that it works. I would go so far as to say that it works miracles. Honestly.”
- From the Ozark Writing Project’s Keri Franklin – “Our work is proven. Administrators and legislators want data–cold, hard facts. We have the cold, hard facts that teachers who participate in National Writing Project professional development have higher test scores than teachers who have not participated in NWP. NWP teachers stay in the profession. NWP is an improvement model that develops teacher leaders. More important to people like me, we have stories. We know personally, emphatically, that the National Writing Project changed our lives.”
- From Ira Socol – “The National Writing Project is much larger, and much more effective, than its title suggests. And in any given year its impact is 100 times, 1,000 times the positive effect on children of all Arne Duncan’s highly funded, political-donor connected initiatives in Race-to-the-Top and I3 grants combined.”
- From North Star of Texas Texas’ Writing Project’s Donalyn Miller (the Book Whisperer) – “It seems counterintuitive to me that policy pundits and politicians rant about improving teacher quality, while cutting programs like the National Writing Project, which is proven to do just that.”
- From the Chippewa River Writing Project’s Troy Hicks – “If Congress wants a liberal arts education to have value, putting universities in partnerships with local schools and community agencies, then its members should vote to keep the NWP.”
Having emptied my pockets of my first round of word snatching, I’m heading back into Chad Sansing’s the Cooperative Catalyst blog to find more gems to better explain why so much rides on the survival of the National Writing Project.