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National Writing Project funds new Arkansas Delta Writing Project site at ASU

Dec. 10, 2008 -- Arkansas State University has been approved for the funding of a new National Writing Project site, the Arkansas Delta Writing Project at Arkansas State University. Funding for ASU’s site begins in January, 2009, and the site will conduct its first Summer Writing Institute for Teachers in the summer of 2009. Housed inCo-director LaToshia Woods, left, and Dr. Dixie Keyes, right, will lead the Arkansas Delta Writing Project site at Arkansas State University. ASU’s Department of Teacher Education, the new site will be led by director Dr. Dixie Keyes and co-director LaToshia Woods, both ASU faculty members and former teachers who have taught writing or provided professional development in writing. Keyes wrote the grant, which will provide $30,000 of funding for 20 Northeast Arkansas teachers to attend the 2009 summer writing institute and to receive graduate credit and distinguished professional development in writing pedagogy.

The National Writing Project (NPW) is a network of local sites located in universities across 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Each site conducts an annual summer institute and sponsors professional development workshops during the school year. Sites also design programs that address local issues and the particular needs of schools, teachers, and students in their communities. The NWP adds new sites each year, with the goal of placing a writing project site within reach of every teacher in America to help all students become successful writers and learners.

The goals of the Arkansas Delta Writing Project site focus on improving student writing by developing teachers as writers and as consultants on writing. This focus leads to the celebration and enhancement of the professional role of successful classroom teachers. It also provides schools with an empowering, research-based professional development model embedded in their communities. Selected participants for the 2009 Summer Writing Institute for Teachers will gather together for four weeks on the Arkansas State University campus to engage in writing experiences, demonstration lessons, and analyses of research about writing and the practices of those who teach writing.

Keyes encourages kindergarten through 12th grade teachers from all content areas in northeast Arkansas, as well as community college instructors, to apply for a spot in the summer writing institute. The summer writing institute will be held from Monday, June 8- Thursday, July 2, 2009. If selected, benefits for participants include graduate course credit in the Department of Teacher Education (upon successful enrollment in the Graduate School at ASU); $300 stipend (which can be used toward a second graduate course); membership to the National Writing Project network with noted affiliation of being a NWP Teacher Consultant on Writing; and invaluable time spent with a diverse group of educators across Northeast Arkansas and the Delta region

Keyes commented, “The summer writing institute requires a lot of commitment from teachers because they will be devoting four weeks, seven hours a day to this, but they will leave with a solid plan and multiple pathways to successfully build strong writers in their classrooms.” Beyond that, Keyes noted that school districts can then hire the new NWP teacher consultants to provide professional development in writing to colleagues in their localities. “Part of the NWP grant provides for continuity of services, so the public will see ASU hosting various writing events, and we will provide follow-up visits with the NWP teacher consultants to ensure support.” Posters and informational brochures will be disseminated to districts and community colleges in January. Teachers can contact Dr. Keyes at (870) 680-8065 for information about how to apply for the summer writing institute for teachers.              



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