Friday, September 14, 2012

SEEDs of Promise

Bill Tucker, Director

The Eastern Michigan Writing Project received three separate grant allocations in May and June from the National Writing Project under a Title II program called "Supporting Effective Educators Development" (SEED). Each allocation was worth $20,000, much of it to work in so-called "high-need" schools in the local area.
The "Teacher Leadership Development" grant provided $20,000 to support teachers in new leadership roles in professional development, in teacher research, and in instructional coaching. This funding partially replaced the annual grant, which the National Writing Project lost to federal budget cuts in 2011.

A second grant supported a national research study called "Evaluating the Impact of Professional Development to Meet Challenging Writing Standards in High-Need Elementary Schools." Only fifteen Writing Project sites were awarded these grants to work in twenty elementary schools spread across the country. The Eastern Michigan Writing Project was awarded $20,000 to provide 45 hours of professional development in the teaching of writing to teachers of grades, 3, 4 and 5 in Central Academy, Ann Arbor. Central Academy is a charter school with a large population of Arabic students located at 2455 S. Industrial Hwy, Ann Arbor. Teacher consultants Rosanne Stark and Diane Vanston are leading much of professional development in this project, with “thinking partners” Michelle Vanston, Mary Admiraal, and Chelly Eifert.

The third grant supports "Professional Development in High-Need Schools" without the evaluation component required in the second grant. The EMWP received $20,000 to offer 30 hours of professional development at Ann Arbor Tech, an alternative high school on Packard Road in Ann Arbor. Teacher consultants Val Tomich, Karen Chichester and Dawn Izzi are supporting this project. All three have significant teaching experience in alternative education.

Although the EMWP has offered professional development in the Teaching of writing for nearly two decades, this will be the first year that work can be sustained for a full year in one school with grant funding. The work will be supervised by Sarah Lorenz, Professional Development Coordinator and Bill Tucker. This is an extraordinary opportunity to make a difference in schools attended by students with economic and cultural disadvantages.
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