Wednesday, January 29, 2014

State of the Eastern Michigan Writing Project

Bill Tucker, Director

As I post positions and write a new Teacher Leadership grant, I decided to join the President with a look at the road ahead.
Posting positions is an annual ritual, but the funding of them becomes more creative as the years go by. This year the National Writing Project has dangled another Teacher Leadership grant to keep our site humming, but the $20,000 is for two years, so that will not keep all the lights on. We will fund about half of the positions attached from that source, but we are also appealing to the College of Arts and Sciences and drawing on a small grant from the Pitney Bowes Foundation to pursue new initiatives. Please note your applications for the posted positions are due February 15.

Some of the new initiatives include improving our understanding of the writing of students classified with special needs and how to assist them, learning how to make our professional voices public and potent, and designing media to guide one-to-one teaching of writing.

Behind the scenes our professional development program is graduating to longer contracts and relationships with schools, especially in the Down River area. Sarah Lorenz has recruited interest in writing across the curriculum in a number of districts in Wayne and Monroe counties, so we are on the road every week. Professional Development is now a self-supporting program. In fact it is our primary source of revenue.

In this issue you will note Literacy Coaching institutes, Advanced in April and Basic in August. Julia Keider (TC ’00) has coordinated with literacy coaches within our network and at EMU to plan and present these institutes, and they offer another model for embedded professional development.

The new reality of the Writing Project is that we can no longer offer our programs for free (although “Literacy for Life” comes pretty close). Even the Summer Institute will now have credit and noncredit charges, making it a self-funding program. We rely on you to spread the word that what we offer is at least worth what we charge. You have always been our best publicists, and we need your voice more than ever.

Here’s to shameless self-promotion and an early spring!

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