Saturday, January 31, 2015

EMWP Partners with Litchfield Elementary on Major Federal Grant

Sarah Lorenz, Director of Professional Development

The Eastern Michigan Writing Project was honored to be selected as the primary external service provider for Litchfield Elementary School’s School Improvement Grant in 2014-15. School Improvement Grants (SIG) are a major initiative of the U.S. Department of Education, and they provide priority schools with the opportunity to submit competitive grant applications for funding to assist their school turnaround efforts. Litchfield is a rural school district in Hillsdale County, about an hour and a half from Ypsilanti. They were elated to receive a 1.3 million dollar SIG this year, which will fund technology improvements, coaching, student interventions, and professional development.

EMWP’s role is to provide intensive professional development and family literacy programs for Litchfield. We have already begun with a concentrated program focused on guided reading for K-5, with a goal of 60 days of embedded professional development by July. Teachers have received multiple days of training in guided reading, while their students were engaged in an enrichment program taught by skilled NWP teacher-consultants. Teachers and school leaders were also welcomed for observation visits arranged by EMWP in another school with a long-term commitment to guided reading. Demonstration lessons and classroom coaching are being provided by EMWP TCs and EMU faculty. Teachers and students have been delighted to receive new leveled libraries to support the guided reading work. Programming slated for spring, summer, and next fall includes family literacy workshops, digital literacy, writing camps, and writing instruction. SIG schools are eligible to apply for a second and third year of funding, so EMWP is working with Litchfield to strategize for quick gains in reading proficiency as well as a long-term master plan that will impact reading, writing, science, and social studies. We will be calling on the EMWP network of teacher-consultants to further support this work in the coming months.

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