National Writing Project

Rural Sites Network Events

2009 Rural Sites Network Conference

Open Spaces and Small Cities: The Landscape of Rural Education

March 13–14, 2009

Radisson Hotel Kalamazoo
Kalamazoo, Michigan
Host site: Third Coast Writing Project

The Third Coast Writing Project at Western Michigan University is proud to host the 2009 Rural Sites Network Conference. Join us in Kalamazoo, Michigan, one of the Midwest's most beautiful and vibrant small cities, along with rural educators from across the country as we explore the guiding ideas about reading, writing, and thinking in today's rural schools.

Register Now!

The registration deadline is February 18, 2009. You can register at the Western Michigan University website . You can also download the registration form (PDF), complete it, and either mail it, fax it, or phone it in to

Western Michigan University
National Writing Project/
Rural Sites Network Registration
1276 Ellsworth Hall
Kalamazoo, MI 49008
Phone: (269) 387-4174
Fax: (269) 387-4189

Saturday Keynote Speaker

Karen Vocke teaches language, literacy, and pedagogy in the English Education program at Western Michigan University. Her recent book, Where Do I Go from Here?: Meeting the Unique Educational Needs of Migrant Students is a practical guide that helps teachers, families, and advocates in work with migrant children.

For more, read a profile of Karen Vocke and a review of Where Do I Go from Here?

Conference Highlights

Friday Events:

  • New-Teacher Initiative Pre-conference Session
  • Migrant Education in Rural Schools (1:00–4:00 p.m.): Join keynote speaker Karen Vocke and other rural teachers to focus on key issues as they relate to ELL/migrant families and students in Michigan and beyond.
  • Digital Storytelling Mini-institute (1:00–4:00 p.m.): The Third Coast Writing Project presents a miniversion of its nationally prominent digital storytelling program. Learn technologies, stories, and teaching ideas to take back to your own sites.
  • Washington Writers' Academy (1:00–4:00 p.m.): Come visit one of the nation's only magnet elementary schools in writing. The staff and students of Washington Writers' Academy show a model of "best practice" that includes exemplary support, teacher development, and commitment to student growth through the medium of writing. Limited to 40 registrants.
  • Writing Marathon (10:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.): Kalamazoo is a haven for the arts, entertainment, writing, and culture. Come explore one of the nation's most vibrant and exciting small city downtowns and all it has to offer for writers.
  • Friday Banquet Speaker Larry B. Massie shares his passion for his beloved state's heritage through his acclaimed storytelling about strange but true episodes. He has authored 18 popular Michigan history books in which he brings to life the stories of the men and women who helped make Michigan a great state.

Saturday Events:

  • Keynote Speech by Karen Vocke
  • Engaging interactive sessions: Participate in sessions that showcase writing and teaching in rural schools, led by teacher-consultants and site directors from across the country.
  • Lunch speakers Steve and Laura Feffer bring plays to life with children, teens, and professionals. Laura teaches English and drama to at-risk students at Allegan Alternative High School. Steve is a prominent playwright and an assistant professor of English at Western Michigan University.
Proposals are no longer being accepted. To view the original proposal information, click here.


For more information, contact us at
© 2023 National Writing Project