National Writing Project

Rural Sites Network Grant

2005-2006 RSN Minigrants

The Rural Sites Network (RSN) offers minigrant funds to NWP sites on an annual basis. Every fall, RSN minigrants are offered as part of the special-focus networks minigrant program in conjunction with the NWP Application for Continued Funding. Funding criteria and awards are determined through a peer-review process; grants are awarded in the spring of each year.

For more, view the original proposal information.

Seven Participating Sites

Northwest Inland Writing Project, Idaho

The Northwest Inland Writing Project will work with thirteen schools to begin study groups that will identify and address local educational and writing needs. These study groups, led by local teacher-consultants, will be created to address this site’s rural service area and its accompanying challenges. Following the selection of books that match local interests, a teacher-consultant training session for the study-group leaders will be held, and the book reading groups will begin. Emails and interaction will be encouraged, helping expand the community of educators and providing a network for these teachers separated by distance.

Indiana Writing Project, Indiana

To meet the needs of new teachers beginning their careers in rural communities and to involve rural teacher-consultants in site leadership, the Indiana Writing Project will institute a mentor program designed specifically for the teaching of writing and the language arts. Each teacher-consultant will invite a new teacher from their home area to participate in a yearlong mentoring relationship focusing on strategies to teach writing. Implementation will kick off with a week-long retreat followed by quarterly Saturday sessions, and a year-end evaluation retreat enhanced by blogging, reflection, and coffee chats throughout the school year. The goal is to help new teachers grow, develop as professionals, and cope with the issues that cause so many to abandon teaching within the first three to five years.

Eastern Kentucky University Writing Project, Kentucky

This project will support the Eastern Kentucky University Writing Project’s present leadership group and teacher-consultants to come together for a “visioning retreat” to take stock of the site and envision the future. The goal is to kick off an improvement infrastructure that will support site growth into the future. For a variety of reasons, including a recent change in director, a large and diverse service area, and few structures in place to support new leadership, the work of this project will be of great benefit to the site.

Third Coast Writing Project, Michigan

In order to better prepare for an increase in demand for professional development from schools and districts, this minigrant will make it possible for site leaders and teacher-consultants to refine their professional development vision, foster participation of additional teacher-consultants as leaders of professional development, and define roles and strategies for accomplishing this goal. Although the site is in many ways poised and ready for more partnerships to meet this increased demand for services, this grant will make it possible for the site to address a range of issues related to potential growth.

Prairie Lands Writing Project, Missouri

The "Reading Study in the Rural Heartland" minigrant project will support Prairie Lands Writing Project's 2005-2006 reading initiative programs: an inquiry-based summer workshop and a yearlong professional learning community related to reading and teaching reading in rural schools. The Prairie Lands Reading Initiative coordinator and an advisory board of five teacher-consultants from rural schools will oversee the project, select participants (up to fifteen teachers from rural schools) and assess and evaluate the reading institute and learning community when completed.

Oklahoma State University Writing Project, Oklahoma

The Oklahoma State University Writing Project will host a community-based mini-institute in the Oklahoma Panhandle (the northwest corner of the state) in the summer of 2005, with the goal of modeling the use of writing as a way to heighten student awareness of the culture and heritage of their communities. In addition to funding the one-week summer mini-institute, the site will hold a follow-up "dissemination retreat" in the fall of 2005. The dissemination retreat will invite mini-institute teachers to join teacher-consultant facilitators in writing and publishing an expanded site newsletter highlighting place-based writing across grades and content areas. This site newsletter will be used as an inservice tool, demonstrating place-based strategies to use in rural classrooms, as well as showcasing the product of an extended inservice program. The newsletter will be used to jump-start comparable rural outreach programs elsewhere in the state.

West Tennessee Writing Project, Tennessee

This minigrant will fund the West Tennessee Writing Project’s continuity program: “Collaborating to Achieve Successful Inservices: A Weekend Retreat.” The continuity program provides expanded professional development for twenty teacher-consultants committed to further developing their teaching demonstrations and forming inservice teams to provide a series of Saturday workshops in 2005-2006. The workshops will be especially geared to teachers seeking to enhance standards-based instruction in reading and writing, and developing literate classrooms in a test-taking school culture. The retreat builds on the West Tennessee Writing Project's initiatives over the last two years to develop site capacity and a more robust program of inservice.


For more information, contact Luke Hokama at or 510-643-4766.
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