National Writing Project

Rural Sites Network Grant

2006-2007 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. This year, grants of up to $5,000 will be awarded.

For more, view the original proposal information.

Eight Participating Sites

Northern California Writing Project, California

The Northern California Writing Project will replicate a project that it piloted four years ago called The Summer Celebration of Literacy: Using Technology to Motivate Reluctant Readers and Writers. A primary goal of this minigrant project is to expand the pool of teacher-leaders who have the theoretical background as well as the technical expertise to offer this program regionwide. Additionally, the program has a significant inservice component, in which teacher-leaders provide voluntary professional development for teachers in the service area, using best practices for teaching students in the region. The site also plans to study its own work and create a model to share with other rural sites.

Colorado State University Writing Project, Colorado

In its newly designed Watershed Institute, through investigation of the culture, history, traditions, and life of the rural community in Leadville, Colorado, the Colorado State University Writing Project (CSUWP) will introduce thirty teachers recruited from surrounding mountain schools to the notion of place-based education. Participants will learn about the heritage of Leadville—historically known as Cloud City—through visits to local museums and historical sites and contact with local writers. While lodging in the town of Leadville for two weeks, the thirty participants will immerse themselves in the culture of a town that was once nominated to be the capital of Colorado. As they take part in book clubs and writing groups, share best practices, and research their own rural schools and communities, these teachers will form a lasting network dedicated to improving writing instruction in mountain schools. The ultimate goal is to bring about a watershed, a turning point in rural education in central Colorado, by supporting teachers’ passion for writing and their understanding of their unique communities.

Morehead Writing Project, Kentucky

In the fall of 2006 the Morehead Writing Project will offer a two-day mentoring conference for teachers new to the Kentucky writing portfolio system that focuses on scaffolding classroom instruction. Ten conference attendees will be invited to participate in a mentor/mentee relationship with a teacher-consultant during the following year through involvement in a site-sponsored teaching support weblog. At the end of that year, mentees will be invited to write up exemplary practices of their own in order to share them as resources on the site’s webpage. The practices that they write up may also serve as their demonstrations should they attend the invitational summer institute.

MSU Writing/Thinking Project, Mississippi

The Mississippi State University Writing/Thinking Project will organize a small cadre of teacher-consultants to engage in study groups that take a closer look at the importance of access, relevance, and diversity to their writing project site and to the rural schools in their service area. Access focuses on the availability of sustained professional development for teachers who work in communities affected by poverty; relevance refers to the relevance of their site’s professional development offerings to teachers of students in communities affected by poverty; and diversity refers to diversity in project leadership, so that teacher knowledge can more closely reflect the diversity of local communities. The cadre will begin a dialogue about ways to support teachers of color in rural settings and will develop recommendations for giving teachers of color access to the site’s leadership table.

Oklahoma State University Writing Project, Oklahoma

In the summer of 2006, building upon and extending the work begun in a 2005 dissemination retreat, the Oklahoma State University Writing Project will host a community-based rural mini-institute to demonstrate the use of writing as a way to heighten student awareness of the culture, heritage, and resources of the local rural community. The site will hold a follow-up dissemination retreat in the fall of 2006 with the goal of writing and publishing an anthology highlighting place-based writing across grades and content areas. The anthology 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.

Oregon WP at Eastern Oregon University, Oregon

The Oregon Writing Project at Eastern Oregon University will host a one-week summer writing institute at the elementary school in Crane, Oregon, focusing on the unique needs and interests of teachers in remote rural areas who are also writers. The institute, which will serve teachers in rural Harney County, located approximately five hours away by car from Eastern Oregon University, has a goal of building the site’s visibility and leadership capacity.

Central West Virginia Writing Project, West Virginia

The Central West Virginia Writing Project will hold an advanced institute that will utilize the knowledge and expertise of teacher-consultants to create a research-based professional development series for delivery to teachers in rural counties. Teacher-consultants will document their work through the site’s website and in a brochure and a newsletter they will create. This project will expand and diversify the leadership base at the site, enhance the visibility of the site’s work, and increase the number of teachers reached through delivery of inservice programs.

Wyoming Writing Project, Wyoming

The Wyoming Writing Project will hold a three-day strategic planning meeting for leadership at the site to develop inservice offerings purposefully tailored to meet the needs of its rural community. A group of ten will gather to rewrite curriculum guidelines, devise an action plan, and develop a schedule for expanding site programs. The goals of the project are to establish a firm foundation for shared site leadership and increase visibility of the site as an inservice provider in its service area.


For more information, contact Spike Harris at or 510-643-0154.
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