National Writing Project

Urban Sites Network Grant

2006-2007 USN Minigrants

The Urban Sites Network (USN) offers minigrant funds to NWP sites on an annual basis. Every fall, USN 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.

Nine Participating Sites

National Writing Project at Florida Gulf Coast University, Florida

NWP at Florida Gulf Coast University will develop, deliver, and evaluate a series of professional development workshops for new teachers in urban schools in the specific content areas of science and social studies. Teacher-consultants will plan and develop the curricula for “Writing in Science” and “Writing in Social Studies” workshops. This project will provide an opportunity for teacher-consultants with expertise in the areas of science, and social studies to develop and deliver content-area writing workshops in order to reach new teachers who have had limited or no preparation in using writing as a tool for learning. The project will also create an opportunity for the site to enhance its visibility among schools in its service area’s largest school district.

Boston Writing Project, Massachusetts

The Boston Writing Project and the Boston Public Schools (BPS) will collaborate to teach the importance of revision to improve writing in Boston secondary schools. This minigrant project will create an expanding network of BPS teachers who have practiced and investigated revision and its instruction. At the same time the project will continue to strengthen the long-standing relationship between the Boston Writing Project and Boston Public Schools.

Western Massachusetts Writing Project, Massachusetts

The Western Massachusetts Writing Project will offer “Revitalizing Writing,” a two-week open institute that includes time for facilitated sharing of teaching practices, personal writing, and response, along with reading and discussion of theory and research. Follow-up meetings during the school year will enable teachers to critically examine the effectiveness of techniques learned in the summer that they have implemented in their classrooms. Besides providing a high-quality professional development opportunity for urban teachers, this project will increase the pool of potential leaders at the site.

Long Island Writing Project, New York

This minigrant will fund an inquiry group for teachers in the Baldwin school district to discuss the changes in demographics affecting the district and to engage in conversations about race in a supportive, structured environment. Through reading, writing, and sharing stories, teachers will develop a deeper understanding of the changes taking place in the district and an awareness of the socioeconomic and historic factors involved in these changes. This inquiry group will help teachers of all races and ethnicities to communicate with each other and their students more clearly across the boundaries of their differences.

New York City Writing Project, New York

The New York City Writing Project’s Materials Development Now (MD-Now) project will involve experienced teachers and teacher-consultants in the process of creating two documents to be used in inservice programs. One document, primarily for an audience of school leaders, will articulate guidelines and sample approaches for high schools interested in offering writing-intensive instruction across the curriculum. The second document will harvest the site’s knowledge in the area of writing to learn across high school classrooms and contexts for an audience of teachers participating in the site’s inservice or summer programs. This project will increase the site’s visibility, facilitate access to its work, and launch a materials-development work group that continues beyond the life of the grant.

Western New York Writing Project, New York

The Western New York Writing Project will continue to provide newly redesigned professional development workshops in the Buffalo City Schools through collaboration with Canisius College’s partner schools. Buffalo school teachers will learn from teacher-consultants who have designed these workshops on increasing student achievement. This collaboration will solidify the relationship between the site and partner schools and increase the writing project’s visibility as an integral part of the college and community.

UNC Charlotte Writing Project, North Carolina

In order for teacher-consultants in urban schools to build a community within the site, the UNC Charlotte Writing Project will offer an advanced teacher research institute with a focus on inquiry into the nature of home and school literacies for urban educators. The institute will bring eight teacher-consultants to campus to study and learn together in the summer of 2006 and throughout the year. At the institute teachers will design their inquiry; after the institute they will form a study group to research their practices. The study group will continue for the 2006–2007 school year, and the site plans to publish the stories and experiences of the students and teachers.

Penn State Lehigh Valley Writing Project, Pennsylvania

In order to better serve and assist teachers in urban schools, the Penn State Lehigh Valley Writing Project will identify critical curriculum issues that face urban teachers in its service area. Through the formation of a focus group consisting of teacher-consultants and Allentown School District teachers, the site will strategically discuss these issues and begin to develop best practices of writing with a focus on urban classrooms. Through engaging professional development sessions, teachers will first become writers themselves and will then collectively design a weeklong summer camp to experiment with new lessons and ideas. After completing the camp, the focus group will reconvene to assess the work to date and identify next steps.

Philadelphia Writing Project, Pennsylvania

The Philadelphia Writing Project will hold a one-day leadership retreat and a follow-up meeting with Philadelphia Writing Project teacher-consultants who conduct professional development in schools and through partnerships with the local school district, the University of Pennsylvania, and other organizations with large audiences. The site will also create leadership handbooks and CDs of demonstrations of promising facilitation structures and processes, addressing the goal of deepening and expanding the site’s leadership pool.


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