National Writing Project

Rural Sites Network Grant

2007-2008 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.

Seven Participating Sites

Jacksonville State University Writing Project, Alabama

The “Re-envisioning Reading in Rural Schools” program will provide rural educators in Northeast Alabama with a broader understanding of reading, writing, and literacy, along with new teaching approaches and inspiration for reaching their rural students. The minigrant project will kick off with a conference featuring David Booth and his recent book Reading Doesn’t Matter Anymore: Shattering the Myths of Literacy. Since many students lack the desire to engage in reading of traditional printed texts—which is what most teachers still rely on to engage students in the process of reading—this new “seeing” of reading will help teachers reach the struggling readers, disengaged readers, and nonreaders in their classrooms. Saturday seminars, online discussion groups, and sharing of ideas through Web resources, publications, and presentations will bring rural teachers into new professional conversations about their work.

National Writing Project at Florida Gulf Coast University, Florida

The National Writing Project at Florida Gulf Coast University will hold a mini-institute for teachers in rural Southwest Florida. Three teacher-consultants will develop and deliver an eight-day mini-institute to address best practices in writing across the curriculum. The mini-institute will include an evaluation piece to look at the work done in this project in relation to the perceived needs of the participants and, through focus groups, assess the efficacy of its professional development model. The teachers who participate in the mini-institute will be recruited to attend the invitational summer institute the following summer. The mini-institute will both increase the site’s capacity to carry out programs and provide research and documentation of the impact of the work related to rural education.

Live Oak Writing Project, Mississippi

Live Oak Writing Project (LOWP) will host three open institutes for rural teachers in the three northern counties of its service area. The purpose of these institutes is to educate teachers in process writing and to introduce them to the Live Oak Writing Project. The open institutes will combine participants’ work into an anthology that will be presented at a celebration in September. At the celebration, participants will travel to the Long Beach campus of the University of Southern Mississippi—home of LOWP. They will be introduced to campus administrators and given a tour of the campus. Live Oak Writing Project site leaders will host a reception and a voluntary read-around of participants’ summer work. In addition, they will give a brief presentation about the work of the site and invite participants to apply for the following summer institute.

University of Mississippi Writing Project, Mississippi

Building on work funded by a Project Outreach grant, the University of Mississippi Writing Project will hold a weeklong Rural Sites Institute in partnership with the William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation. Institute facilitators will discuss issues of race and class while working with teachers on how to effectively deal with these issues. The institute will 1) support teachers in becoming more confident in facilitating conversations about race and class; 2) help teachers learn about the abundant resources within their own communities and the ways these resources can promote a healthy classroom dialogue; and 3) help sites develop their capacity for professional development focused on civil rights education.

Nebraska Writing Project, Nebraska

Developing an online rural institute is a yearlong project to adapt Nebraska’s successful Rural Institute Program to an online environment. The project has three stages: an initial course development stage in the spring, in which three experienced leaders of past Rural Institutes will work with technology consultants from the university to block out the course; a summer mini-institute for the first year’s cohort of participants, immersing them in place-conscious work and developing some digital modules for the course; and a fall online seminar as the first full-fledged offering of the course. The results of the project will be a course usable in Nebraska and open to the entire Rural Sites Network, a model for other sites for doing place-conscious work online, and an increased core of Nebraska Writing Project rural teacher-leaders.

Upstate Writing Project, South Carolina

Building on the work of their Project Outreach grant, the Upstate Writing Project will hold a four-day open institute in Southern Greenville County, located 70 miles south of the site’s base. The open institute will allow access to professional development for teacher-consultants and teachers in an underrepresented and underserved portion of the site’s service area. At the institute participants will develop research-based ideas for the teaching of reading and writing in context as a way to heighten awareness of the culture and heritage of the local rural community.

Green Mountain Writing Project at UVM, Vermont

The National Writing Project in Vermont (NWP-VT) will organize and implement partnerships sparked by five study groups in five Vermont schools. Each school will have a teacher-consultant from NWP-VT as its leader and be part of a three year commitment. Teacher-consultants will work with one other teacher-consultant assistant leader. The program will be overseen by a project coordinator and will include training for the study group leaders in a “Study Group on Study Groups” that will meet regularly in person and online. The project seeks to expand inservice to five schools as well as build continuity through meaningful work for teacher-consultants in their own schools.


For more information, contact Iana Rogers at or 510-643-6796.
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