National Writing Project

Urban Sites Network Grant

2008-2009 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. This year, grants of up to $5,000 will be awarded.

For more, view the original proposal information.

Seven Participating Sites

San Diego Area Writing Project, California

This minigrant project supports urban teachers in the development of their students' academic writing and school success. Building on the current work of the San Diego Area Writing Project's study group Improving Student Academic Writing (ISAW), teacher-researchers develop their results from the classrooms into professional development offerings for teachers in the site's service area. In addition to providing professional development for this group of teachers, the study group will create a leadership team to coordinate and facilitate future ISAW professional development series.

Kennesaw Mountain Writing Project, Georgia

Atlanta is a dense urban setting and has very little public transportation that extends into its surrounding communities. Public transportation is particularly sparse in areas north of the metropolitan area, such as Kennesaw, where the site is located. These urban conditions have made outreach to teachers in Atlanta Public Schools (APS) and in urban areas such as DeKalb County and Decatur City increasingly difficult. This minigrant project is designed to address this challenge by beginning to build a sustainable partnership with Agnes Scott College (ASC). Located 4–5 miles from the heart of downtown Atlanta, ASC is in the center of the DeKalb/Decatur urban area, where many teachers have felt too far removed to affiliate strongly with the site. The project allows the Kennesaw Mountain Writing Project to extend outreach efforts to teachers in urban areas, establish stronger relations with APS, develop a diverse set of applicants for the summer institute, and enhance teacher leadership in urban areas.

Greater New Orleans Writing Project, Louisiana

This minigrant project is an invitational advanced institute to address continuity and sustainability of the Greater New Orleans Writing Project (GNOWP), which was decimated by the Katrina disaster. During the institute, teacher-consultants develop demonstrations based on their interests and on local needs. The resulting teaching demos and materials become resources for the site's professional development activities. School systems are using the opportunity presented by the physical and conceptual rebuilding of schools to address long-needed education reforms. GNOWP's advanced institute seeks to rebuild and sustain the site's depleted leadership and teacher-consultant base to meet these opportunities.

Gateway Writing Project, Missouri

In the continuation of an ongoing site study group, participants focus on equity issues that impede the academic achievement of minority groups, particularly African American students. The goals of this group are to examine teacher behaviors in the area of equity that may affect student learning and/or increase student achievement; to strengthen professional communities; and to develop instruction consistent with equitable school improvement for high-needs school districts.

UNC Charlotte Writing Project, North Carolina

Now in its second year, the Our Space project enables teacher-consultants and their students to research their communities' home and school literacies by creating "spaces" where language practices from these various sources can be explored. The purpose is to deepen the site's understanding of home and school literacies and to name and value students' engagement in diverse literate practices. This work challenges and reshapes school literacy and language practices in children's everyday lives.

Columbus Area Writing Project, Ohio

Teacher Inquiry and Urban Girls' Success: Writing for Our Lives is a teacher inquiry and professional development group of teacher-consultants in Columbus, Ohio area urban school districts. The purpose of the group is to study the academic, personal, social, cultural, physical, economic, and community issues that affect the lives of girls in urban school districts. This is a first step in a long-term effort to develop writing and literacy curriculum and pedagogical practices to facilitate the success of girls in urban settings, both academically and in other domains of their lives.

Philadelphia Writing Project, Pennsylvania

This minigrant project is a leadership retreat that employs previously successful protocols and processes to encourage new and experienced teacher-consultants to collaborate with each other on issues of leadership and facilitation. This work builds on a previous Urban Sites Network minigrant, which funded the creation of a DVD and an accompanying facilitator's guide. The results of the leadership team retreat will be compiled to create a second section of the facilitator's guide.

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