National Writing Project

Rural Sites Network Grant

2009-2010 RSN Minigrants

The Rural Sites Network (RSN) offers minigrant funds to NWP sites on an annual basis. The grants are offered every fall as part of the special-focus networks minigrant program in conjunction with the NWP Continued Funding Application. Funding criteria and awards are determined through a peer-review process; grants are awarded in the spring of each year. This year, grants of $5,000 will be awarded.

New This Year

Beginning this year your site director is required to enter the requested minigrant budget into the online budget system in order to complete your site's minigrant proposal. You may use the Minigrant Budget Template (below) to prepare the budget request, which your site director can then enter into the system.

For more, view the original proposal information.

Eight Participating Sites

Great Bear Writing Project, Arkansas

This minigrant funds the establishment of a Center for Professional Development in Rural Education. Beginning with an Advanced Institute for Rural Education in summer 2009, the goal of this center is to develop approximately eight teacher-consultants as expert inservice providers on issues of rural education and literacy. The center is scheduled to be launched in fall 2009 with a one-day open institute for teachers and educators in the site's service area on issues in rural education.

Northern California Writing Project, California

This minigrant brings a team of community college–based Northern California Writing Project teacher-consultants together for an advanced institute for community college faculty. The advanced institute is a three-day event designed to examine the objectives of the California Community College's Basic Skills Initiative (BSI), assess the ways in which the teacher-consultant participants help their students meet those objectives in effective, engaging ways, and create a series of professional development workshops that highlight those practices.

Northwestern State University Writing Project, Louisiana

The goal of this project is to offer rural educators strategies and resources to address the learning needs of students living in poverty and geographical and cultural isolation. The Northwestern State University Writing Project Rural Sites Team is committed to exploring the successful strategies and resources that effective rural teachers are using in order to make them accessible to other educators in similar circumstances. The team plans to observe and record the practice of rural educators, reflect and record current practice, and collect the resources that model promising instructional practices for connecting with rural students and their families.

Northern Shores Writing Project, Michigan

Building on the work of a Rural Sites Network Celebrating Rural Poetry minigrant, the Upper Peninsula Writing Project (UPWP) continues to keep the spirit of this initiative and place-conscious writing alive. This minigrant will be used to add digital storytelling to this strand of site work by training participating teacher-consultants to put their own writing pieces into multimedia presentations. The presentations can then be used as models for students. This project provides four intense days of learning for UPWP teacher-consultants and enables the site to share teacher-consultant and student multimedia writing via Web pages, Google Docs, and Wikispaces.

Saginaw Bay Writing Project, Michigan

The Saginaw Bay Writing Project (SBWP) plans to complete a two-part project that extends the site's work in rural districts and gives rural teachers an opportunity to explore educational issues related to teaching in rural schools. In part one of the project, the site continues its work in rural districts with a series of four half-day workshops that focus on challenges of teaching in rural schools and teaching strategies to meet these challenges. Part two offers all SBWP rural teachers the opportunity to participate in a professional writing retreat modeled on the NWP Professional Writing Retreats. A three-day retreat will gather participants together for a time of intense, focused research and writing. Participants have the opportunity to publish their writings in the SBWP quarterly newsletter and are supported to explore a variety of other avenues for publication and/or presentation.

Oregon WP at Pacific University, Oregon

This minigrant funds an intensive, yearlong professional development program for fifteen teachers and five administrators from five isolated rural schools located in Grant County, Oregon. The project includes a two-day institute for participating teachers from five districts: John Day, Long Creek, Dayville, Monument, and Prairie City. In addition to learning about new strategies and technologies for improving student writing, teachers develop a vision for creating a technology-rich literacy program at their school and identify personal professional development needs to make this vision a reality. The institute is followed by ongoing support from OWP at UO tech teacher-consultants, including a wiki for sharing instructional strategies.

Appalachian Writing Project, Virginia

This minigrant funds a study that examines dialect influence at the middle, high school, and college levels. The site plans to use the result of this study to develop a demonstration series for teachers called "Variety and Voice." This series endeavors to create classroom reform in the following ways: 1) Teachers learn about, and learn strategies for teaching, the history of their students' dialects; 2) teachers learn how to teach students the grammar(s) of home and school speech by way of contrastive analysis; and 3) teachers learn how to teach students the art of code-switching both in writing and conversation. This project provides teachers with researched strategies for acknowledging the students' identity and culture while teaching the language of wider communication.

Puget Sound Writing Project, Washington

The Puget Sound Writing Project (PSWP) is imbedding an open institute in a rural elementary school that is currently under construction, Nelson Elementary. The principal and startup team for Nelson Elementary, in partnership with PSWP, aim to create a school where writing is at the heart of all they do. This is accomplished by teacher-consultants providing two days of intense staff development prior to the opening of the school. During the 2009-2010 school year the staff participate in writing-project staff development provided by the site and the Nelson Elementary writing team. This is a rare opportunity for teachers in a rural location to access ongoing staff development for an entire school year.


For more information, contact Lance Dennis at
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