National Writing Project

Urban Sites Network Grant

2010-2011 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 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.

For more, view the original proposal information.

Eight Participating Sites

Hoosier Writing Project, Indiana

A partnership with a large urban school in a growing, diverse district allows Hoosier Writing Project to provide teachers the opportunity to participate in a two-week open institute. The project centers on ten local district teachers of English and other content areas, drawn from the school's small learning communities. The teachers attend a series of school-year workshops on writing assessment, a key component of articulating writing instruction across the learning communities. The goal is to form a literacy team that will carry forward this work in the school's small learning communities. The project brings together recent work on urban school partnerships, equity issues, and content area literacy. It also increases the site's capacity for such work and brings it more visibility in the urban school districts in the service area.

Louisville Writing Project, Kentucky

The funds from this award help continue the development of a manuscript focused on the theme of resiliency. The grant also engages new teachers in the reading of resiliency work by showcasing projects teacher-consultants have been incorporating in their own classrooms. The project encourages new teachers to try resiliency-inspired strategies with their own students.

Greater Kansas City Writing Project, Missouri

This grant focuses on bringing together teacher-consultants from the urban and suburban school districts in the neighboring states of Missouri and Kansas to work on collaborative teaching projects. The project requires students from urban schools to read and write with students from suburban/rural districts. Students read at least one common text and use an Internet Classroom Assistant (a free online communications and class management tool) to engage in written dialogue about the text. Teacher-consultants meet during the summer for a two-day workshop that provides guidance for participants and time to practice addressing assumptions and misunderstandings that students from different areas might have about each other. The workshop develops a cadre of teacher-consultants with a deep knowledge of the service area. By connecting urban and suburban classrooms, this project helps both teachers and students gain a better understanding and appreciation of each other.

Southern Nevada Writing Project, Nevada

This award provides the seed money for the Southern Nevada Writing Project's Summer Youth Writing Camp. The camp focuses on inner city students grades 2-12 and provides a unique professional development opportunity for 20 urban teachers in the local area. The writing camp starts with a two-day professional development workshop for teacher-consultants focusing on writing, teacher research, language learners, and social justice. The students' writing camp begins immediately after the teacher-consultants' workshop. The teachers then put into practice the writing and language strategies from their two-day institute. They observe and co-teach the classes for seven days. This project gives teachers opportunities for professional development—to learn, observe, practice, and reflect on the teaching of writing. Teacher-consultants who complete the course (with 45 contact hours) earn three graduate credits.

Western New York Writing Project, New York

The funds from this grant help support urban teachers in high-needs schools to develop a writing program for their students' academic success, creating a community of writing teachers who are committed to working in collaboration over an extended period. The project builds on the work of the National Writing Project's Assessment of Writing Continuum (NWP-AWC) training. Urban teachers involved in the training work collaboratively to inquire into the effective uses of the AWC to improve the teaching of writing to their diverse student population. Teachers assess student papers using the AWC and keep reflective journals that focus on comparing the papers in order to gauge their progress. The project offers teachers the tools, time, and space to continue supporting and challenging each other as writing teachers. It also helps teachers increase their effectiveness and feel more successful with their unique student population.

UNC Charlotte Writing Project, North Carolina

Exploring composing technologies and thinking about literacy in our classrooms are the focus of this project. The grant provides the opportunity to bring teacher-consultants who work with the local schools together to attend a five-day summer advanced institute. Teachers collaborate during the institute to explore composing technologies and create digital "Literacy and Learning Narratives" that are captured on CDs to share as a resource. At the end of the institute, the work is shared with the Urban Sites Network community, local school districts, and the classrooms of our partner schools.

Philadelphia Writing Project, Pennsylvania

This grant supports a five-person planning team to design a reading and writing program for parents and children at Sadie Tanner Mosser Alexander School and the Parent Infant Center. Several thematic series of workshops designed by the team are offered at various times during the year. Workshops are offered after school, on Saturday mornings, and during the summer.

Central Texas Writing Project, Texas

The minigrant award provides four teacher-consultants (TCs) and four non-TCs the opportunity to investigate and develop the use of digital storytelling with middle school students. Students have an opportunity to examine their lives, communities, and literacies and give voice to their experiences, culminating in a public forum for sharing digital stories. Although the work of this project centers on student voices, it also extends our outreach to serve teachers from local districts who have not participated in the invitational summer institute. The work of this project demonstrates and makes public the effective practices developed by teachers who participate in the invitational summer institute.


For more information, contact Lance Dennis at
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