National Writing Project

Special-Focus Network Conferences Empower Teachers, Boost Local Sites

By: NWP Staff
Publication: The Voice, Vol. 11, No. 2
Date: 2006

Summary: Three of NWP's special-focus networks will hold national conferences in the coming year, giving teacher-leaders the opportunity to network with and learn from other educators in their shared areas of focus. The English Language Learners Network, the Rural Sites Network, and the Urban Sites Network invite interested teachers to attend their conferences.


What is special about the National Writing Project's special-focus networks? Created to bring together educators at sites across the country with common demographics and/or common content areas of interest, the English Language Learners (ELL) Network, the Rural Sites Network (RSN), the Teacher Inquiry Communities (TIC) Network, and the Urban Sites Network (USN) not only advance the practice of teaching writing but also further NWP's goals of supporting local sites and strengthening the national network of sites.

Led by K–16 teachers from writing project sites across the country, these programs were created by directors and teacher-leaders and grew out of a broad-based interest in learning how to best improve the teaching and learning of writing in their shared areas of focus. The special-focus networks offer programs year-round, including workshops at the NWP Annual Meeting, minigrant opportunities, and national conferences on a variety of themes. At these conferences, which are among NWP's most popular events, teacher-leaders and directors gather to network, to share their work with a nationwide audience of all grade levels and content areas, and to build and disseminate their knowledge. The conferences also contribute to strengthening local leadership: participants get a firsthand and close-up view of our national network, which allows them to understand their local work within a larger context.

The special-focus networks, whose membership is open to any writing project site that believes it will benefit through participation, invite you to join them for their 2006–2007 conferences.

With Different Eyes

Cohosted by the ELL Network and the UCLA Writing Project, this conference will be held November 3–4, 2006, in Los Angeles. It offers a wide selection of workshops for teachers of ELL students at all grade levels and in a variety of subject areas. Previous workshops have included such topics as "From Narrative to Expository Writing: Second-Graders Can Do It," "English Learners and Teen Culture: Another Way to Engage in Culturally Relevant Teaching," and "Helping Students Identify Variables in Their Scientific Investigations." For further information visit the English Language Learners Network page.

Revisioning Writing in Rural Landscapes: Weaving Threads of Change

Cohosted by the Rural Sites Network and the High Plains Writing Project, this conference will be held March 9–10, 2007, in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The conference will provide opportunities for teachers and site leaders to contemplate the changes currently faced by rural sites—socioeconomic challenges posed by the changing world economy, declining or changing rural populations, and the effect of national education policies, to name a few—and explore how those changes, and our responses to them, might be woven together into a tapestry of success for rural students and communities. For further information visit the Rural Sites Network page.

Improving Writing in Urban Schools: A National Agenda

The Urban Sites Network conference, cohosted by the USN and the District of Columbia Area Writing Project, will be held in Washington, D.C., April 20–21, 2007. In addition to a selection of workshops, the conference features keynote speaker Gloria Ladson-Billings and includes guided visits to local schools and other places of interest. More than 200 teachers across the country are expected to attend and engage in a lively discourse on teacher practices and student achievement in the context of current reform efforts. At the town meeting culminating the conference, participants will look at how their conference experiences can deepen their work at home. For further information visit the Urban Sites Network page.

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