National Writing Project

Educators Gather in Boston to Explore Urban Literacy

Keynote speaker to discuss using popular culture to advance academic literacy

For Immediate Release


Boston, Massachusetts, April 28, 2011 – Teachers from across the country will gather in Boston this weekend to share successful approaches to urban education and learn new ways to help their students navigate the complexities of digital literacy. Hundreds of educators from the National Writing Project (NWP) network will convene at the Colonnade Hotel on Friday and Saturday, April 29-30, to share their expertise and find new strategies to teaching literacy in 21st century urban environments.

Reknowned scholar, writer, and teacher Ernest Morrell will deliver the keynote address on Saturday morning, discussing his approach to using popular culture to advance academic literacy in urban communities. Morrell, the author of several books on literacy and popular culture, and a former high school teacher and associate professor at UCLA, recently became director of the Institute for Urban and Minority Education at Teachers College, Columbia University.

Co-sponsored by the Boston Writing Project at UMass Boston, the conference will bring educators together to explore strategies that have succeeded in urban areas across the country, offering sessions such as Using Digital Spaces to Facilitate Peer Conferencing and Dialogue, Mathematical Literacy for All, Do-It-Yourself Projects and How-to Writing, Creating a Dialogue About Issues of Race and Culture, and Using Primary Source Documents to Prompt Writing.

"The recent dramatic cuts to education funding at both the federal and state level will undoubtedly amplify the complex issues that challenge urban educators and the students they serve," said Sharon J. Washington, NWP Executive Director. "By bringing successful teachers together to learn from each other, we hope to spread solutions and inspire educators to continue to do everything they can to help their students succeed, even in the face of these significant funding constraints."


The National Writing Project (NWP) is a nationwide network of educators working together to improve the teaching of writing in the nation's schools and in other settings. NWP provides high-quality professional development programs to teachers in a variety of disciplines and at all levels, from early childhood through university. Through its network of more than 200 university-based sites located in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, NWP develops the leadership, programs, and research needed for teachers to help students become successful writers and learners. For more information about NWP, visit

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