National Writing Project

Teachers Head Back to School with New Tools to Teach Writing

Through social media, teachers connect and continue learning

For Immediate Release


Berkeley, California, August 23, 2012 — Looking to become better educators and school leaders, several thousand teachers attended National Writing Project (NWP) professional development institutes across the nation this past summer. The institutes are the first step in joining a nationwide K-university professional network focused on improving the teaching of writing and learning in the digital age. Upon returning to the classroom, a new group of NWP teacher-leaders arrive equipped with a multitude of tools, strategies, and ideas gleaned from weeks of learning together with Writing Project colleagues.

Jonathan Bush, director of the Third Coast Writing Project at Western Michigan University, led one of the institutes for teachers in Michigan. "We're excited that these outstanding teachers took a significant portion of their summers to engage in this complex and demanding work," stated Bush. "Classroom teachers hold a vast knowledge of education and we're pleased to support them as they provide leadership in their schools."

Becky Ramsey, principal at West Fork Middle School in West Fork, Arkansas noted, “As we implement the new Common Core State Standards, it is increasingly evident that we must first provide our teachers with more intensive professional development in instructional writing strategies so they can assist and confidently support our students in reaching more rigorous academic standards.”

With support from the U.S. Department of Education’s Supporting Effective Educator Development (SEED) grant program, host universities, and other national and local funders, teachers from all grade levels and disciplines attended the professional development institutes held at nearly 200 university-based Writing Project sites across the country. Staying connected through online professional communities hosted on NWP Connect and using tools like Twitter and blogs, these educators join a network with tens of thousands of others who have participated in NWP's annual Invitational Summer Institutes over the past 38 years.

“It is wonderful to see the dedication and commitment of these teachers, but I am not at all surprised,” said Dr. Sharon J. Washington, NWP Executive Director. “Teachers are eager to help their students become better learners. Writing Project programs not only help teachers refine their knowledge of theory, research and practice, but also give them access to a network of thousands of educators looking to learn from one another. This gets to the heart of one of the core principles of the NWP — teachers teaching teachers.”

Following the completion of the institutes, the teachers stay involved and collaborate with the teachers they have met in the Writing Project. Jessica Early, director of the Central Arizona Writing Project at Arizona State University said, “They will be ‘teacher leaders’ in their districts, and they will come back for fall and spring ‘renewal’ workshops.”

Throughout the upcoming school year, NWP teacher-leaders across the country will continue to share their best thinking and practices, develop resources to address college and career-ready standards, and make the use of digital technology a central part of teaching writing in their 21st century classrooms. Writing Project sites provide a range of content-rich professional development workshops and programs for K-12 teachers, in support of rigorous college and career-ready standards around writing, including the new Common Core State Standards.


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 nearly 200 university-based sites serving all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, the National Writing Project develops the leadership, programs, and research needed for teachers to help students become successful writers and learners. For more information, visit