National Writing Project

Milestones in NWP History

By: NWP Staff
Publication: The Voice, Vol. 8, No. 4
Date: Fall 2003

Summary: A short description of NWP milestones, 1973-1978.


Thirty years of the National Writing Project. One day in 1973, 25 teachers of writing gathered in a University of California, Berkeley, classroom for the first summer institute, and now, a mere three decades later, the descendants of these pioneers have morphed into the overseers of an organization with 175 writing project sites, a national support staff of more than 40, and programs to do everything from advance the teaching of reading to provide vital help for new teachers.

If there were a Rip Van Winkle who 30 years ago dozed off with an eye on the writing project, he would be truly confused by these developments. But those of us who have stayed awake over this period might also wonder how NWP got to where it is today. So we present the beginning of a chronology, a year-by-year key to many major developments and a few minor ones in the history of the writing project.


Administrators at the University of California, Berkeley, showing increasing concern about the quality of student writing at the university, encourage Jim Gray’s emerging idea that exemplary teachers of writing are best positioned to help teachers improve writing instruction.


Jim Gray, gathering together 25 outstanding teachers of writing in the Bay Area, launches the writing project with the first Bay Area Writing Project (BAWP) Invitational Summer Institute.

BAWP teacher-consultants begin workshops in local schools.


The writing project receives its first National Endowment for the Humanities grant.


The National Writing Project expands to 41 sites.

First NWP Annual Meeting is held. Twenty-five site directors sit in a circle sharing ideas. . . .

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