National Writing Project

Apply Now for Special-Focus Network Minigrants

By: NWP Staff
Publication: The Voice, Vol. 8, No. 5
Date: 2003

Every fall, the National Writing Project special-focus networks offer minigrants in conjunction with the writing project site application schedule. Each of the four networks—English Language Learners Network, Rural Sites Network, Teacher Inquiry Communities Network, and Urban Sites Network—offers minigrant opportunities to sites to strengthen work in their special-focus areas.

This year, requests for proposals will be distributed to all sites in October; completed proposals are due to NWP by January 7, 2004. To be eligible for funds, a site must be a member of the special-focus network to which it is submitting a proposal. Again this year, sites will also be able to go online to begin the application process, download proposal information, or sign-up for network membership. By following the easy steps provided on network webpages, sites can obtain a simple checklist for submitting proposals. Other reference materials posted on the webpages include sample proposals and an archive of previously funded projects.

Each special-focus network sets forth guidelines and priorities for its own minigrant projects. Funding criteria and awards are determined through a peer review process and announced in conjunction with writing project site awards in the spring. Although modest in size, minigrants have enabled sites and teacher-leaders to strengthen core site capacity, build teacher leadership, pilot models of teaching and professional development, and get that extra funding needed to tackle one of the ongoing challenges identified by sites within a particular special-focus network. Last year, 30 minigrants were awarded; activities supported with those funds included new institutes, writing retreats, targeted inservice programs, teacher-research projects and partnerships with community organizations.

Those who wish to learn more about minigrants or who would like to discuss project ideas with network leadership can attend the special-focus networks minigrants session at the NWP Annual Meeting on Friday, November 21; talk to special-focus network leadership at the Rural Sites Network breakfast on November 22 (also part of the annual meeting); or visit the minigrants section of the special-focus networks webpages.

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