National Writing Project

Writing Projects and School Reform: A Local Perspective

By: Marcie Wolfe
Publication: The Quarterly, Vol. 20, No. 2
Date: Spring 1998

Summary: Wolfe explains how the New York City Writing Project has increasingly worked toward a vision that allows the site to help change and restructure schools while also helping teachers improve their practice.



It was slow going at first. But some of the things that made it hard also made it work. On one day, early in the first semester, the teachers participating in the on-site seminar all arrived late, having just endured a day-long inspection from state monitors and district administrators. Teachers were crushed; Alan rightly saw that something had to be done. He put the agenda aside and asked teachers to write about the day and about the pressure they'd been experiencing. They wrote of the school's past attempts at reform, their questions about their own impacts on students, and the negative perceptions of their work held by others. The time they spent hearing each other's writing helped establish the writing project seminar as a safe, protected space in a school under siege.

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