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UAlbany Program Promotes Teaching of Writing

Contact: Karl Luntta (518) 437-4980

ALBANY, N.Y. (July 12, 2004) -- The University at Albany School of Education, in partnership with the Greater Capital Region Teacher Center (GCRTC), has established the Capital District Writing Project (CDWP), a program to improve the teaching of writing and learning in Capital area schools.

Sixteen Capital Region primary, secondary, special education, and university teachers were selected from a pool of applicants for the CDWP summer institute, which began June 28 and will run until July 23, 2004 at UAlbany. Participants were required to have at least two years of teaching experience, a genuine interest in writing and enthusiasm for both writing and teaching, a commitment to participation in a year-long writing group with a focus on the teacherís own writing, and a commitment to the year-long post-institute study of theory and practice of rhetoric and composition. During the institute, the teachers will meet daily to share their writing, study writing theory and research, and develop instructional strategies. They are expected to produce several pieces of writing.

Participants will be awarded a $1,000 stipend and a certificate of completion for 10 in-service credits (150 hrs ).

As a local site of the U.S. Department of Education-funded National Writing Project, CDWP will emphasize the primary importance of teacher knowledge, expertise, and leadership. Through its extensive network of teachers, the National Writing Project seeks to promote exemplary instruction of writing in American classrooms. The national program is based on the tenet that improving writing is crucial to learning in all subject areas, not just English; that reading and writing are reinforcing literacy skills and need to be taught together; and that learning to write requires frequent, supportive practice. A primary belief of the program is that teachers can develop more effective writing instruction if they themselves are writers.

"What makes the Writing Project so powerful is that it offers accomplished teachers an opportunity to explore their own writing as well as to enhance their approaches to teaching writing," said CDWP Co-director Bob Yagelski, an associate professor in the department of educational theory and practice at UAlbany. "Their experiences as writers give them insight into the nature of writing and the struggles of student writers. Studies of NWP sites demonstrate that students whose teachers have participated in the Writing Project generally write more than other students and write more effectively."

"The Writing Project offers teachers a very unique chance to study writing and pedagogy together in a situation supported by the resources of the University" said CDWP Co-director Carol Forman-Pemberton, a teacher and staff development coordinator for the Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake Central School District. "Participants will bring back new theory and practices, and their influence will extend beyond their own classrooms as they offer workshops and act as professional development consultants for other school districts."

CDWP will sponsor these workshops and also works with schools and districts to tailor other programs to meet the needs of teachers and students.

The Capital District Writing Project, launched with a $30,000 grant from the National Writing Project network, joins 175 sites in 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Each site resides on a university campus and operates in partnership with local schools.

To apply for future summer institutes, call the Teacher Center (518) 479-4083 for information. For further information contact Bob Yagelski at (518) 442-5002, Carol Forman-Pemberton at (518) 399-7545, or e-mail cdwp@albany.edu.


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