My NWP is a force for equity, justice, and innovation. It is a national network of locally networked, passionate, caring educators, learning for the sakes of others. As we question, write, experiment, and reflect together, magic happens. Magnificent teaching practices, student accomplishments, works of art, and acts of persuasion emerge.
And here’s a story to illustrate: in 2006, there I was, a high school teacher-turned-NWP site director-turned-outreach director, sitting in a University of Michigan classroom. I was listening to a conversation between Hy Bass, a National Science Award-winning mathematician, Deborah Ball, the dean of the School of Education, also an outstanding mathematics researcher and elementary teacher, and a group of Algebra Project teacher-leaders gathered from across the country. There were representatives from places like Boston, San Francisco, Jackson, MS, and New Orleans. (The Algebra Project, founded about 30 years ago by civil rights organizer and mathematics educator Bob Moses, aims to serve students who have been placed in the bottom quartile, especially students of color and students living in poverty who are being poorly served by the current system.) The discussion was profoundly thoughtful, and the teacher-leaders more than held their own with the research team. I thought, Hmm…these folks remind me of the powerful teacher-consultants I’ve met through the National Writing Project.
During a break, I struck up a conversation with a leader among these highly reflective teachers, Lynne Godfrey, from the Boston Teacher Residency. I had heard Lynne worked closely with Bob in her classroom over several years to develop the pedagogy and practices of the Algebra Project. I asked, “Lynne, what was that like, as you and Bob worked together in those early years?” She answered that they sat at her kitchen table on a Sunday afternoon, and Bob asked something like, “What if we were to imagine mathematics classrooms where students were engaged in the ways they are in your English and social studies classes?” I then asked, “By chance, would you have any connection with the National Writing Project?” Lynne acknowledged she was a teacher-consultant from the Boston Writing Project!
Visit the NWP site at this location for Western Pennsylvania Writing Project Director Laura Roop’s full answer to the question: “What is YOUR NWP?”