Archive for Fellow

2014 WPWP Continuity Event

Title: 2014 WPWP Continuity Event
Location: 5131 Wesley W. Posvar Hall, University of Pittsburgh
Description: Opportunity for teacher-consultants who participated in the 2014 Summer Institute for Teachers to gather, reflect on their writing, inquiry, and leadership, and figure out next steps. Anthologies developed this summer to be distributed.
Start Time: 9:00
Date: 2014-11-01
End Time: 12:00

WPWP Inquiry/Leadership Group

Title: WPWP Inquiry/Leadership Group
Location: 5131 Wesley W. Posvar Hall, University of Pittsburgh
Description: Second session of a group focusing on developing teacher inquiry and leadership by reading The Art of Classroom Inquiry, recording burning questions, and collecting artifacts from current teaching situations.
Start Time: 9:00
Date: 2014-12-06
End Time: 12:00

WPWP Holiday Party

Title: WPWP Holiday Party
Location: 120 Parise Road, Pittsburgh, PA 15221
Description: Annual festivities, hosted this year by new WPWP director Laura Roop and her spouse, longtime NWP-connected Richard Koch. Bring hors d’ oeuvres, dessert, or drinks to share.
Start Time: 15:00
Date: 2014-12-13
End Time: 20:00

NCTE Annual Convention

Title: NCTE Annual Convention
Location: Gaylord National Resort, National Harbor, MD
Link out: Click here
Description: Join your NCTE colleagues and friends as we examine the power of story as the landscape within which we map the significance of experience and build towers of knowledge.

Stories saturate our lives, woven so tightly into the fabric of the everyday that it’s easy to overlook their value as a way of knowing the world. They are the glue that creates community and binds us together around common purposes and values.

Gaylord National ResortThe 2014 NCTE Convention will be held at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center. Sessions will explore the many dimensions of story as the landscape of knowing–story as literary and informational text, story as cross-disciplinary collaborations, story as multiple literacies and genres, story as memory and identity, story as teacher knowledge and research, story as community and culture, story as marginalization, and story as resistance.

The 2014 NCTE Annual Convention is an opportunity to take back the right to tell our stories, to create our own landscapes, and to “talk story” with each other.

Start Date: 2014-11-20
End Date: 2014-11-22

NWP Annual Meeting

Title: NWP Annual Meeting
Location: Gaylord Resort, National Harbor, MD, near Washington DC
Link out: Click here
Description: NWP’s 2014 Annual Meeting is held in conjunction with the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) Convention . The meeting is designed to facilitate strategic thinking and planning opportunities for NWP sites, create time for sites to learn from each other and work together on behalf of the network, and provide a chance for the NWP office to be in conversation with site leaders and to share updates on funding, grant opportunities, and other planning.

Start Time: 08:00
Date: 2014-11-20
End Time: 21:00

2014 Fall Writing Retreat

WPWP Teacher Fellows, Save the Date for the October 17-19 Fall Writing Retreat at Oglebay Resort and Conference Center in Wheeling, West Virginia. Contact Erin Manifold for more information.

A Day of Common Core

On Saturday, April 6, teachers from the Pennsylvania Writing Project Network convened in Pittsburgh for a rich day of inquiry into the Common Core State Standards. The event was hosted by the Western Pa Writing Project and featured  workshops on rigorous CCSS-aligned instruction and assessments conducted by the Institute for Learning

The WPWP is grateful to IFL fellows, Tabetha Bernstein-Danis, Stephanie Kane-Mainier, Allison Escher, and IFL co-director, Anthony Petrosky, for their generous time and expertise.  We are thankful as well for the dedicated teachers across the Pennsylvania Writing Project Network, including those with Endless Mountains Writing Project, Philadelphia Writing Project, Pennsylvania Writing and Literature Project, Capital Area Writing Project, and the Lehigh Valley Writing Project, for joining us in a day of collaborative and collegial exchange.

To see what inquiry looks like, please visit the WPWP’s Flickr page, A Day of Common Core.


Scholastic Writing Awards Celebration

On Saturday March 2, 2013, the Western Pa Writing Project hosted the Scholastic Writing Awards for the Pittsburgh Region. Over 80 young writers, family members, and teachers attended the event at the Frick Fine Arts Auditorium on the University of Pittsburgh campus.

Dr. Richard Donato, School of Education, welcomed students and their families with a poem his daughter Claire, now a published poet and teacher at Fordham University, had written as a seven year old. Michael Simms, Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Autumn House Press, gave the keynote address. In his address, Simms welcomed the young writers into the sacred trust of poets and artists that has existed for centuries. 

Gold, Silver, and Honorable Mention awards were distributed to students from schools throughout Allegheny and Westmoreland County. To see the full list of award winners, please visit the WPWP’s Scholastic Writing Awards page. Gold Key winners have advanced to the national level. Results from the national competition will be available on the Arts and Writing website on March 15, 2013. Good luck to the gold key winners, and congratulations to all the courageous writers who submitted their words to the contest.

To see additional photographs from the Awards Celebration, please visit the WPWP’s Flickr page.

The Scholastic Writing Awards contest and celebration would not be possible without the support of the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Education and the dedicated work of Karen Howard, 1989 WPWP Fellow. Karen spent many hours communicating with young writers, judges, and members of the community.

If you appreciate the Scholastic Writing Awards and other WPWP-supported events, please consider making a donation through the National Writing Project. All donations are tax deductible.

Second Grade Poets, Architectural Students, and Radio Broadcasters

By Shannon Shupak, 2012 WPWP Fellow

Second graders at The Environmental Charter School call themselves poets. That is because over the last few months, these students have been reading, writing, and ultimately enjoying a wide range of poems. Expressing themselves through poetry has been both an educational and rewarding experience. Best of all, they were able to cross-connect poetry with architecture and public broadcasting and gain a better appreciation of the community.

Early in the poetry unit, Louise Sturgess and volunteers from Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation (PHLF) visited ECS second graders and connected poetry to the architecture of Park Place School (Environmental Charter School’s K-3 building). ECS believes in place-based learning, so it was a natural fit to study the lower school building since it is a member of the National Register of Historical Places. Students toured the building and learned about egg and dart molding, stained glass, and other architectural elements of the 110-year old structure.

Afterwards, students reflected on specific areas of the school and wrote poems about the architectural details. When they were finished, their poems were affixed next to photographs of the elements and placed on pubic display. This experience exposed the young poets to the melding of rhyme and personification with architectural details of their school building.

After the writing process was complete, the poets had the opportunity to share their work at the First Annual ECS Poetry Slam. Students competed to earn a spot reciting their poem on the Saturday Light Brigade program broadcasted from the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh. Nine students shared their work live, on-air with Larry Berger, the Founder and Executive Director.

The young poets were energized by this experience and are looking forward to future partnerships with SLB in our next unit: persuasive writing.

Shannon Shupak, 2012 WPWP Fellow, teaches 2nd grade literacy at the Environmental Charter School with coteacher, Carly Catello.

Fellow’s Spotlight: Dr. Tameka Cage Conley

Dr. Tameka Cage Conley (WPWP 2010), coordinator of the High School Young Writers program, has been accepted to the 2013 Flight School Fellowship program which aids in the professional development of Pittsburgh-based artists.

Dr. Cage Conley was recently part of an evening packed with literary art, music, and comedy when PACT (Public Action Communitarian Theatre) rallied for gun control at a powerful, memorable event at Bricolage Production Company on Saturday, January 26. Details of her performance and the inspiring, arts action event were reported by the Post Gazette.

On Saturday, February 2, Dr. Cage Conley and her husband David were featured along with several couples at the New Hazlett Theater at 8 pm, for “Couples Come Out: Celebrating Creative Couples.”  The event was sponsored by Twin Soul Effect, comprised of artists Candace Walker and Leslie Ezra Smith.

On February 27 and 28, Dr. Cage Conley will join Mark Clayton Southers, Founding Artistic Director of the Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre Company and Artistic Director of Theater Initiatives of the August Wilson Center, and local playwrights to teach theater arts to Pittsburgh area students, sponsored by the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, to take place at the Byham Theater.  For details, visit: