Core Principles and Programs

The longstanding success of the Western Pa Writing Project depends on its core principles and programs.

Core Principles

  • Teachers who write are the best teachers of writing.
  • Successful practicing teachers are the best teachers of other teachers.
  • Real classroom change happens over time and requires ongoing sharing and reflection on teaching practices.
  • Reflective writing about teaching is a powerful form of learning and communication for teachers.
  • Professional development is ongoing throughout a teacher’s career.
  • Teachers can shape and define their own professional development and can contribute powerfully to the development of their colleagues.
  • Universities and schools can be effective partners in improving teaching and learning.

The Western Pennsylvania Writing Project offers four main programs:

Summer Institute for Teachers. The Summer Institute for Teachers is an invitational fellowship program for experienced teachers to enhance their professional growth and develop their skills as teacher-leaders. Through personal interview, SIT coordinators choose up to twenty teachers drawn from all disciplines and levels, kindergarten through college. In this intensive four-week course, worth six graduate credits from the University of Pittsburgh, teachers share their expertise, pursue their own inquiry questions, and reflect, write and develop as teachers and leaders. SIT is traditionally held during the month of July.

School-Based Professional Development. Through workshop series and partnerships with local schools, WPWP’s professional development programs work with districts to develop strategies for using writing to strengthen learning in the classroom.

Continuity Events.  Ongoing professional development activities designed and led by Writing Project Fellows sustain a community of teachers, learners and writers. Activities include writing retreats and marathons, publications, inquiry and study groups, site leadership, inquiry and study groups, courses, discussions, celebrations. Additional professional development opportunities are offerred by the National Writing Project and the Pennsylvania Writing Project Network.

Young Writers Institute The Young Writers Institute is a two-week summer writing camp for students in grades 4-12 in the Pittsburgh area. Students focus on their writing with experienced teachers and writers.

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