The monthly newsletter of the National Writing Project
at Kent State University
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December 2016
Register for Invitational Summer Institute:
Choose from Five Sites in 2017
     Teachers who attend NWP-KSU's Invitational Summer Institute (ISI) consider it a life-changing experience. ISI immerses teachers in a reading- and writing-centered environment where they can share ideas for effective strategies that inspire and engage their students. In 2017, NWP-KSU is offering ISI at five satellite sites. Teachers of all content areas may choose to attend any of the following sites:
     Please share all site information with colleagues - and consider joining a local site yourself to refresh your own ISI memories!  Participation costs are again tiered to meet the needs of Northeast Ohio teachers:
  • Workshop only - $900
  • Workshop plus 3 graduate workshop credit hours (S/U grading) - $1,350
  • Master's or Doctoral level class - Teaching Writing as a Process - $1,485 (subject to KSU Board of Regents)
Register by February 15, 2017! Please email questions to Lori Wilfong, Visit the NWP-KSU website for more information on our programs for educators.
Mahoning Valley Book Club
Time: 6 to 8:30 p.m.
Place: Stonebridge Grill & Tavern (next to Handel's) on Rt. 224,
1497 Boardman-Canfield Rd.

Monday, December 5: Towers Falling
by Jewell Parker Rhodes

     "When her fifth-grade teacher hints that a series of lessons about home and community will culminate with one big answer about two tall towers once visible outside their classroom window, Deja can't help but feel confused. She sets off on a journey of discovery, with new friends Ben and Sabeen by her side. But just as she gets closer to answering big questions about who she is, what America means, and how communities can grow (and heal), she uncovers new questions, too. Like, why does Pop get so angry when she brings up anything about the towers?
     Award-winning author Jewell Parker Rhodes tells a powerful story about young people who weren't alive to witness this defining moment in history, but begin to realize how much it colors their every day." ~

Monday, January 9, 2017: Bring your ideas to the next three meetings!
Send an email to if you would like help getting a book club started in your area.
A Glimpse at the NWP Annual Meeting
     NWP-KSU Director Dr. Alexa Sandmann, Co-Director Dr. Lori Wilfong, and Co-Director Kate Walley recently represented NWP-KSU at the National Writing Project Annual Meeting on November 17 in Atlanta. 
     As well as representing our site throughout the day, Dr. Sandmann served as moderator for the entire roundtable session entitled Adaptations/Innovations to the Invitational Institute. Then Dr. Sandmann joined Dr. Wilfong in sharing our plans for ISI in 2017. Participants were eager to learn how we established five satellite sites.
     At the plenary session, NWP Executive Director Elyse Eidman-Aadal summarized the state of NWP. She emphasized the need to pass on NWP's beliefs about writing to newcomers. We also had the honor of listening to two former National Student Poets:
Madeline LeCesne (2014) and Maya Eashwaran (2016).
     Other highlights included a session entitled Drop Everything and Write and several discussions about NWP's College-Ready Writers Program.
     For further details on the annual meeting and these programs, read Kate Walley's report on the meeting.
NWP-KSU Seeks Middle School
and High School Teachers for Advanced Institute
     NWP-KSU is making plans to become more involved in the National Writing Project's College-Ready Writers Program (CRWP).  According to NWP’s website, “The National Writing Project (NWP) designed the College-Ready Writers Program (CRWP) with teacher-leaders from across the country. The goal is to assure more teachers have the ability to teach college and career-ready writing—with a specific emphasis on writing arguments based on nonfiction texts; an important skill every young adult needs.”
     The National Writing Project at Kent State University plans to apply for a grant to fund an Advanced Institute for CRWP at our site from June 2017 to June 2018.
     We are seeking 12 strong middle and high school TCs in diverse schools to attend the Advanced Institute. NWP would like two-thirds to have experience teaching in a high-needs school (minimum of 50% of students eligible for free or reduced-price lunch).
A 30-hour Advanced Institute will begin with 15 to 20 hours of face-to-face time in the summer of 2017 and continue into the academic year with after-school or Saturday meetings to analyze and share student work and plan for school-based professional development.  As we write the grant and have more detailed plans, we will keep you informed.
     Interested? Contact Kate Walley at
Encouragement from TCs
Allows Leadership Project to Flourish
by Teri Poulos
2015-16 Advanced Leadership Institute  
     When our leadership class started, I had great expectations for what I could accomplish with my high school English department. In each class, I found more book titles, more innovative teaching methods, and I wanted to share this excitement with my colleagues. 
      Unfortunately, my initial efforts foundered, and halfway through the class, I felt perplexed and discouraged. Why is it that I could be a valuable contributing member in a group of teachers a couple of hours from home but not among those I saw every day, those who knew me best? Was I deluding myself? Was I really not the leader I thought I could be?
      Being a part of the Advanced Leadership Institute (ALI) gave me a place to process both my successes and my failures in my classroom and as part of the teaching staff at my high school. When my initial attempts to build interest in a group learning experience fell on deaf ears, my ALI colleagues encouraged me to regroup, affirmed my new project design, and reassured me that the work I was trying to do was worthwhile.
     I began to consider the needs of my colleagues over the dreams grown in my own heart, and I discovered an area (realigning our teaching of research) that seemed to motivate the rest of my team. I found a mutually acceptable time, arranged a meeting place, set an agenda, and bought some snacks.  We met for about an hour and a half, and I led five colleagues in a discussion of what we have done, what we need to change, and how we can move in a more logical, more comprehensive direction. 
     We now have clearer expectations for what each teacher needs to accomplish at his/her grade level and a better vision of what we want for all of our students – at least in this one area. While my efforts did not achieve any ground-breaking or highly innovative changes, I was happy in the end to have done something valuable. Without the support of the ALI group, even these small steps would not have been taken. 
      The value of my NWP-KSU experiences comes not from making everything I do wildly successful, but from having intelligent and inspiring colleagues steadily there to support my efforts in becoming a better teacher and teacher leader every day.
Save the Date
for Write Here! Write Now!
Theme: Literary Connections: Strategies for Engaging Learning
Date: June 15, 2017
Place: Kent State University's Main Campus
Keynote Speaker: Dr. Danielle Gruhler
An educator participates in the Writing Marathon at the 2016 Write Here! Write Now! conference.
Dr. Danielle Gruhler will be the keynote speaker at the 2017 Write Here! Write Now! conference. Photo from the Kent State University website.
Copyright © 2016 NWP-KSU, All rights reserved.

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Room 404 White Hall
Department of Teaching, Leadership, and Curriculum Studies

Kent State University
Kent, Ohio  44242

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Kent State University National Writing Project · Room 404 White Hall · Kent State University · Kent, OH 44242 · USA

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