The monthly newsletter of the National Writing Project
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January 2017
The 2016 Wooster ISI: A Catalyst
by Mike Sexton

“This doesn’t happen; I have never seen teachers who come back from a professional development experience react this way.  Ever.”

~ Mr. Rich Leone,  Director of Secondary Education of Wooster City Schools

     How much can one workshop impact a school district?
Wooster City Schools sponsored eight participants to attend the 2016 National Writing Project Invitational Summer Institute (ISI). Following the ISI, Wooster participants continued to meet over the summer, forming the Woo Writers:

  1. The Woo Writers received three grants from the NWP-KSU chapter with which we purchased resources to support reading workshops and collaboration with colleagues.
  2. Wooster High School and Edgewood Middle School administrators agreed to purchase two of Dr. Wilfong’s books for continued professional development in response to the genuine excitement the ISI inspired.
  3. Woo Writers have shared writing strategies with Edgewood Middle School cross-curricular teams and engaged in book studies.
  4. Woo Writers overhauled the 8th grade writing curriculum, utilizing concepts from the summer workshops.
  5. Woo Writers used Dr. Wilfong’s Nonfiction Strategies that Work to create cross-curricular writing assignments with the history department.
  6. One Woo Writer became a Teaching Consultant for NWP-KSU Leadership Council.
  7. One Woo Writer became a co-instructor at one of the NWP-KSU satellite sites.
  8. Two Woo Writers have been accepted as part of the team to develop the Common Core Standard-based model curriculum for Ohio.
  9. One Woo Writer will present during the 2017 OCTELA Spring Conference.
  10. One Woo Writer co-authored a 3-year ELA action plan for the Wooster City School District Leadership Team English sub-committee.
  11. All of the Woo Writers formed a committee with ELA department heads at the middle and high school level to develop a writing instructional skill/concept scaffold with the intention of developing K-12 vertical alignment.
     The 2016 Wooster ISI was a catalyst for the Woo Writers, and all of these accomplishments speak to the capacity for professionalism that the NWP ISI unlocks in all teachers.
     Your school can gain the same level of energy, too, through ISI! See below for information on registering for the summer 2017 institute.
Register and Encourage Colleagues to Attend One of Five ISI Sites in 2017!
     NWP-KSU's Invitational Summer Institute (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:
  • 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 about our programs for educators.
Middle School and High School Teachers:
College-Ready Writers Program Advanced Institute
        NWP-KSU plans to apply for a grant to fund an Advanced Institute for the NWP College-Ready Writers Program (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
TC Council to Meet January 21
     The NWP-KSU TC Council meets on a regular basis to plan programs and workshops for teachers throughout Northeast Ohio. Our next meeting is Saturday, January 21. If you have suggestions for NWP-KSU that we can discuss at the meeting, please email co-director Kate Walley at
The "Wandering" Book Club
Date: Wednesday, January 18
Time: 6 p.m.
Place: Erie Street Kitchen, Venice Cafe, 163 W. Erie in Kent

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
by Betty Smith

     "A poignant and moving tale filled with compassion and cruelty, laughter and heartache, crowded with life and people and incident. The story of young, sensitive, and idealistic Francie Nolan and her bittersweet formative years in the slums of Williamsburg has enchanted and inspired millions of readers for more than sixty years. By turns overwhelming, sublime, heartbreaking, and uplifting, the daily experiences of the unforgettable Nolans are raw with honesty and tenderly threaded with family connectedness -- in a work of literary art that brilliantly captures a unique time and place as well as incredibly rich moments of universal experience." ~

     Mark your calendar for the following meeting dates. Books and locations will be announced soon.

     Wednesday, February 15, 6 p.m.
     Wednesday, March 15, 6 p.m.
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, January 9: Brave Enough
by Cheryl Strayed

     " From the best-selling author of Wild, a collection of quotes - drawn from the wide range of her writings - that capture her wisdom, courage, and outspoken humor, presented in a gift-sized package that's as irresistible to give as it is to receive. " ~

Monday, February 13: Another Brooklyn by Jaccqueline Woodson
Monday, March 20: The March Trilogy by John Lewis
Monday, April 24: TBD. Bring your book picks or ideas to the next few meetings as we plan for spring and summer!
     Send an email to if you would like help getting a book club started in your area.
Thank You, Scholastic Judges!
     The Scholastic Awards recognize teens in grades 7-12 for creative expression in 29 categories of art and writing. For the past four years, NWP-KSU has been a part of a collaborative effort with Scholastic to provide judges for the annual Writing Contest.
      TC Nicole Mathias would like to thank the many readers who have volunteered their time to this program that supports student writing. This year, as always, we have more than 15 people who have volunteered to judge. Judging will take place in January.
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 © 2017 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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