Coastal Savannah Writing Project Marks First-Year Anniversary
(February 10, 2011) One year ago, the Coastal Savannah Writing Project (CSWP) was established at Armstrong Atlantic State University as the newest university-based site of the National Writing Project (NWP). The CSWP serves the schools and teachers of local school districts—including Savannah-Chatham, the coastal Georgia region and the Jasper and Beaufort school districts in South Carolina—by offering professional development for schools, a four-week summer writing institute, as well as workshops and conferences for teachers. The goal of the NWP is twofold: improving the teaching of writing in our nation’s schools and promoting the use of writing as a learning tool across the curriculum.
The National Writing Project is a federally funded network with more than 200 university-based sites across the country reaching approximately 130,000 participating teachers each year. The Savannah-Chatham County Public School System has partnered with Armstrong’s CSWP and will support teachers through partial funding of the Invitational Summer Institute, along with matching funds from the federal grant and Armstrong.
Lesley Roessing, instructor of adolescent education at Armstrong and author of The Write to Read: Response Journals That Increase Comprehension, serves as CSWP director. Roessing credits her own National Writing Project experience as “changing me from a teacher of writing to a writer, from a teacher of writing to a teacher of writers.” National research studies confirm significant gains in writing performance among students whose teachers participate in NWP programs.
The first CSWP summer institute was held last summer. Eleven teachers from the Savannah-Chatham and Beaufort, S.C., school districts studied and presented successful classroom strategies for teaching writing, researching, and improving their own writing through writing exercises. These Summer Fellows are now eligible to become teacher-consultants for CSWP as part of the NWP “Teachers teaching teachers” mission. Institute participants have already noted results in their classrooms. “My students have actually asked to stay in at recess to revise their writings,” one teacher reported.
CSWP is now also offering monthly Super Strategy Saturday workshops designed to help area teachers improve their literacy teaching skills. These 3-hour workshops and the Spring Strategies Conference scheduled for March 26 are open to all teachers and pre-service teachers.
Applications are now being accepted for the 2011 Summer Institute in Writing. Information about the Coastal Savannah Writing Project, the Summer Institute, professional development offerings, and Saturday workshops and conferences are available on the Website.