As the CRWP Leadership Team continues to plan for the 2010 Summer Institute, they will continue to build on these themes to find books, articles, and online readings that will enhance participants’ experiences over the four week invitational.
As a way to begin that conversation, we wonder… what professional texts do you think would be worth considering for this summer?
Over the MLK holiday weekend, Troy and I spent four packed-full days with the NWP New-Site Leadership Instituteat the Scottsdale Marriott at McDowell Mountains. The NSLI is an annual invitational retreat bringing together leaders from new sites to explore the work of the NWP beyond the Summer Institute. While there, Troy and I gathered ideas for recruiting potential TCs, discovered different angles from which to look at continuity, considered the yearly budget, and began developing a vision for the CRWP.
One idea that stood out for both of us involved the CRWPs role in teacher professional development. After reading the Rhode Island Monograph, we began discussing the possibilities of combining continuity with the development of TCs presentation skills. By using a regularly scheduled gathering time, a TC will have the opportunity to present a teaching demo, conference session, or professional development seminar to the group. The group then uses a protocol similar to that used in writing groups to help the presenter revise his or her session. This may prove to be a great way to keep TCs connected, spread the name of the CRWP, and to promote promising practice throughout the profession.
The work at the NSLI was GRUELING, and opportunities to enjoy the gorgeous, sunny, 75 degree days were limited to a few stolen minutes here and there, but it was a greatly focusing weekend that left me excited and invigorated for the year to come!
Tuesday, December 8th, 2009 marked the Chippewa River Writing Project’s first annual Holiday Party, coordinated by co-director Kathy Kurtze. Members of the CRWP team reunited once again at the Anspach Hall Writing Center to celebrate friends and fellowship during the holiday season, and anticipate the future of the CRWP as it moves into the New Year.
The evening featured delicious homemade snacks, a gift exchange full of surprises, and time for journaling, as members of the team recalled and shared their favorite holiday memories.
While the holidays offer a moment to relax with friends and family, they are also a time that reminds members of the CRWP of the teamwork and camaraderie that has carried them through their first, exciting year as a NWP site. Now, with January upon us, the leadership team turns once more to the work ahead of them as they plan for growth and development into 2010, beginning with Troy Hicks and Penny Lew attending the National Writing Project’s New Site Leadership Retreat over MLK weekend.
The three-day event took place at Philadelphia’s Downtown Sheraton Hotel and Conference Center from November 19th to the 21st, and was held in conjunction with the NCTE’s annual convention. Participants were able to attend a variety of interactive learning sessions, as well as socialize and meet other members of NWP sites from around the country.
Kathy Kurtze, one of CRWP’s K-12 co-directors, felt positive about her experience. “I loved meeting people from all over the United States and sharing our passion for the Writing Project. Learning from my peers, hearing their stories, and sharing in their successes was exhilarating.”
CRWP joins nine other sites from around the nation in being newly welcomed into the NWP for the year of 2009. This makes CRWP the eleventh site representing the state of Michigan. All sites were welcomed at a general session hosted by NWP Executive Director Sharon J. Washington, with a featured poetry reading from 2001-3 National Poet Laureate Billy Collins.
“For the Chippewa River Writing Project, we had an exciting end to our first official year as a National Writing Project site when we were introduced at the NWP Annual Meeting in Philadelphia,” states CRWP Director, Troy Hicks. “I am thrilled that we were able to bring nearly all of our leadership team for this first annual meeting, and look forward to sharing the great ideas that we learned there as we plan for 2010.”
CRWP Technology Liaison Sara Beauchamp-Hicks, who facilitated a session on integrating newer technologies into site leadership, commented on the overall experience. “For me the annual meeting is an energizing event. I love the feeling of playing a small part in such a monumental educational movement. There is definitely something special about all the teachers who are involved in the NWP — and you can feel that energy when you attend the annual meeting.”
Friday morning also marked the date of the National Writing Projects of Michigan Site Leaders Annual Meeting, which five members of the CRWP Leadership Team were able to attend. Site leaders discussed future development and planned projects for Michigan sites up into the coming year, including the possibility of a summer retreat at CMU next August for the state network.
The NWP Annual Meeting wrapped up Saturday, and CRWP’s six attendees once more returned to work in Michigan, exhilarated by the experience. CRWP K-12 Co-Director Penny Lew sums up the event: “My first NWP annual meeting was an amazing, inspiring experience, and what great timing! November is always the month I begin to doubt myself as an educator; the newness of the school year has worn off, and the kids and I are both realizing this isn’t the honeymoon we thought it was. NWP, however, gave me renewal—refocused my thinking, reminded me of what an important and satisfying vocation I’ve found.”
As CRWP applies for continued funding and plans for its 2010 Summer Institute, the experience that site leaders had at the annual meeting will guide their work and help them prepare for the new year. All look forward to attending NWP’s 2010 Annual Meeting next November in Orlando, Florida.