Tuesday, April 5, 2011

#blog4nwp: Writing for our Students, Ourselves

#blog4nwp is a grassroots effort to show support for the National Writing Project. The goal is to reach 1,000 posts by April 8 to raise awareness about federal funding cuts to The National Writing Project.  I have chronicled the effects of the Writing Project on my career as a teacher and on my students in prior blog posts.  Today I am posting a letter I sent Congresswoman Susan Davis when the Writing Project was threatened by budget cuts years ago.  Worthwhile professional development for teachers, I argue, is worthy of our time and taxes. 

 Representative Davis:

I once had the pleasure of sitting next to you on a Southwest Airlines flight. At the time I was a young teacher fresh out of Teach for America in Washington, D.C., who had come back to San Diego to be near my family and teach in one of the schools that launched me to Yale College and into what I will characterize as my successful career in public education. I shared with you my excitement at being involved in the San Diego Area Writing Project, a professional organization which had provided me with inspiring mentors and a desire to be an educator dedicated to continual improvement of my craft. You asked me thoughtful questions and I felt listened to and encouraged by you.

Today I am an assistant principal in the high school from which I graduated. I continue to be active in the Writing Project, but more importantly, I have seen how involvement in SDAWP has transformed colleagues' views of themselves as professionals, and how their willingness to share innovative instructional strategies and sound educational philosophies with our staff has created an exciting professional learning community right here on our campus.

We are watching as continued budget cuts devastate the programs and services we provide to our students and increase our class sizes, but as long as inspired educators are among our ranks, we have some hope of continuing to provide relevant, research-based professional development to one another, even as funding for outside support dries up.

The Writing Project has been the single most influential provider of professional development--sought both by our school as an institution and privately by individual teachers--to our staff.

I am writing to urge you to support the National Writing Project as it faces losing its federal funding.
The NWP has 37 years of success in improving literacy among students by supporting the development of their teachers. 

Rep. Davis, I want to thank you for your time and your support, and for that serendipitous plane ride which provided the opportunity for me to talk live and in person with an elected representative I admire. I appreciate your work in our community and support of education.



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