Leading Professional Learning

The Challenge of Change: Growth Through Inquiry at the Western Massachusetts Writing Project

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Author: Susan Connell Biggs, Kevin Hodgson, and Bruce Penniman

Summary: This National Writing Project monograph describes the inquiry process undertaken by the leaders at the Western Massachusetts Writing Project when the site faced radical changes and challenges in funding and leadership. In addition to the narrative, it includes a variety of useful resources and tools for engaging in collaborative such as identity mapping, inquiry models, site leadership job descriptions, and more.

Original Date of Publication: 2008

Between 1999 and 2003 the Western Massachusetts Writing Project lost its founding co-director and two-thirds of its funding, and the founding director announced his retirement. These events threatened the very existence of the site.

The authors recount the process of focused inquiry that led to a reorganization of the site, and describe the new structures created to ensure its sustainability.

These structures include shared and rotating leadership, a mentoring task force system that allows for greater access to leadership, website redesign, more purposeful programming, and an ongoing inquiry into the needs, work, and identity of the site.

Original Source: National Writing Project, http://www.nwp.org/cs/public/print/resource/2721

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