(Re)Visioning Site Work: Extending the Reach and Relevance of NWP Sites

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Author: J. Elaine White, Jane Frick, and Tom Pankiewicz

Summary: This monograph captures how two National Writing Project sites, at different points in their institutional lives, used visioning retreats as a strategy to take stock of their work and look forward in order to align programs with capacity, to develop leadership, and to continue to engage teachers in the professional community of the site. By engaging teacher leaders in collective inquiry at visioning retreats, both sites continued to build leadership capacity and support new learning. Of interest to site and program leadership teams, this resource describes in detail both sites’ planning process and subsequent results and includes an extensive appendix with support materials that are adaptable to planning visioning and similar types of retreats.

Literacy Coaches Explore Their Work Through Vignettes

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Author: Carrie Usui

Summary: What is the work of a literacy coach? Twelve UCLA Writing Project teacher-consultants serving as literacy coaches in the LA Unified School District spent a weekend retreat exploring that question by writing vignettes as a way to illustrate what it is they do as coaches. Here they share some of what they do and how it makes a difference for students and teachers in the schools where they coach.

Envisioning Leadership Transitions as Moments of Opportunity

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Author: Karen Hamlin

Summary: This article describes the Oregon Writing Project’s visioning retreat and includes links to their retreat invitation, their annotated list of online resources, retreat agenda, and newsletter. This resource will help in building site capacity when challenges and opportunities of transition arise.

A Weekend of Writing Isn’t a Weekend of Work

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Author: Cheryl North-Coleman

Summary: This article describes ideas for recruiting for professional writing retreats, shaping the retreat events, and providing necessary equipment and materials. Most of all, it reminds retreat planners and facilitators of the importance and centrality of time to write.

Designing a Writing Retreat and Building Site Leadership on a Small Budget

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Author: Nancy Mellin McCracken & Barbara Smith

Summary: This article describes the National Writing Project at Kent State University’s journey into the development of a sustainable Professional Writing Retreat that not only supported teachers’ professional writing but also contributed to the development of new site leadership. The goals and priorities that guided their work may serve as a helpful guide for teacher leaders planning their own writing retreats.  CONTINUE READING

Annotated Bibliography for NWP Professional Writing Retreats

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Summary: The purpose of this annotated bibliography is to showcase examples of writing that were developed at NWP Professional Writing Retreats. From pieces on teacher practice to books about the teaching of writing, this bibliography has something of interest for teachers interested in developing their own or learning from other teacher writers’ professional writing.  The range of genres highlights the kind of writing that is supported at NWP Professional Writing Retreats, and offers inspiration for sites interested in creating their own forums to support teachers as writers.

Pre-Retreat Coaching Leads to a More Successful Writing Retreat

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Author: Rebeca García-González

Summary: This article describes how pre-retreat coaching can be organized to deepen the effectiveness of a Professional Writing Retreat. This scaffolding prior to the event can be designed to help participants refine, adjust, or modify their writing plans and help build an early connection to a veteran site leader or retreat facilitator. Included are a brief list of pre-retreat coaching ideas and an example of an email to a writing retreat participant.

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 leaders at the Western Massachusetts Writing Project when the site faced radical changes and challenges in funding and leadership. This process led to a reorganization of the site, with new structures created to ensure its sustainability. In addition to the narrative, the monograph includes a variety of useful resources and tools for engaging in collaborative planning such as identity mapping, inquiry models, site leadership job descriptions, and more.

Directors Retreat Strategic Planning Tools

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Author: Susan Biggs and Nick Coles

Summary: Leadership retreats can offer occasions for sites to review current programming and to plan for future work. This short resource describes how several planning and review documents – Strategic Action Planning Template, Timeline, and Collaborative Review – used at NWP Directors Retreats have also been useful to local site leadership teams. The strategic planning tools can be used to develop a collective vision to guide the development and evaluation of site programs. The final review doc, a charette protocol, can be used not only to review programming but also to look at writing and discuss interpretations of student work.

Tapping the Potential: Building Teacher Leadership While Rethinking Your Site

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Author: Ellen Brinkley and Anne-Marie Hall

Summary: Considering a leadership retreat? This article frames the experience of two site directors who used an NWP directors’ retreat as an opportunity to explore ways to invite new teacher leadership for the site. As they addressed site leader strengths, roles, and burnout, they used several writing and thinking exercises to focus on specific talents and interests in site leadership, then looked at teacher leaders who could be invited in and whose work could build capacity for the future.