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Teachers Across Greater Rochester Connect in Summer Learning Opportunities—Focus on Improving Student Writing in the Common Core Era

2013 GVWP Summer InstituteLike their students, teachers across Monroe and surrounding counties look forward to their summer vacation. This summer, some teachers will devote a portion of their time to continue learning new ways to improve the teaching of writing in area schools. Nearly a dozen teachers will attend the Invitational Genesee Valley Writing Project Summer Institute, running July 7 to 25 in LeChase Hall on the University of Rochester’s River Campus. This year’s Institute will include an in-depth focus on Common Core.
The Annual Summer Institute, the heart of the Genesee Valley Writing Project (GVWP), is a three-week long intensive professional development experience for teachers from urban, suburban, and rural regions who are committed to expanding their knowledge and understanding of the new Common Core standards and modules. In addition to participating in a collaborative writing project, the Summer Institute will provide a space for GVWP participants, both new and returning teachers, to do research writing and publishing. During the Summer Institute, teachers will also have the opportunity to implement their Common Core ideas with kindergarten through eighth-grade students participating in the Horizons at Warner summer enrichment program.
“Common Core mandates teaching writing in all subjects, not just in English classes,” says Warner School Professor Joanne Larson, director of the GVWP. “A new focus on this year’s Summer Institute will allow teachers to share and learn Writing Project-infused strategies for adapting and improving classroom writing instruction that will exceed the Common Core standards.”
Summer Institute participants, representing teachers from various disciplines and grade levels, from early childhood to college level, including teaching students with disabilities, teach in the Rochester City School District; West Irondequoit Central School District; Penfield Central School District; Rush-Henrietta Central School District; Sodus Central School District; Gananda Central School District; Finger Lakes Technical & Career Center; and The Norman Howard School, a local private school for students with disabilities.  
The GVWP’s successful model for professional development brings teachers together to study the latest research on teaching writing and share knowledge, expertise, and effective classroom practices with one another. The program also creates professional communities that help teachers keep instruction fresh and vibrant in the classroom and prepares teacher-leaders who can provide professional development within their school districts. All follow-up programs and activities—community outreach programs, mini-conferences, school-based inservice workshops, collaborative partnerships, and teacher study groups—will evolve from the centerpiece of the Summer Institute and take place throughout the remainder of the year.
While centered on professional development for educators, the GVWP site also continues to expand its work with youth through an annual Young Writers Summer Camp for sixth- to twelfth-grade students to learn and improve their prose and writing skills. This year’s camp will take place Aug. 4 to 8 on River Campus.
Sponsored by and housed within the Warner School and administered through the Warner Center for Professional Development and Education Reform, the GVWP is the Greater Rochester site of the National Writing Project (NWP), a collaborative school-university partnership and federally-funded professional network linking teachers at over 200 university-based sites across the country. With funding from the U.S. Department of Education, National Science Foundation, private foundations, universities, and a variety of funders, Writing Project sites serve all 50 states and host an array of high-quality professional development activities.
National research studies have shown that professional development programs designed and delivered by NWP sites have a positive effect on the writing achievement of students across grade levels, schools, and contexts. To learn more, visit http://www.nwp.org/cs/public/print/resource/3208.
For more information about the GVWP, visit www.warner.rochester.edu/researchprojects/projects/GVWP, or contact Joanne Larson at (585) 275-0900 or by e-mail at jlarson@warner.rochester.edu.
About the Warner School of Education
Founded in 1958, the University of Rochester’s Warner School of Education (www.warner.rochester.edu) offers master’s and doctoral degree programs in teaching and curriculum, school leadership, higher education, educational policy, counseling, human development, and health professions education. The Warner School of Education offers a new accelerated option for its EdD programs that allows eligible students to earn a doctorate in education in as few as three years part time while holding a professional job in the same field. The Warner School of Education is recognized both regionally and nationally for its tradition of preparing practitioners and researchers to become leaders and agents of change in schools, universities, and community agencies; generating and disseminating research; and actively participating in education reform. 
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Media Contact: Theresa Danylak
585.275.0777; 585.278.6273 (cell)


Tags: Center for Professional Development and Education Reform, Genesee Valley Writing Project, Joanne Larson, professional development, writing instruction