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Central Connecticut WP Advanced Institute Refines PD Sessions and Builds Leadership Capacity

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Feb 6, 2015
Posted by: pfox

A successful Advanced Institute re-energizes and re-engages teacher leaders at the Central Connecticut Writing Project.

In the summer 2014 we conducted a Teacher Leadership Advanced Institute. TCs from several past ISIs participated. It was interesting and gratifying to spend extended time with these teachers again.  We didn't need to create a community of writers.  Even though several of the teachers had not met each other before, the commonality of having experienced an ISI brought everyone in writer-ready. 

Steve Ostrowski has further developed his "Permission to Write" workshop.  His style and presentation have nurtured and reawakened myriad writers. The workshop removes barriers to creativity and explores the art of language.  There are always comments like, " I forgot that I used to love to write."   "I didn't realize I had that in myself."  The teachers in the Advanced Institute soaked it up. The workshop sessions were very productive not only for developing personal writing, but helping to reinforce that creativity and language play need not be confined to creative writing.

The teachers also had opportunities to develop professional development sessions on topics that were important to them.  Following their interests resulted in workshops on:  

  • Summer slide
  • APPs that enhance writing instruction
  • Using Comics to Tackle Narrative, Informational, and Argumentative Writing
  • Building literacy through architecture
  • Conquering the fear of writing
  • Close writing through close reading
  • Shared writing in all grades
  • Building readers and writers project by project
  • Imaging a life

Interestingly, these workshops based on individual interest incidentally addressed many CCSS areas.  We have worked with all these teachers over the last eight years so we were familiar with their previous presentations, which required substantial coaching and conferencing.  This summer, their ability to independently plan, organize and design quality workshops illustrated their growth as teacher leaders. 

There were several times this summer when I thought about the article* that Pat Fox shared with me several years ago.  It is about a director knowing when it is time to step back and make the coffee.   It is a model for how Steve and I want CCWP to function.  During the advanced institute, I happily made the coffee, because the leadership of the group was by the group and for the group.

Another benefit from the advanced institute is the workshop on summer slide that has also been further developed into an article, which will be submitted for publication in January.  Another teacher, new to CCWP, observed how a workshop can evolve into professional writing and is partnering to begin writing an article.

*Knowing When to Make the Coffee: Lessons in Leadership and Change for a New Site Leader