CT Central Connecticut Expands its Popular Student Writers Project

Feb 6, 2015
Posted by: pfox

Central Connecticut WP has been successful in extending the reach of its young writers programs.

In 2014, for the eighth consecutive year, the CCSWP was able to say that it held its largest-ever young writers institute. Once again, the CCSWP employed several CCWP TCs as instructors while directors Nick Chanese and Lynda Valerie performed more administrative roles. Once again enrollment reflected a mix of returning and new students, some returning for their fourth summer.

But where the difference lay this summer was in the foundation laid for future institutes. In the fall of 2013, CCWP TC Marie Truscinski put Nick Chanese in contact with Wethersfield, CT Asst. Superintendent Sally Dastoli. Nick arranged a face-to-face meeting and presented Sally with a plan that would allow Wethersfield to host a CCSWP site in one of their buildings. Wethersfield had recently lost funding for its summer enrichment programs, and Sally thought the CCSWP would provide a perfect opportunity to maintain enrichment opportunities for Wethersfield students. After a few follow-up meetings, a partnership was formed between the CCSWP and Wethersfield.  The district promised to promote the CCSWP in all their elementary and middle schools. The CCWSP promised to give preference to Wethersfield students, while still making spots available for students from surrounding areas. Nick was invited to attend two PTO meetings in the district to present the program to community member and leaders, and, finally, the district gave the CCSWP access to spaces and technology in their middle school for a nominal fee.

In addition to the Wethersfield program, the CCSWP continued its partnership with the New Britain, CT district. As they have in years past, New Britain sponsored ten district students to attend the New Britain CCSWP site. New Britain also provided spaces and technology in one of their elementary schools for no charge. The CCSWP also hired two new former CCWP TCs to teach the New Britain site, both of whom are New Britain teachers. Both sites were very successful. The CCSWP held its largest-ever poetry institute in Wethersfield, and had all but two poetry participants take part in the entire three-week program. The CCSWP published its fourth professional-quality anthology with work from each and every student who took part in the CCSWP. Careful planning and budgeting also turned the 2014 CCSWP into the most financially successful program to date. While it still does not generate a great deal of money, it is self-supporting and allows for some funds to be returned to the CCWP. Most importantly, the summer set forth a path for summers to come. Wethersfield has agreed to host future programs, as has New Britain. Because of this model, at least two other districts have expressed interest in hosting sites of their own. It would seem that the CCSWP is poised for significant growth and exposure over the next few years.

CCSWP The Central Connecticut Student Writing Project