IL Chicago Area WP Accommodates Year Round School Schedules with a Re-envisioned Summer Institute

Feb 26, 2013
Posted by: khamlin

The Chicago Area WP has designed a two-part Summer Institute, called Summer Institute Plus, which accommodates teachers’ schedules throughout the year. 

Adapting the 2011 Summer Seminar in Writing allowed us to reserve some funds and give us time to think outside the box about how to design a new institute in writing.  We wanted to offer an ISI that would allow year round teachers a way to participate, give exhausted teachers support throughout the school year, and help us use dispense funds over a longer period of time. Former ISI Leader John Nieciak, Roel Vivit and Barbara Kato met in July to reconceptualize an ISI that would concentrate the teacher as writer and writing instruction portion during the summer and the development of a demonstration during the school year.  We called it “Summer Institute Plus” and offered it in two parts: 


Application Deadline           Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Interviews                             Saturday, May 26, 2012

Orientation                            Saturday, June 2, 2012           9 a.m.-noon

Part 1-Summer Institute (2 weeks total) 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.

Week 1  Mon.-Fri.           June 25-29, 2012

Week 2  Mon.-Fri. (not Wed.)  July 2, 3, 5 & 6, 2012               

Part 2 - 2012-2013 School Year (4 weekend meetings - Friday evening and Saturday)  

  • Aug. 24-25, 2012
  • Oct. 5-6, 2012
  • Feb. 15-16, 2013
  • Mar. 29-30, 2013

Part One took place over two weeks during the summer and focused on two areas: Teacher as Writing and Teaching Writing. We then scheduled Part Two over four weekend sessions (Friday evening-Saturday all day) throughout the 2012-2013 school year where teachers could follow a writing area of interest (e.g. writing in the content areas, poetry, revising), perform further inquiry in their classrooms, and learn how to develop a presentation to share with other teachers.

We found that teachers were much more enthusiastic about this calendar, and we accepted 12 wonderful participants.  At this point, they have met four times since the summer (twice in August 2012 and twice in October 2012), and the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive and the attendance has been consistently high.  Participants say that they feel they are still continuing to learn and feel the support of the colleagues.  They appreciate that they are able to try out ideas in their classroom and collect student samples to show what students are learning as a result of their writing instruction.  They like the span of time between sessions so they have time to think about, ask questions, do more reading, and teach in their classrooms as they develop their presentations.

The one drawback we found was that a two-week schedule with only one weekend didn’t allow participants enough time to work on their own writing and truly develop their pieces.  So for 2013, we have adjusted the schedule. . . 

You'll find more information about the 2015 Summer Institute Plus, including a link to the application here.