SC Upstate WP Seeks Site Sustainability Through Revising and Refining the Summer Institute

Nov 7, 2014
Posted by: tracey.flores

SC Upstate Writing Project continuously reflects, revises, and refines SI model to build site leadership and nurture the talents of the TCs. 

The UWP ISI is structured around the premise that Summer Scholars are writers, researchers, and leaders.  Two frameworks illustrate this belief and guide our work: teachers who write and writers who teach. Our intent is to develop teacher-leaders who can not only lead other teachers in their schools, but also will be able to participate in all aspects of work at the site.  We aim for our teacher-consultants to represent the UWP at professional meetings, conferences, and potentially lead in-service professional development for other teachers.  After each summer institute, we invite selected scholars to join our in-service team for the following year, which is a critical step for sustaining the work of our site. The ISI drives the work that goes on at the UWP site. As we are growing and changing, the knowledge that comes out of the ISI fuels the success of our work. During the ISI, Dawn Hawkins invited some of the participants to join her in July for the Summer Inquiry Sessions to reflect and revise their demos for the work of providing professional development to schools. 

Including content teachers into the ISI was a focus for this year. Based on our i3 CRWP grant and contracted inservice work for the 2014-2015 school year writing in content areas was requested. With this focus we recruited nine middle and high school content teachers, four of which were able to complete the ISI. Of the four that completed the ISI, two came from an i3 CRWP district and two from TC school partnerships. These four content TCs are now able to assist as we plan for content inservice.

Embedding digital technology instruction into the ISI has been a focus for UWP.  During the past ISI, teachers spent several afternoons each week learning about new technologies they could use in their classroom and “playing” with these new digital spacesA Clemson doctoral student, Emily Howell, led these sessions.  Emily participated in the ISI as a scholar and led the technology sessions in addition to her ISI participation.  We also incorporated reading groups focused on texts relating to writing for elementary, middle, and high school students.  We continue to offer our SI scholars 3 free credit hours and books.  To accommodate this change, we reduced the face-to-face time spent together in June to 9-2, rather than full days of 9-4. This gave the summer scholars time to write and work on their inquiry and demonstration lessons on their own and online with their writing response groups. Often times, writing groups chose to meet after the ISI day was complete.

Our goal is to continue to feed the work of our site through our ISIs. We have strong professional development partnerships with area schools, and we see the Common Core State Standards and any new standards implemented in South Carolina as an area we can look to develop our own expertise and help area schools going forward.  Our ISI is critical to our success; without it, we cannot build the capacity to continue to do the important work of the site. This year, our ISI included 14 days in June with 2 Pre Institute sessions in the spring and 2 online ZOOM sessions in the spring. The 2014 ISI key dates are listed below:

January 31 - Application Deadline (17 received/7 from teachers at our partner schools)

March 5 - Interview/ISI Overview Session

April 1– Pre-Institute Day

May 5– Pre-Institute Day

June 10-27 - Invitational Summer Institute