National Writing Program Title II SEED Program: Teacher Leadership Development

Project: Research project

Project Details


National Writing Program Title II SEED Program: Teacher Leadership Development National Writing Program Title II SEED Program: Teacher Leadership Development The Central Arizona Writing Project (CAWP) is located within the Department of English at Arizona State University (ASU) in Tempe, Arizona. ASU is the largest university in the country enrolling over 68,000 undergraduate, graduate, and professional students in metropolitan Phoenix, Arizona, the nations fifth largest city. ASU serves students on four campuses located in key geographic locations across the central valley. CAWP is housed at the ASUs flagship Tempe campus. The CAWP is committed to serving a diverse population of teachers and to addressing issues of equity, poverty, and underserved and underrepresented students in K-12 schools. We actively recruit teachers from various cultural and socio-economic backgrounds who teach in nonmainstream schools. We reach out to school districts across the central valley to try to serve teachers and students from all walks of life. Because CAWP is housed in such an urban area, teachers in the project generally work with ethnically and linguistically diverse, low-income, urban working class, migrant workers, first-generation, and middle and upper class student populations. We are developing networks across Phoenix, Tempe, Mesa, Chandler, Gilbert, Scottsdale, and in Indigenous communities to promote authentic writing experiences in classrooms and support teachers in working with diverse student populations across the central valley. Educators working in K-12 public schools throughout the greater Phoenix area are working under more challenging circumstances than ever before. Arizona has been the epicenter of immigration politics since the conception of Governor Jan Brewers controversial Senate Bill 1070, the law that would have required police to question a persons citizenship if they had reason to doubt s/he was in the country legally. Arizona communities from Flagstaff to Tucson have been in a state of turmoil with Hispanic families of all citizenship statuses questioning their ability to continue living in the state. Classroom teachers have been faced with a daunting task: convincing their Hispanic students that they are safe and entitled to an education in this country. Arizona governor Jan Brewer also recently signed HB 2281 into law prohibiting public schools from teaching courses that are designed primarily for pupils of a particular ethnic group, in other words, any ethnic studies, or non-European-centered accounts of U.S. or Arizonan history. According to the law these courses promote the overthrow of the United States government or promote resentment toward a race or class of people. Ethnic solidarity is named as a threat to the state. Like SB 1070, this legislation clearly demonizes non-white immigrants. Phoenix has also been the target of immigration sweeps by federal and especially county enforcement officers. Social workers report that many parents living illegally in Arizona are too scared to seek the services their citizen children require, and educators find students are transient and apt to disappear. Bilingual education has been rejected and English Language Development is mandated by the State to be delivered through Structured English Immersion (SEI) programs. These programs are provided and authored by the Arizona Department of Education (ADE) and can only be modified with explicit written consent. Technology spending also ranks Arizona at the bottom of the states. Technology investments are centered in urban districts with high local property taxes for investment. Programs to acquire technologies to support ELL learners are locally grant-funded and unequally distributed across districts and even schools. NWP 2013 2014 SEED Professional Development in a High Need School 1. Partner School The Central Arizona Writing Project (CAWP) has selected Arizona State University Preparatory Academy Phoenix Elementary School (ASU Prep) in downtown Phoenix, Arizona as our partner school for the 2013-2014 NWP SEED Professional Development in a High-Need School Grant. ASU Prep is a free-public K-11 charter school sponsored by Arizona State University (ASU) in partnership with Phoenix Elementary School District in Phoenix, Arizona. This school serves over 1100 students and 70% of the schools student body are Latino/a and live in the urban downtown neighborhood surrounding the school. Sixty-nine percent of the students come from homes where Spanish or another language other than English is spoken. ASU Prep receives Title I funds with over 74% of the schools student body qualifying for free or reduced lunch (NCES, 2013). CAWP selected this particular school because we have developed a strong working relationship and collaboration with the teaching staff and the administrative team and we are committed to serving low-income ethnically and linguistically diverse urban schools in the greater Phoenix area. Our writing project site maintains a close research and mentoring relationship with ASU Prep through professional development, teacher training for pre and inservice K-11 English teachers, and the CAWP Invitational Summer Institute (ISI) program. This school is an ideal site to partner for this grant because we have already established a culture of collaboration around the teaching of writing and inquiry. This grant represents an opportunity for CAWP to tap into and extend the strong leadership cohort and progressive educational climate that already exists within the school. For example, ten members of the ASU Prep faculty are CAWP TCs who have participated in CAWPs ISI, continuity, and inservice programs in past years. After having experienced the benefits of on-going, co-planned professional development with CAWP, ASU Preps faculty and administration are eager to begin a more formal partnership with a NWP local site. ASU Prep teachers are also already involved with the NWP on a local, regional, and national scale. In AY 2012-2013, CAWP provided funding for a teacher inquiry group on the teaching of college and careerready writing for 5 ASU Prep teacher consultants who had participated in the 2012 CAWP ISI. The inquiry group met in-person and online (using the platform created with the support of a NWP Online Learning Experience SEED Grant) over the course of one semester. TCs from ASU Prep also assisted with a CAWP spring Saturday Institute on college and career-ready writing and presented examples of their inquiry work at the 2013 ISI. One of the ASU Prep teachers presented her work on peer writing at the NWP Northwest Inland Writing Spring Conference and two ASU Prep teachers are attending the NWP Scoring Conference in Chicago, IL this summer. This grant provides a unique opportunity to expand, strengthen, and support a core group of TCs from ASU Prep in examining and disseminating best practices for the teaching of writing to their students, their school, CAWP, and the NWP. Preliminary conversations with Deborah Gonzalez, Chief Academic Officer at ASU Preparatory, and Dr. Josephine Marsh, Professor in Residence for ASU Preparatory, about further partnering between ASU Prep have been productive and bidirectional. The administrators and teachers at ASU Prep are eager to AZ CAWP NWP 2013-2014 SEED Grant Proposal: PD in a High-Need School Page 2 of 5 work with CAWP and are committed to accessing professional development through CAWP in 2013- 2014 and in years to come. Through the support of this grant, the ASU Prep administrative team and teachers, along with the CAWP leadership team, envision a professional development program for a core group of 11 grade 4-8 teachers to participate in a yearlong teacher inquiry group on the teaching of writing. ASU Prep has committed to co-planning the professional development program and assuring time for the core group of teachers to participate in at least 30 hours of professional development work during school hours on-site and after school hours, on-site and as ASU. ASU Prep has agreed to provide professional development time during school hours once a month as a part of the elementary teachers professional development planning period that is intended for literacy. The inquiry group will serve as a place for teachers to launch, conduct, and write-up teacher-led inquiry projects on the teaching of college and career-ready writing in their classrooms. The group will meet once a month in person and continually through an online learning space. ASU Prep has also agreed to provide access to space on campus for our study group to meet during school hours, afterschool, and on occasional weekends. CAWP will help create an online learning and inquiry space for the ASU Prep teachers to share classroom demo lessons, student artifacts and writing samples, and reflect on their inquiry work into the teaching of writing. The CAWP leadership team will also work with ASU Prep teachers to share demo lessons face-to-face, share and respond to inquiry writing online and in-person, and examine student work. This grant will support a core team of teachers and the CAWP leadership team who are invested in teacher inquiry on the teaching of writing. With a significant number of CAWP TCs already at the school, the continuation of professional development, inquiry work, and innovative and responsive teaching is not dependent on future funding and involves a critical mass of teachers working across disciplines and grade levels. This is a school that will be connected to CAWP for years to come; however, a year of NWP funding will help establish a more formal partnership and will provide a base with which to establish a long-term and sustainable working relationship.
Effective start/end date7/1/129/30/14


  • US Department of Education (DOEd): $72,000.00


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