University of Rochester

Institute Offers Outlet for Local Teachers to Polish Writing Instruction over Summer Vacation

July 2, 2010

Teachers at the Genesee Valley Writing Project Summer Institute will relive what it's like to be students again as they help each other become better writers and, in the process, better teachers. The Genesee Valley Writing Project will host 12 teachers at its 2010 Summer Institute, beginning July 6.

The intensive four-week program, the heart of the Genesee Valley Writing Project, will equip teachers with innovative strategies for helping students to improve their writing back in the classroom. The Institute will meet 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. four days a week, from July 6 through 30, at the University of Rochester's Warner School of Education. The site director is Professor Joanne Larson, a leading scholar in new literacies who works toward empowering students to achieve the kinds of literacy needed to be successful.

The Genesee Valley Writing Project Summer Institute participants, representing elementary, middle, and high school teachers from various disciplines, teach in the Rush-Henrietta Central School District, Rochester City School District, Greece Central School District, Honeoye Falls-Lima Central School District, Webster Central School District, Batavia City School District, Pittsford Central School District, Geneseo Central School District, and Derech HaTorah of Rochester.

During the four weeks, teachers will have the opportunity to study the latest research on the teaching of writing and share knowledge, expertise, and effective classroom practices. They also will be able to explore current issues related to understanding the power of writing to support social justice work. Fellows will read about and participate in critical literacy projects where students and teachers work to change local problems or social justice issues.

"The community of teachers forming the 2010 Summer Institute will take their experiences back to their school districts next fall where they will be able to help students improve their writing," says Larson, "and share new ideas, approaches, and practices essential to enhancing student writing and learning with other teachers."

Sponsored by and housed within the Warner School, the Genesee Valley Writing Project serves teachers and students from urban, suburban, and rural regions of Monroe and surrounding counties. The Genesee Valley Writing Project, funded by a grant from the National Writing Project (NWP), is a collaborative school-university partnership that is dedicated to advancing and supporting writing and literacy development throughout area schools through teacher-centered professional development. All follow-up programs and activities—community outreach programs, school-based inservice workshops, collaborative partnerships, and teacher study groups—will evolve from the centerpiece of the Summer Institute and will take place throughout the remainder of the year.

The NWP is a nationwide network of educators working together to improve the teaching of writing in the nation's schools and in other settings. NWP provides high-quality professional development to teachers in a variety of disciplines and at all levels, from early childhood through college. Through its network of more than 200 university-based sites, NWP develops the leadership, programs, and research needed for teachers to help students become successful writers and learners.

For more information about the Genesee Valley Writing Project, visit, or contact Joanne Larson at (585) 275-0900 or by e-mail at

About the Warner School of Education
Founded in 1958, the University of Rochester's Warner School of Education offers master's and doctoral degree programs in teaching and curriculum, school leadership, higher education, counseling, human development, and educational policy. The Warner School of Education offers a new accelerated option for its Ed.D. programs that allows eligible students to earn a doctorate in education in as few as three years part time while holding a professional job in the same field. The Warner School of Education is recognized both regionally and nationally for its tradition of preparing practitioners and researchers to become leaders and agents of change in schools, universities, and community agencies; generating and disseminating research; and actively participating in education reform.