University of Rochester

Genesee Valley Writing Project Gears Up for 2011 Summer Institute

February 3, 2011

Local Classroom Teachers Encouraged to Apply by March 1

The Genesee Valley Writing Project (GVWP) seeks local classroom teachers from all subjects and all grade levels, from pre-kindergarten to university level, for its 2011 Summer Institute to be held from July 5 through 29, four days a week, at the University of Rochester's Warner School of Education. Applications must be submitted by March 1.

The Annual Summer Institute, hosted by the Warner School and funded by the National Writing Project (NWP), gives teachers the opportunity to learn new teaching strategies to improve their students' writing skills, study the latest research, learn effective classroom practices, and improve their knowledge of writing by writing themselves.

The GVWP will accept up to 20 teachers to participate as GVWP Fellows in the Invitational Summer Institute. All participating teachers will receive a $150 fellowship award and three free graduate credits toward a master's or doctoral degree at the Warner School. Applicants must be practicing teachers from urban and suburban districts in Monroe County and rural districts in Ontario, Livingston, and Wayne Counties who embrace writing and literacy as central components of learning in the classroom and who are looking for innovative ways to integrate literacy practices into learning.

"We are seeking strong classroom teachers and other educators who are helping students to become better writers, who promote equity for all students, and who are interested in taking on leadership in the ongoing work of the Genesee Valley Writing Project," says Warner School Professor Joanne Larson who directs the GVWP. "Our goal is to reinvigorate teachers and to help them take new ideas and inspiration into the upcoming academic year. Every year, teachers come out of the Summer Institute learning how to be better writers and teachers of writing."

Using a teachers-teaching-teachers model, the GVWP allows participating teachers to tap into what is known about writing and the teaching of writing from all sources—key research findings, important books and articles, and most importantly, the classroom practices of effective and successful teachers. The Summer Institute, the heart of the GVWP, will feature collaborative writing groups, teacher demonstration workshops, reading research groups, and presentations that draw from local and national literacy expertise.

Teachers also will learn to embrace an array of digital media tools for teaching writing across subject areas and helping students to become accomplished writers in the digital age. A unique component of this year's Summer Institute will be a focus on integrating new media and technology into classroom instruction.

At a time when schools are challenged by budget setbacks and teachers are limited with what and how they can teach due to a growing emphasis on standardized tests, technological advances and resources that present many opportunities to improve educational outcomes are hard to come by. During the Summer Institute, teachers will learn innovative ways to incorporate classroom technology and new digital media to enhance, differentiate, and support classroom teaching of writing in their school districts and will receive ongoing support as they continue these practices over the academic year.

A grant from the NWP funds the Fellows' participation. The community of teacher leaders formed during the Summer Institute becomes the foundation for the continuing work of the GVWP. Following the Summer Institute, teachers become members of the Genesee Valley Writing Project and National Writing Project and are invited to participate in ongoing professional development related to teaching and writing and other writing project activities. Some of these follow-up activities include community outreach programs, mini-conferences, school-based inservice workshops, collaborative partnerships, and teacher study groups.

The NWP is the most significant coordinated effort to improve writing in America. NWP sites, located on more than 200 university and college campuses, serve over 135,000 participants annually. Through its professional development model, NWP develops the leadership, programs, and research needed for teachers to help students become successful writers and learners. To learn more about the NWP, visit

To receive an application or for more information about the GVWP 2011 Summer Institute, 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.