University of Rochester

Genesee Valley Writing Project, The College at Brockport Partner to Offer New Bilingual Literacy Component to Summer Institute

July 2, 2008

2008 Writing Project Summer Institute Kicks off July 7

Eighteen local educators participating in the 2008 Genesee Valley Writing Project Summer Institute will have the opportunity to explore bilingual literacy education thanks to a $15,000 Research Foundation grant through The College at Brockport State University of New York. The four-week invitational Summer Institute, which will be held on the University of Rochester campus from July 7 to August 1, will offer teachers ways to discuss and discover new practices for teaching in bilingual classrooms.

One of the most pressing questions for schools today concerns how teachers provide literacy instruction to a rapidly growing diverse population of bilingual children. The 2008 Summer Institute, the heart of the Genesee Valley Writing Project, aims to address these diversity concerns.

"The additional funding from The College at Brockport will provide the Genesee Valley Writing Project an opportunity to further its professional development activities to improve literacy instruction for children with limited English proficiency," said Ruthanne Vitagliano, director of the Genesee Valley Writing Project and assistant professor at the University of Rochester's Warner School of Education. "The new Writing Project Fellows will be able to take their knowledge, skills, and creative tools back to the classroom this fall to help bilingual children live up to their potential."

Funding for the new bilingual literacy component of the Genesee Valley Writing Project has been awarded by the Title III Grant Office at The College at Brockport to provide special bilingual literacy programming and to purchase equipment and materials for the 2008 Genesee Valley Writing Project Fellows. Similar to the goals of the Genesee Valley Writing Project, the Title III Grant Office seeks to advance and support writing and literacy development among all children throughout area schools.

"Creating awareness of bilingual literacy among mainly mainstream teachers is the first step toward improving the learning outcomes of bilingual children," explained Alis Simpson, project director of the Title III Grant at The College at Brockport. "This unique partnership with the Genesee Valley Writing Project will not only allow us to plant the seed in creating awareness of bilingual literacy among Fellows, but it will also help them to achieve high professional standards needed in bilingual literacy instruction. This partnership will also open the door to several new opportunities for extending inservice writing programs to area schools."

Sponsored by and housed within the Warner School of Education, the Genesee Valley Writing Project serves teachers and students from urban and suburban regions of Monroe and surrounding counties. The Genesee Valley Writing Project is a collaborative school-university partnership that is dedicated to improving the quality of student writing and learning in K-16 schools through teacher-centered professional development. While the focus on bilingual literacy education will be a new focus to this year's Summer Institute, it will only be a portion of what Fellows will cover during the four weeks. Participating teachers will also study successful classroom strategies for teaching writing, read and discuss research, and improve their knowledge of writing by writing themselves.

The Summer Institute is just the beginning of continuous professional development for the 2008 Genesee Valley Writing Project Fellows. The community of teachers, representing all grade levels from kindergarten to university and all subject areas, formed during the 2008 Summer Institute will create the foundation for the continuing work of the Genesee Valley Writing Project. All follow-up programs and activitiesócommunity outreach programs, school-based inservice workshops, collaborative programs, and teacher study groupsówill evolve from the centerpiece of the Summer Institute and will take place throughout the remainder of the year.

The Genesee Valley Writing Project is one of the newest sites to join the National Writing Project, a nationwide network of nearly 200 project sites reaching more than 137,000 educators last year, working together to improve writing and learning in America's schools.

For more information about the Genesee Valley Writing Project, visit www.rochester.edu/warner/gvwp/, or contact Ruthanne Vitagliano at (585) 275-8361 or by e-mail at rvitagliano@warner.rochester.edu.

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.




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