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Leadership and Activism, School Stories


The National Writing Project (NWP) trains teachers from all walks of life to champion authentic writing instruction in their schools and communities. Teachers who attend NWP institutes at sites across the country and complete inquiry projects in writing instruction become Teacher Consultants who help their students and colleagues find purpose and voice in writing across the curriculum and across media.

NWP’s institutes provide us with a great model of self-directed professional development, and the work NWP does to publish teacher and student voices is entirely laudable and necessary to the development of democratic voices at school that be can heard as a clean, clear, honest, and passionate signal through the noise of the information age. The NWP is about teachers and students creating content together by following their passions through writing; it is a healthy antithesis to the growing number of content delivery systems educators and students are being asked to use to teach and learn by numbers.

On March 2nd, 2001, President Obama signed a spending bill to keep the federal government operating during budget season. The bill cut federal funding to the NWP as part of a Congressional effort to eliminate earmarks – federal funds legislated to support certain programs like the NWP. While pork-barrel projects are, perhaps, easy political targets for elected officials looking to make names for themselves as no-nonsense fiscal conservatives, the NWP is not a pork-barrel project and it makes no sense to eliminate funding to the NWP, a program with a proven track record in raising student achievement that provides teachers and students with authentic opportunities for communication, inquiry, and problem-solving – opportunities to practice those deservedly ballyhooed skills our students need to be college-, community-, and life-ready.

The NWP undoubtedly deserves to be saved.

I attended the Central Virginia Writing Project institute early in my career. It helped me approach teaching in an interdisciplinary way and it helped me value my students’ voices. I was fortunate to work as a teacher consultant with a local school system several times and to help its middle school develop writing and vocabulary instruction across the curriculum. I write for NWP’s Digital Is initiative, as well.

Through initiatives like Digital Is, the NWP helps us push ourselves to be the teachers our kids need and deserve.

I hope you’ll join me in blogging for the NWP this weekend, from Friday, March 18th through Sunday, March 20th, 2011. Please support the NWP by sharing your experiences with the project, its institutes, its teacher consultants, and the resources it freely provides for all teachers. If you haven’t participated in an institute or worked with the NWP, please join us in calling on the federal government to support the NWP in championing authentic professional development, teaching, and learning through programs like the writing project.

As you post, please share your links here, send the links to me via Twitter (@chadsansing, by @ or DM), or email your link to me. I will collect and publish the links here on the Coöp. If you tweet me, please include @EdPressSec, @Ed_Outreach, @nwpsiteleaders, and @whitehouse in your tweet.

Let’s use the hashtag #blog4NWP. If you post before or after this weekend’s window, please let me know and/or use the hashtag to make sure I pick up your article for inclusion on the #blog4NWP archive post.

Please also consider sending your writing as an email to your local and state representatives in federal government.

Be sure to tweet your posts to your followers. Also consider posting your compositions on FaceBook. Please RT calls to support the NWP and ask your followers to do the same.

If you don’t blog, but would like to write about your NWP experience in support of the program, let me know. I’d love to help you get started blogging or to facilitate guest-posting for you at the Coöp.

Our goal is to persuade elected officials to reintroduce funding for the NWP in the federal budget. Ancillary to that goal is attracting and holding the attention of the Secretary of Education and enlisting his support, as well as the support of the Department of Education, in securing federal funds for the NWP.

Again, please join me in speaking out and speaking up for a proven, federally-funded education program that reflects our best, most democratic, most individualized teaching and learning by writing for life. Please support the NWP.

Update: Here is the #blog4nwp archive page.

About Chad Sansing

I teach for the users. Opinions are mine; content is ours.


48 thoughts on “#blog4NWP

  1. I will definitely be blogging for the NWP this weekend and I am excited to join all of these amazing voices! I can’t wait to see all the amazing work I know will come out of the network.

    That being said, for those of you using twitter, in addition to including @whitehouse, etc, also include your LOCAL representatives/Senators. They, after all, write the bills, and they should know that these cuts effect THEIR constituents. Remember that a good percentage of the House of Reps are new and probably didn’t even know what it is we do. Now is the time to educate them.

    So my posts will be tweeted with @stabenow (Debbe Stabenow) and @ThatMcCotter (Rep from SE Michigan). I know Carl Levin’s feed is pretty much not used. You can check your Sentaors/Reps’ websites for the twitter feed.

    Let me know if you have more questions about this: just message me at @AndreaZellner.

    Posted by Andrea | March 14, 2011, 4:51 pm
  2. passing along this article from Huffington Post by

    Heather Wolpert-Gawron

    Middle School Teacher, Language Arts Dept Chair

    University of California, Irvine Writing Project Fellow ’07

    Posted by dloitz | March 15, 2011, 1:09 am
    • Thanks, David – keep the links coming.

      Can you enlist Goddard/NWP alumni and/or IDEA? This might be a useful juncture for the NWP and IDEA to learn more about one another and the possibilities of working together.


      Posted by Chad Sansing | March 15, 2011, 8:34 am
  3. A terrific idea, Chad. Thanks for being the catalyst. Like Andrea, I’ll be blogging and using the blog4nwp tag this weekend.

    Here’s another link that might be of interest to folks:

    Posted by Paul Oh | March 15, 2011, 12:29 pm
  4. This is the kind of research and useful information that needs to be sent to Arne Duncan’s office and Race to the Top. Writing and expressing oneself is a key component of democracy and is as important as science and mathematics. How can these comments be directed to those in power? Thank you.

    Posted by Lonni | March 15, 2011, 12:59 pm
    • Lonni, Paula White, a fellow catalyst, hosted a day and curated a collection of #blog4reform posts here on the Coöp that caught Secretary Duncan’s attention. We hope to get his attention again with this campaign and to make sure his office knows what’s going on through its online representation @EdPressSec and @Ed_Outreach on Twitter.

      Thanks you so much for your encouragement and support.

      All the best,

      Posted by Chad Sansing | March 15, 2011, 1:26 pm
  5. Here is a piece from earlier in the week by Grant Faulkner in support of the National Writing Project.

    To Write or Not to Write. To Be or Not to Be.


    Posted by Chad Sansing | March 15, 2011, 4:07 pm
  6. I’m in, for sure.

    Posted by Kevin Hodgson | March 16, 2011, 2:18 pm
  7. Me, too. Thanks for putting this together.

    Posted by Keri | March 16, 2011, 11:39 pm
  8. National Writing Project needs to continue. Our teacher education and many of the curriculum [publishers are sorely lacking in the area of writing. National Writing Project stands in that gap, for the teachers and therefore for the students. I’ll be blogging this weekend. Thanks for mobilizing us.

    Posted by Jane Baker | March 19, 2011, 9:44 am
  9. The National Writing Project changes teachers’ professional lives in meaningful, powerful ways. In turn, teachers change students’ lives. It is critical that Federal funds be restored to support this premier program of teacher professional development.

    Posted by Ann Dobie | March 19, 2011, 10:17 am
  10. Thanks, Chad, for organizing this community effort. I published a post a few minutes ago, so a trackback should be making its way through cyberspace. OK, on to Twitter….

    Posted by Gail Desler | March 19, 2011, 10:26 am
  11. Chad,

    Just wanted to let you know I shared your blog post on my twitter. Thanks for leading this charge!


    Posted by Maggie Brewer | March 19, 2011, 12:25 pm
  12. Thanks for getting this all this together Chad. Here’s my two cents:

    Chris Sloan, Wasatch Range Writing Project

    Posted by Chris Sloan | March 19, 2011, 6:24 pm
  13. I do not blog nor have another vehicle for making my feeling about NWP known to the world. I would greatly appreciate a method of collecting the thoughts or many of us similar to a e-voice format. To the tech gurus: Please develop a place where I and my fellow TC’s can add our story to the collective voice. Keep it simply for the technically challenged among us. If one exists, explain how to access and post. Thanks.

    Posted by Mary Jo Napholz | March 20, 2011, 12:00 pm
  14. This Friday I sent a letter in support of funding for NWP to NJ senators Menendez & Lautenberg in addition to my local Congressmen. I received an encouraging response from Mendendez’s office within a few hours. My letter, and the response I received, is posted on:

    Posted by Jennifer - NWP@Rutgers | March 20, 2011, 1:18 pm
  15. Thank you to everyone who has commented and contributed! Keep speaking up for the National Writing Project!


    Posted by Chad Sansing | March 20, 2011, 6:13 pm
  16. Here is a blog I wrote #blog4NWP

    Posted by mthornton78 | March 20, 2011, 9:16 pm
  17. Here’s my blog for Teachers Write the Way I’ll be sending it onto representatives for Indiana as well. Thanks for organizing this chance to join our voices together.

    Posted by Kay | March 20, 2011, 9:26 pm
  18. Here’s a note I posted to our English language arts teachers on our department site:

    All year 50 teachers from four schools have worked and learned together with the support of our Ohio Writing Project teacher consultants–on behalf of over 4500 student writers. Our teachers will continue their work this spring and summer. It’s not hyperbole to say it’s life changing for them and for their kids.

    Thanks, Chad, for organizing this.

    Posted by M.E. Steele-Pierce | March 20, 2011, 10:20 pm
  19. Here’s my contribution. I wasn’t blogging until this effort came together. Thank you for organizing!

    Posted by Aaron Thiell | March 20, 2011, 10:49 pm
  20. Even we little people out in rural USA benefit from the National Writing Project. Here’s a short post in support of funding for the project:


    Posted by Sheri Edwards | March 21, 2011, 2:07 am
  21. My blog4nwp post is at

    Posted by Michael Thompson | March 21, 2011, 5:26 pm
  22. chad, You’re just so awesome.

    Posted by Kirsten | March 22, 2011, 9:48 pm
  23. RESTORE FUNDING TO NWP! The Summer Institute is where passion in teaching and collaborative community building is bred and fostered. If you’ve never been to a Summer Institute, you can’t imagine how valuable it is. But I guess if it’s not funded, you’ll never find out anyway.

    Posted by Holly | March 28, 2011, 5:42 pm


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