Tom Pankiewicz, Prairie Lands Writing Project director, co-directors Christie Leigan and Heidi Mick, teacher consultants Mark Henderson, Valorie Stokes, Terri McAvoy and Michele Irby, and Pershing Elementary School lead teacher Joy Bettis attended the National Writing Project Annual Meeting in Las Vegas, November 15-17.
Sherry Swain, National Writing Project Senior Research Associate and Prairie Lands Writing Project’s Thinking Partner for the SEED 2 Elementary Grant, visited PLWP and Pershing Elementary School, November 6-8. Swain consulted with the PLWP Leadership Team—Christie Leigan, co-director, Terri McAvoy, PD facilitator, and Tom Pankiewicz, director—about the direction and progress of our work, observed a day of professional development activities at Pershing, and met with the PLWP/Pershing Planning Team to share her impressions of the work as well as offer suggestions.
On November 16, Christie Leigan, Terri McAvoy, Joy Bettis, and Tom Pankiewicz, participated in a day-long workshop for the fourteen National Writing Project sites taking part in the SEED Grant for high-need elementary schools. At the workshop held at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas, each site shared its work and discussed problems it faces in delivering professional development. We discussed solutions to problems, reviewed our common agreements and had time to plan for upcoming PD days. The meeting allowed our team time to examine our work and progress at Pershing.
Prairie Lands Online Learning Experience developers—Valorie Stokes, Library Media Specialist at Platte County High School; Heidi Mick, Platte County High School Communication Arts instructor; Michele Irby, Lathrop High School mathematics instructor, and Tom Pankiewicz, PLWP director—led a roundtable discussion highlighting PLWP’s work in building an online course in Content Area Literacy for the National Writing Project. We shared the current state of the module development, presented our spring 2013 semester plan for testing of the modules with participants from last year’s Vital Work institute, and fielded questions about our concept.
The Missouri Writing Project Network also met Las Vegas to discuss the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education contract which includes holding Content Area Literacy Workshops and completing a video project for DESE. Tom Pankiewicz, director, Valorie Stokes and Heidi Mick represented Prairie Lands at this meeting.
Prairie Lands Writing Project leaders Heidi Mick, Valorie Stokes and Tom Pankiewicz attended an i3 Grant meeting at the National Annual Meeting in Las Vegas. NWP learned of its nearly 15 million dollar award from the Department of Education the week before the Annual Meeting. The ten sites whose work was included in the grant proposal met to discuss next steps in planning our work with high need, rural school districts. PLWP has three pairs of schools with which to work over the next three years.
Mary Stone Dockery, Missouri Western English adjunct, presented a poetry workshop for writers in grades 7-12 at Going for the Gold: 2013 Scholastic Writing Contest on Wednesday, November 28. In addition to reading and discussing the qualities of an award-winning entry, Dockery offered several opportunities for the middle school and high school students and their teachers to write. The workshop ended with a series of small group reading sessions where student writers work-shopped pieces with several teachers. In October, Dr. Bill Church, English and creative writing professor, presented a similar workshop on writing fiction. He also served as a small group leader on November 28th. Tom Pankiewicz, Missouri Writing Region co-ordinator, Amanda Moyers, associate co-ordinator and Central High School communication arts teacher, and Eric Williams, English Education major and PLWP student aide, planned the event.