Welcome to the National Writing Project Portfolio, a collection of key writings that we at Inverness Research have prepared over the last several years.

We began studying the Writing Project in 1988 when the California Subject Matter Projects were created. Our focus broadened to the National Writing Project in 1994, when we began collecting data on local site activity and surveying participants in Invitational Leadership Institutes. At many NWP Annual Meetings and Spring Meetings, we have presented statistics about the ever-growing national network and shared our perspectives on what makes the NWP unique in American education.

We also conducted studies of NWP special focus initiatives: Project Outreach, the New Teacher Initiative, California’s Partnership Program, Focus on Standards, the Technology Initiative, and most recently the College, Career, and Community Writers Program. In our papers, we have strived to portray key design features and qualities of NWP work as a way to explain why the network and its programs have been and continue to be so successful. We hope these papers have value to readers both inside and outside the NWP.

NWP College, Career, and Community Writers Program

This is a portfolio of five papers that examine different facets of the C3WP and use the C3WP as a case to illuminate enduring qualities of NWP work. Click on the portfolio title for more information or access individual papers below.

Serving Colleagues and Connecting Professionals (2017) examines how and why the design of the C3WP — within the culture of the NWP — worked for teachers in high-poverty rural schools.

Deep Changes in Classroom Practice (2017) examines, through teachers’ voices, what changes in practice resulted from the C3WP and how those changes came about.

Reflecting on the Critical Role of Generative Structures (2017) asks the question: What is it about NWP professional development that makes teachers’ experiences of learning so often transformational?

Teacher Leadership as the Scaling of Teacher Learning (2017) uses cases from the C3WP to explore how leadership, teaching, and learning are related and to portray how the NWP supports activation and development of teacher leadership.

The Role of Educational Improvement Capital in the Success of The National Writing Project’s College, Career, and Community Writers Program (2017) argues that the NWP network is an improvement infrastructure that continuously generates educational improvement capital enabling it to solve important problems of practice at large scale.

The NWP as national improvement infrastructure for the improvement of writing

Investing in the Improvement of Education: Lessons to be Learned from the National Writing Project (2008) introduces the concept of educational improvement infrastructure, using the National Writing Project as an illustrative case.

NWP: A National Infrastructure that Helps Improve Student Writing (2017) is a slide presentation delivered at the 2017 Spring Meeting in Washington, D.C. Drawing from NWP activity and teacher leadership data accumulated over more than 40 years, it makes the case for investing in the NWP as an improvement infrastructure.

These are thematically related to The Role of Educational Improvement Capital in the Success of The National Writing Project’s College, Career, and Community Writers Program (2017) in the C3WP portfolio.

The effectiveness of Invitational Leadership Institutes and the development of teacher leadership

Teachers’ Assessments of Professional Development Quality, Value and Benefits: Results from Seven Annual Surveys of Participants in National Writing Project Summer Institutes (2008) uses survey responses from more than 22,000 teachers to describe the diverse pool of teachers who participate in NWP leadership institutes and to portray the consistently high quality and value of those institutes over time.

The Enduring Quality and Value of the National Writing Project’s Teacher Development Institutes: Teachers’ Assessments of NWP Contributions to Their Classroom Practice and Development as Leaders (2011) presents the results of a 2009 national survey of 3,000 teachers from 1,300 school districts who report on the impacts of invitational leadership institutes on their classroom practices and leadership development.

Reflections on the Success of NWP Teacher Leadership: A Dynamic Cycle of Teaching, Learning and Leading (2009) is an essay that uses the case of Maurice Butler, a teacher leader of the District of Columbia Area Writing Project, to explore the relationship of teaching, learning, and leading. This essay is a precursor to Teacher Leadership as the Scaling of Teacher Learning (2017) in the C3WP portfolio.

Studies of special-focus initiatives

NWP Focus on Standards Program

Teachers Inquiring Into Standards, Teaching, and Learning: Lessons Learned from the National Writing Project’s Focus On Standards Project (2002) shares lessons learned and insights from a program that supported teachers at 6 NWP sites in 2 states to inquire into and make sense of new standards for their teaching. This paper illuminates processes of teacher-led classroom inquiry through cases. It also introduces our idea of the three-legged stool of Personal, Policy, and Professional contributors to teachers’ formation of their everyday working standards, and it posits a strong role for the NWP.

California Writing Project Partnership Program

California Writing Project Partnerships With Schools: A Study Of Benefits To Teachers And Students (2003) presents the results of a survey aimed at assessing the benefits of site-school partnerships as a setting for year-round Writing Project professional development programs.

NWP New Teacher Initiative

The National Writing Project’s New Teacher Initiative: A Study of Outcomes, Design and Core Values (2006) is a portfolio of modular reports that examine multiple facets of the three-year initiative, which aimed at learning how NWP sites could best serve teachers new to the profession. The modules introduce the initiative, describe its benefits to new teachers, examine new professional development practices emerging from the initiative, and explain the design principles shared by those emerging practices and the inferred NWP core values that shaped them. Module 4, the design features, illuminates core values that we later observed in the College, Career, and Community Writers Program.

NWP Technology Initiative

Keeping the Promise of the 21st Century: Bringing Classroom Teaching into the Digital Age (2009) is a policy brief that summarizes results and recommendations from the four-year initiative, which aimed at promoting “wise uses of technology” in writing instruction.