Wednesday, January 13, 2016

New Pathways Ahead: Building Upon Tradition @WritingProject Through #NWPLeads & Dreams

The last few days in Austin, Texas have been a privilege. First and foremost, I need to acknowledge the fact that I was afforded an incredible opportunity to reflect, plan, partner, converse, explore, think, write, and organize. The site was beautiful, miraculous even, and I feel fortunate. Still, I cannot help but think about the populations of youth I've worked with throughout my career, the teachers I believe in who aren't given chances to travel and collaborate in such capacities, and the tremendous challenges that our American schools face. It has been a decade of inane policies aimed to destroy what works with kids (and as much as I love the rhetoric of POTUS SOTU last night, I wish his actions spoke louder).

With that noted, I thought it'd be best to to comb my notes from the last few days to make a list of "new pathways" and possibilities for the work I hope to do with CWP-Fairfield. Therefore, the following is a list (mentally drawn to my blogging pensieve, Dumbledore) that needed to be captured somewhere.
  • Keep promoting teachers as professionals (and tapping professionals as teachers) - through both of them, find a way to define 21st century literacy leadership in writing,
  • Find best locations for capturing the recent research in the Teaching of Writing, NWP, and Professional Development - Make this database available to the network,
  • Possibly collaborate and think creatively with Housatonic Community College, Upward Bound, Gear Up, and the After School Network for new audiences for the work,
  • Share the story of how Special Report: Education, Diversity and Change in Fairfield County came to be (seems to be a model for what other states are looking for - a location to showcase teacher OpEds and voices.
  • Book Idea: Writing With Young Adult Literature...pairing NWP expertise with a passion for young adult novels,
  • Writers in residence,
  • Making the Directorship Obsolete by sharing leadership throughout the project,
  • Continue to be a silent warrior, a ninja who understands the landscapes of K-12 schooling and higher education, and who refocuses negative energy towards positive results (Matrix-style),
  • Work on continuity activities and maintaining kinship with phenomenal ISI participants,
  • Continue to establish CWP as the go-to location for literacy professional development in the State and politicizing the importance of who we are to the reading, writing, speaking, creating, and doing energy in K-12 schools,
  • Better work with Superintendents to help them build in-district armies of PD leaders trained by the NWP tradition,
  • Rethink additional ways to offer ISI in new spaces and places - what if there was an Nominated Semester Institute or a Invitational Weekend Institute Series...
  • Figure out a way to do workshops for administrators. If teachers don't have school leaders with a vision, they can't be school leaders with a vision.
  • Seek collaboration with lower NYS Writing Projects and tap into a regional conference,
  • Think through a strategic plan for partnering with Housatonic Community College,
  • Help to maintain a Urban Sites Network, in whatever form it might take, 
  • Offer more safe spaces for professionals to have conversations, and
  • Build a local vault of what works/doesn't work (to keep the legacy going).
This is my thinking for now (with tweaks here and the possibility of dues like some sites have). In the end, however, I found the last three days to be inspiring, motivating, and recharging. I hope to keep the momentum going. Ubuntu.

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