Among the 19 participants in the Southern Colorado Writing Project’s Summer Institute for teachers (www.scwponline.org
) are two individuals from Russia who hope to create similar professional development opportunities in their homeland.
According to SCWP Director Katherine Frank, the Institute includes 19 participants (from a record 55 applicants) who teach grade levels K-20 and across the content areas. Language arts, science, math, social studies, ESL/ELL, special education, industrial arts, and library/media studies teachers are taking part in the project from Pueblo City Schools, Pueblo School District #70, Fountain-Ft. Carson School District, Crowley County, Salida Schools, Academy School District #20, School District #11, School District #2, and La Junta Schools.
Two Russian professors, Tamara Zhelonkina and Irina Gromova, from Immanuel Kant State University in Kaliningrad, Russia are here thanks to an international partnership through the Alliance of Universities for Democracy now in its second year. The partnership aims to share pedagogical strategies and professional development models for educators at Immanuel Kant State University. Regarding their experience at the SCWP Summer Institute, Zhelonkina and Gromova state, "The objective of coming to SCWP Institute was to learn about what our colleagues here are doing in terms of teaching writing. But our tremendous discovery has been that the program drastically changed our perception of teaching strategies and approaches to writing. Our knowledge and experience that we can share after returning home are just invaluable.”
The SCWP Summer Institute functions according to the two basic principles of the National Writing Project: the best teachers of teachers are teachers, and the best teachers of writing are writers themselves (www.nwp.org
). The SCWP is an affiliate of the National Writing Project and one of over 200 sites nationwide conducting summer institutes for teachers at their college- and university-based sites. The SCWP Institute will be in session Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. until July 3 in Library Wing 223.
Frank said the goals of this project are aligned with the focus of Governor Ritter’s P-20 Education Council and its effort to ensure “a seamless education system” for students and adequate preparation for the “demands of the 21st Century.”
Visitors are always welcome to attend a day of the SCWP Summer Institute. Teaching demonstrations that combine theory and practice and are designed by the participants for future SCWP in-service programs typically take place between 9 a.m.- 12:30 p.m. Afternoons are filled with discussions of readings, technology sessions, writing time, and the sharing of writing or sometimes field trips such as a day spent at the Bessemer Historical learning and writing about Pueblo history.