Dr. Marcelle Haddix accused me of being one of the most visual learners she's ever worked with, and I thought of that today when I was trying to graphically explain my role as a CWP-Fairfield Director. In some ways, the National Writing Project leadership role is a swirl and twirl of research, teaching, and service. At the epicenter - ME - trying to stay afloat with all the responsibilities, I've had to think intelligently about turning my practice, the designs in my work, and the community outreach into a research agenda. I haven't perfect this, but every year when I kick, scream, fret, and biotch about reflecting on accomplishments, I feel I am getting closer to articulating the model that explains what is going on with CWP and the fusion of youth and teachers learning side by side.
Everything is always spinning inside my head and I looking for the clearest path to get results.
I wrote to Marcelle last night saying that I need to find a model for assessing writing communities in a school - to gauge the writing temperature of a writing culture - and to articulate what works and doesn't work towards advocating writing success with youth. I know Applebee and Langer have contributed much, but I need a go to model for starting with schools who don't know where to begin. These typically are schools that are overassessed and under-resourced. They can't implement solid writing instruction across the curriculum with written outcomes in mind, because they don't have an imagination for what it looks like.
Now, my imagination is all over the place because I LIVED what it looks like during KY's writing portfolio assessments in a K-12 school that totally embraced writing. In Syracuse, I also felt a writing community amongst youth --- not in school, necessarily, but through our work with Writing Our Lives.
The National Writing Project, of course, has the best collection of tools any school can ask for, but that requires teacher leaders who have attended an Invitational Leadership Institute and administrators who are willing to support them when they return.
Maybe this weekend's break from being at the Mic and in front of kids, gave me time to realized what I need to go after next. I've learned so much from the LRNG work, Young Adult Literacy Labs, the CT Mirror OpEd project, implementing grants in high needs schools, and teaching for over 23 years! I need to frame this in a larger project...one I hope to write, Gallagher-style, for its usefulness in the classroom. I think I have a project for the Fall.