University of Pittsburgh
July 15, 2008

Area Teachers Focus on Improving Students' Writing Skills As Part of National Writing Project's Summer Institute at Pitt

This month, 14 Western Pennsylvania teachers are taking part in NWP's invitational institute through Pitt's Western Pennsylvania Writing Project
Contact:  412-624-4147

PITTSBURGH—The University of Pittsburgh's Western Pennsylvania Writing Project (WPWP) is hosting 14 Western Pennsylvania teachers who are focusing on improving their students' writing skills by attending a National Writing Project (NWP) invitational summer institute from July 7 through Aug. 1 in the University's Cathedral of Learning, 4200 Fifth Ave., Oakland. More than 3,000 teachers are taking part in the institute across the country.

Buoyed by the 2008 release of "The Nation's Report Card: Writing 2007," which shows modest but encouraging writing gains among eighth- and 12th-grade students, the teachers will dedicate four weeks to studying research and effective classroom practices that help students at all grade levels.

Participants in this summer's institute at Pitt's WPWP are engaged in writing and learning in a community of colleagues, working from their own classroom experiences to become better writers and teachers. The teachers come from diverse districts ranging from Pittsburgh to Connellsville to Beaver Area. They will have access to ongoing professional development opportunities as a part of the Writing Project network of teachers.

The NWP summer institute provides information and first-hand practice with writing strategies and digital tools. Teachers then have the ongoing advantage of support from their local writing project site and from the NWP national network. When they return to school this fall, these teachers will bring new insights and skills to their students and to their colleagues.

The WPWP is a collaborative program of Pitt and area school districts to improve writing and the teaching of writing at all grade levels and in all disciplines. The project was created in 1984 with initial funding from the Bay Area/National Writing Project and matching support from the Pittsburgh Public Schools. The WPWP is a partnership of teachers of writing at all levels, from kindergarten through college, who come together in summer institutes, school-based workshops, and informal meetings throughout the year to pool their ideas, research, and classroom experience.

The NWP is the most significant coordinated effort to improve writing in America. The NWP sites, located on nearly 200 university and college campuses, serve more than 135,000 participants annually. It continues to add new sites each year with the goal of placing the writing project within reach of every teacher in America. Through its professional development model, NWP develops the leadership, programs, and research needed for teachers to help students become successful writers and learners. For more information, visit

For more information about WPWP and the Pitt summer program, contact Carolyn Luck at 412-624-6559 or