OWP: Oregon Writing Project
About the Oregon Writing Project at the University of Oregon
We are living in one of the most exciting times in media history. No matter what career you end up choosing, or what path you end up choosing to travel, you will be a writer for the rest of your life. As the digital age accelerates, and as more aspects of our lives are conducted online how we present ourselves in writing will only get more important.
It is the crucial way in which we process the world around us. The Oregon Writing Project at the University of Oregon’s (OWP/UO) professional development programs, through their work with teachers of all grade levels and content areas, teaches new strategies to help students become accomplished writers in the digital age. The Internet has billions of readers. What it needs are good writers.
A Network of University-Based Sites
Five regional sites make up the OWP network, serving teachers from all corners of the state. Eastern Oregon University, Lewis and Clark, Willamette, University of Oregon and Southern Oregon University each host a site. Sites work with area school districts to offer high-quality professional development programs for educators. National research studies have confirmed significant gains in writing performance among students of teachers who have participated in Oregon Writing Project programs.
OWP sites share a national program model, adhering to a set of shared principles and practices for teacher’s professional development. In addition to developing a cadre of local teachers called Teacher Consultants, OWP/UO also develops a cadre of Technology Teacher Consultants. OWP/UO designs and delivers customized in-service programs for local schools, districts through participation in NWP’s Special Focus Networks: Rural, Technology and ELL. Additionally, OWP/UO delivers customized inservice programs through Partnership Programs and Embedded Institutes.
National research studies (http://www.nwp.org/cs/public/print/doc/results.csp)
The Oregon Writing Project Summer Institute emphasizes current research and strategies for teaching writing to students, for improving teachers’ own writing, and for enhancing teacher’s leadership skills. Tools and techniques for integrating technology to support literacy instruction are embedded throughout. The practicum provides follow-up activities for applying new strategies and extends teachers’ leadership skills in writing, publishing, and professional development. Participation in the Oregon Writing Project influences teachers’ classroom practices and their overall professional pursuits. The collegial effect OWP training builds among school staff members and participants forms the foundation of all other Writing Project activities.
Oregon Writing Project hosts an annual writing retreat, OWP by the Sea, in picturesque Charleston Bay on the Oregon coast. This summer retreat creates time and space for writing project colleagues to write and share their work. Special guests include prominent authors who share their work and celebrate teachers as writers in the activities of the retreat. This three-day retreat takes place each year in late August.
The Oregon Writing Project at the University of Oregon provides an intensive professional development program for rural schools located in Grant County, Oregon. Grant County is 4,528 square miles of cattle country, arroyos, high prairies and forestland in Eastern Oregon. Several of these participating school districts serve fewer than 50 students. In addition to learning about new strategies and technologies for improving student writing, teachers develop a vision for creating a technology-rich literacy program at their schools and identify individual professional development needs to make this vision a reality. The two-day institute is followed by ongoing support from OWP/UO Tech Teacher Consultants using a variety of communication technologies. This project builds on our site’s experience working with rural schools in a way that builds a professional learning community and fosters classroom instruction that prepares students for 21st century success.
OWP/UO sponsors thousands of hours of professional development workshops during the school year. Our workshops address local issues and the particular needs of schools, teachers and students in their school communities.
From Portland to Dayville, OWP/UO has built up long-term partnerships with school districts across the state to help their students meet writing benchmarks and standards. At the district level, such partnerships build existing on-site leadership through customized workshop training and long-term, ongoing, support systems. Statewide, such partnerships share knowledge and experience across districts as they enhance the confidence and comfort level of teacher leaders working with their peers.
Funding Agency:National Writing Project
The Oregon Writing project and the National Writing Project partnered to develop a series of “webinars” for the professional development of teachers interested in the integration of technology as part of the learning environment. These “webinairs” are available for all teachers through the National Writing Project web site and also on the Oregon Writing Project web site. Our goal is to remind teachers of their potential for change and demonstrate ways teachers use technology as a natural part of the learning environment.