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September 4, 2014
Dear NYCWP Community,
This week marks the beginning of the 2014-2015 school year as well as my first full school year as the Director of the New York City Writing Project. This fall has brought many changes, both within the Project and within your schools. Teachers are coming back to a new class (or classes) of students, which is always an exciting and slightly anxious experience. Teachers and administrators who work within the New York City Department of Education are also walking into a school year under a new contract that restructures the school day and heavily emphasizes professional development. Some of you are working in new grades, in new content areas or in new schools. The weather is changing, and soon, so will the leaves. Whatever changes this year may bring for you, professionally or personally, I am certain that you’re looking forward to the newness; NYCWP teachers are like that. First and foremost, please accept my best wishes for this coming school year.
Changes have abounded at the Project this year, too. Our new year begins in July at the NYCWP, so some of these changes took place over the summer, while others are just starting to roll out. I am thrilled to inform you of these changes, which I feel create more opportunities for teachers who are either affiliated with or interested in the NYCWP.
One obvious change is our website redesign, which began this summer. While the site is still being constructed and new pages, posts and interactive components are being added every day, I am heartened that the Project now has a site that is completely interactive. In addition to clearly designated sub-sections for teachers, administrators and students who would like to learn more about the NYCWP, there are several features that I hope you will all take advantage of. One feature is this blog, which will be updated by members of the NYCWP community several times per month in an effort to keep you updated of our goings on, offerings and ideas. Another feature is our new Community Forum, which provides a space for teachers, administrators and NYCWP staff to communicate with one another about issues surrounding their classroom practice. Please visit the boards, post an introductory message, and peruse the content, which is being added daily. It is free to create an account to post or you may link your username to one of a variety of forms of social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) to circumnavigate the signup. I look forward to conversing with you all there.
Another major change, which took place this July, was the redesign of our Summer Institute. This year the Project welcomed back five past ISI participants to serve as coaches for 15 ISI first-year participants. In addition to supporting the ISI and working in a community of practice, these teachers also are in the process of designing and creating new NYCWP workshops to be offered throughout the year. One such offering, a hybrid (online and in-person) workshop that will be launched in the winter, is especially exciting because it provides an opportunity for those who would like to participate in an NYCWP program, but who have time or travel constraints, an opportunity to do so. More information about this hybrid class will follow in the coming months: another great reason to bookmark our site and check it frequently.
This year, the NYCWP is also expanding its offerings to provide professional development workshops at Lehman College on Chancellor’s Professional Development days. Our first round of workshops are in the process of being solidified and will be held during your school’s Election Day PD on November 4th–exactly two months from today! If you are a teacher who is interested in attending this PD, please keep your eyes on the website for information that will be released in the coming weeks. If you’re an administrator who would like to sponsor participation of a teacher or a cohort from your school, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I could go on and on, but I recognize what a busy time this is for teachers (and for us at the Project!), so I will leave my announcements at that for now. Please enjoy your first few weeks of the new year. September is an exciting and inspiring time, and I know that the 2014-2015 school year will be a fantastic one for all of you.
Jane K. Higgins