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VI Writing Project Participants Ready to Share Experience

Eleven public school teachers have returned to the classroom rejuvenated and refreshed after participating in the Virgin Islands Writing Project's (VIWP) Summer Institute. This year's institute, held from June 22 to July 17 on St. Croix, focused on "Teaching the New Writing," which involves the use of technology to teach writing. The teachers joined more than 3,000 new National Writing Project (NWP) Teacher-Consultants across the nation.

Because of the Institute, the 11 Virgin Islands' teachers and their coaches are more current in literacy research, have been exposed to a variety of ways of teaching writing, and are better equipped to use technology in the classroom, said VIWP Director Dr. Valerie Combie. The Teacher-Consultants are now ready to conduct professional development workshops for other teachers throughout the territory. Dr. Combie said the VI Writing Project, through a partnership with the St. Croix District of the Virgin Islands Department of Education, will conduct professional development on one of the scheduled professional development days in January 2010. Teachers at assigned schools will have the opportunity to participate in writing workshops.

"Teachers attend NWP Summer Institutes because they know that writing skills are central not only to students' success in school, but also to a lifetime of effective communication and critical thinking," said Dr. Sharon J. Washington, NWP Executive Director. "These leadership institutes provide the space and time for teachers of all grade levels and disciplines to reinvigorate their teaching and enhance their knowledge of theory, research, and practice to help students become better writers and learners."

The Virgin Islands teachers who were trained at this year's summer institute were:

  • Victor Barnes and Melonie Smith of the St. Croix Central High School
  • Glenda Benjamin of the Eulalie Rivera Elementary School
  • Patricia Clifton of the Leonard Dober Elementary School
  • Carol Frank of the Juanita Gardine Elementary School
  • Catherine John of the Claude O'Markoe Elementary School
  • Susan Jones of the Evelyn Williams Elementary School
  • Nancy Laguna-Luque of the Charlotte Amalie High School
  • John Marcon of the Career Technical Educational Complex
  • Yania Pellicer-Carmona of the New Teacher Initiative
  • Nilaja Taylor, Coordinator of Elementary Programs for the VI Dept. of Education

The VIWP has trained approximately 105 teachers in both districts during the past seven years. National research studies confirm significant gains in writing performance among students whose teachers participate in NWP programs.