Through purposeful and sustained professional development, the Mississippi State University Writing/Thinking Project focuses on the knowledge, expertise, and leadership of teachers to improve reading, writing and thinking skills of students.
30th Anniversary - Did you know that the Mississippi Writing/Thinking Institute (MWTI) was instrumental in facilitating the set up of writing projects that are located at several universities around our State? The Mississippi State University Writing Project (MSUWTP) is part of this network group. Representative teacher consultants and office staff attended the reception hosted by the Mississippi Writing/Thinking Institute honoring the ladies that were at the forefront of establishing the network group – Dr. Sandra Burkett Price and Dr. Sherry Swain. Teachers that were impacted by those two ladies and representatives from writing projects from around the State congregated on March 17, 2015 to celebrate the accomplishment of these two innovative educators, as well as the accomplishments made in Mississippi schools in preparing teachers to use best practice instructional strategies to improve student reading, writing and thinking skills.
100 Teachers Learn From National Author - Kylene Beers, nationally recognized author of several books on teaching reading, worked with 100 teachers at the Pearl River Resort in Philadelphia, MS in March 2015. Participating educators rated the workshop highly, many saying it was one of the best they had ever attended as they received practical ideas they could use in the classroom immediately.
Who We Are
The Mississippi State University Writing/Thinking Project, an affiliate of the National Writing Project (NWP) and housed within MSU's College of Education, has since 1985 focused on serving teachers across disciplines and at all levels, early childhood through university. Experienced consultants at this writing project site:
- provide professional development customized to district/school needs,
- develop resources for classroom use,
- generate research,
- coach teachers as they work to utilize best practice strategies to teach reading and writing, thereby improving student performance,
- assist teachers with moving toward full implementation of the Common Core State Standards, which challenge our students to think critically and produce written products based on research and thoughtful planning.
The MSU Writing/Thinking Project supports teachers, through high-quality, on-going professional development, as they implement cognitively rigorous instructional practices aligned with the standards and competencies that are tested on state and national assessments.
A Successful Model Customized for School, District, & Teacher Needs
As an affiliate site of the National Writing Project and the Mississippi Writing/Thinking Institute (Mississippi's network of 6 NWP sites), MSU Writing/Thinking Project adheres to a set of nationally shared principles and practices for teachers' professional development. MSU Writing/Thinking Project, following the NWP Model, develops a leadership cadre of teachers (called "teacher-consultants") through invitational summer institutes, designs and delivers customized professional development programs for schools and districts, and provides a diverse array of continuing education and research opportunities for teachers at all levels and of all disciplines.
National research studies have confirmed significant gains in writing performance among students of teachers who have participated in NWP programs.
National Writing Project (NWP) Core Principles
The long-standing success of the Mississippi State University Writing/Thinking Project can, in some ways, be attributed to our commitment to NWP's core principles. These principles provide a framework for our intensive and sustained work with teachers, students, and administrators in Mississippi.
The core principles at the foundation of NWP's national program model are:
* Teachers at every level—from kindergarten through college—are the agents of reform; universities and schools are ideal partners for investing in that reform through professional development.
* Writing can and should be taught, not just assigned, at every grade level. Professional development programs should provide opportunities for teachers to work together to understand the full spectrum of writing development across grades and across subject areas.
* Knowledge about the teaching of writing comes from many sources: theory and research, the analysis of practice, and the experience of writing. Effective professional development programs provide frequent and ongoing opportunities for teachers to write and to examine theory, research, and practice together systematically.
* There is no single right approach to teaching writing; however, some practices prove to be more effective than others. A reflective and informed community of practice is in the best position to design and develop comprehensive writing programs.
* Teachers who are well informed and effective in their practice can be successful teachers of other teachers as well as partners in educational research, development, and implementation. Collectively, teacher-leaders are our greatest resource for educational reform.
As an affiliate of the National Writing Project, staff and teacher-leaders of the Mississippi Writing/Thinking Project have access to national programs, initiatives, and resources.
Rural Sites Network
MSUWTP is a member of the National Writing Project's Rural Sites Network (RSN). RSN is a national network that links teachers in rural areas together through the sites of the National Writing Project.
Goals of the MSU Writing Project Related to Rural Needs
* To implement national programs to increase sites' capacity to carry out programs, strengthen professional development, facilitate cross-site communication, support research, and develop new ways of sharing rural teachers' work at local and national levels.
* To provide support for site leaders and teachers as they discover new ways to build on their strengths and address challenges.
* To support teacher-consultants and site directors in celebrating place, honoring diversity, conducting research, and designing community-based programs by offering minigrants, national meetings, spring conferences, resource development retreats, and links to other NWP programs.
- Dr. Mariella Simons - Associate Director, Mississippi Writing/Thinking Institute
- Cheryl Foster - Associate Director, Mississippi Writing/Thinking Institute
- Emily Noble - Associate Director MSU Writing Project and Coordinator of Rural Voices Radio
- Dr. Sherry Swain - Director, Field Office, National Writing Project
- Shelley Rutland - Coordinator of Literacy Development
- Ariel McDougald - Administrative Assistant