Register for BSWP summer workshops!
Directed by English Professor Jeffrey Wilhelm, BSWP is an affiliate of the National Writing Project (NWP) and was established at Boise State in 2005. It offers programming throughout the year, including two annual conferences, a variety of courses and institutes, in-services series for schools, workshops and workshop series, retreats, programs for student writers and sponsored speeches and workshops with literacy experts. This past year, more than 2,000 Idaho educators received over 110,000 contact hours of professional development.
The NWP has a 30-years history, and has been described by the Carnegie Commission as the "most important and influential grassroots movement for teacher improvement in the history of North America." Before this year, Southern Idaho and the Treasure Valley was the largest geographic and demographic area in the contiguous 48 states without an NWP site. That is now corrected, thanks to the leadership of Professor Jeffrey Wilhelm at Boise State University!
This past summer, the BSWP sponsored 22 teachers from Eastern, Southern and Southwestern Idaho, and one international fellow from Tasmania Australia at their Invitational Summer Institute. The participants read widely in professional literature and research, worked in reading and writing groups, presented a teaching demonstration on an area of expertise, composed multimedia compositions, and wrote publishable pieces. They are now involved in their fellowship year and are undertaking various initiatives to improve literacy instruction in their own classrooms and schools.
This past year, BSWP served over 1050 teachers with over 20,000 contact hours of programming.
BSWP generated about $150,000 this past year through various grants and programs. Proceeds were used entirely to support teachers and teacher activity. This in turn leads to improved instruction, student achievement, etc.
All BSWP programs are designed to assist teachers and schools. We have several ongoing initiatives with schools in both Southern Idaho and in the Treasure Valley to improve instruction.
In 2008 BSWP teachers engaged in a National Reading Initiative throughout the year and created five instructional DVDs. Other BSWP TCs participated in a year round New Teacher Mentorship program that was a great success.
The central signature program of BSWP is the Invitational Institute, a five week summer institute and year-long fellowship, which brings approximately 25 Idaho teacher leaders to campus for an institute aimed at improving the teaching of writing and literacy in schools, K-12. The fellowship is free to invited fellows and earns 6 graduate credits and membership as a BSWP Teacher-Consultant. The Invitational Institute involves teachers in 1) articulating and demonstrating their own expertise through a teaching demonstration, 2) their own creative and professional writing agendas, and 3) reading, composing and researching in an area of interest involving literacy and literacy education. The Invitational institute involves a retreat, reading and writing groups, coaching for the teaching demonstration, lots of food and fun.
We sponsor three strands of programs:
Inservice programs for local schools and the public that feature advanced institutes, open institutes, courses and workshops. We also offer book clubs, reading groups and writing groups, both on-line and through face-to-face meetings, around various issues. We offer workshop series that are open to the public and that often feature national level experts. We offer a fall conference co-sponsored with the Idaho Council of Teachers of English, and a spring conference around one of our site initatives. We offer writing retreats at least twice a year.
Continuation programs for our own teacher consultants involve all of the above and quarterly leadership meetings, resource development (including the writing of curricula, professional books, and books for students), liaison activities with other professional organizations, concerts, poetry readings, writing workshops, etc.
Site Initiatives are issues that our site fellowship has decided to address through education and public service. Current iniatives include our Inquiry Initiative for fostering inquiry oriented instruction in schools; our Teaching for Social Justice and Democracy initiative for creating more democratic classrooms, and literacy instruction that fosters democracy and social action; Teaching Students in Poverty; and an initiative for Mentoring Student Taechers and Early Career Teachers into the Profession.
We also sponsor Special Interests Groups on Assessment, and on the Teaching and Writing of Poetry.
We are involved locally, regionally and nationally in the Teacher Inquiry Community Network, English Language Learners Network, Rural Sites Network, and the Urban Sites Network. We have regional cohorts in both Southern Idaho (Twin Falls) and Eastern Idaho (Idaho Falls and Pocatello).
The BSWP is currently involved in several Educational Initiatives, aimed at improving education in Idaho. Our current Initiatives include:
- Improving classroom instruction with Inquiry
- Virtual Professional Development Schools/Teacher Mentoring
- Teaching Students in Poverty
- Democracy in Education
- Assisting Teachers of English Language Learners