Melissa Jones (second from the left) and Kevin Scharlau (second from the right), Capital Area Writing Project Co-directors, celebrate literacy with Rose Cappelli (left) and Lynne Dorfman (right) at the annual conference of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) in St. Louis.

I entered teaching following a 14-year career in publishing and communications. As a professional writer by occupation, I knew that I needed to maintain my connection to this vital part of who I was. The transition from producing writing to teaching writing for me was a challenge. So much of what I knew as a writer was internalized. I needed instructional methods that could help me communicate what I knew intuitively as a writer to my students. The Writing Project seemed to be a means to that end.

My work with the Invitational Candidate Institute have reinforced my belief in the power of writing instruction for students at all levels. Although my experience is with older students, my work mentoring teachers of younger students has been a powerful reminder of how critical it is for students to start writing from the time they first enter school. As a mother of two young children, what I’ve learned through the ICI has also helped me to better appreciate the work of my children’s teachers.

I have learned so much from my colleagues at the ICI. The dedication of my fellow Teacher Consultants and their commitment to continued growth and development in their own career has been an inspiration to me. I believe that this awareness of teaching writing as a craft has helped to make me a more passionate teacher, which I know has positively impacted my students’ experience.” 

Leigh Ann
Mechanicsburg Area School District, Teacher Consultant, NWP Fellow

I chose to join the National Writing Project (NWP), Capital Area Writing Project (CAWP) because of my own struggles in my school district's writing program.  From a very young age, I felt my voice was suppressed.  By joining the NWP/CAWP, I am hoping in learning ways to give students their voice and allowing them to live and find their passion for writing.

Writing allows the student writer to develop their own voice and their own ideas.  They are able to express their thoughts and ideas.  Writing also teaches the student how to communicate when they leave school and are either in the workplace or in higher education.” 

Derry Township School District, Candidate Fellow of CAWP

I wanted to become part of another group that enacted as a support system for educators with a common goal. 

I believe that teachers should never stop learning or growing, and practices need to be reflected on and changed over time. Since joining the CAWP, my feeling about writing have changed in that I now believe that writing is dynamic and can be creative, factual, informational, and narrative.  There is no recipe card for writing.  I have seen students become more engaged in reading and motivated to revisit their writing when I uses some reader response methods that were included in my inquiry project for Teaching Writing course (required coursework for CAWP).” 

Palmyra Area School District, Candidate Fellow

I went through the Summer Institute as it was known back in 2000.  My principal approached me with information she received about the Institute and since I had no formal training in effectively teaching writing, I enrolled in the Institute. My feelings toward writing have changed since going through the fellowship in that when I taught, I devoted more time to writing in my classroom. 

I wrote with my students and let them see the process I go through when I write. My students were no longer afraid to pick up a pencil and write.  They didn’t worry whether the first thing they wrote was perfect.  They got their thoughts down on paper and then went on from there.  Because I shared my writing with them, they were more willing to share their writing with me as well as with their classmates.”

Retired Upper Dauphin Area Teacher, Teacher Consultant, NWP Fellow