UM Writing Project Named One of Two 2010-11 National Summer Institute Demonstration Sites

OXFORD, Miss. – The National Writing Project has recognized the quality and achievements of the University of Mississippi Writing Project, naming it as one of two 2010-11 National Summer Institute demonstration sites.

The UM Writing Project offers opportunities for teachers from around the Southeast both to develop as writers and to improve their practice in the teaching of writing. Being named a National Summer Institute demonstration site shows that Mississippi teachers are on a national level, said Ellen Shelton, director of the UM Writing Project.

“It proves we are staying true to who we are as the UM Writing Project and serving the National Writing Project,” Shelton said. “It’s truly an affirmation of our teachers’ hard work.”

The UM Writing Project Summer Institute is a monthlong workshop that explores the concept of teachers as writers, researchers and practitioners. In coordination with the National Writing Project core values, the institute promotes the standard of “Teachers Teaching Teachers,” where participants are able to observe other educators’ practices. The federal-, state- and university-funded program advocates continuing education for teachers by awarding scholarships for six semester hours of graduate credit in English or education.

“The University of Mississippi Writing Project’s Summer Institute program challenged me as a teacher and shaped me into a better educator,” said Katie Naron, a 2008 Summer Institute participant and fourth-grade teacher at Davidson Elementary School in Water Valley.

“After attending the summer session, I became more confident in teaching writing, reading and language arts. Not only did SI provide me with innovative teaching techniques and strategies, but I was able to learn from the other participants as well, thus supporting our theme of ‘Teachers Teaching Teachers.'”

For its award, the UM Writing Project received $2,000, which will allow Shelton and her staff to host other Summer Institute sites that may be willing to explore other models or even begin their own Summer Institute.

Besides the Summer Institute, the UM Writing Project offers a number of workshops in which educators may receive credit toward recertification. This fall, educational consultants from the Writing Project will lead seven interactive workshops, including “Celebration of Culture: Teacher Workshops for the Writing Competition,” “New Teacher Mentoring” and “21st Century Literacies: Digital Storytelling.” Educators can receive between 0.5 Continuing Education Units and 1.2 CEUs upon the completion of these workshops.

“The workshops allow educators who are interested in professional development to gather on campus and exchange ideas about classroom instruction with teachers from around the state,” Shelton said. “The Writing Project also conducts professional development in schools and districts throughout the academic year.”

This year’s other awardee is the Hudson Valley Writing Project in New York.

The National Writing Project is headquartered at the University of California at Berkeley and operates a network of more than 200 sites around the world.

For more information on the UM Writing Project or for a complete description of the 2010 Fall Writing Project Workshops, go to or contact Shelton at 662-915-7925.