Connecting Rural Educators: Professional Development Goes Digital

Many educators in our DML network will be familiar with The National Writing Project (NWP), a 45-year-old professional development network, whose focus is on improving the teaching of writing across all grade levels. With close to 200 writing project sites spread throughout the U.S., the NWP network is within reach of thousands and thousand of teachers. But even with the reach and impact the network has on teachers and students, the NWP still seeks to improve access to their professional development communities. One of the challenges, particularly in rural areas, has been the difficulty for teachers to participate in a local site’s Summer Institute, which traditionally means coming to a university campus for 2-4 weeks in face-to-face gatherings. For some teachers, this means leaving families or driving up to 6 hours per day to reach the “local” site.  For the past couple of years, the NWP has been working to increase access through “new pathways to leadership.”

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