The Illinois Writing Project in Northeastern Illinois University’s Daniel L. Goodwin College of Education is part of a team of seven writing project sites to be awarded a five-year, $14.7 million Education, Innovation and Research grant by the U.S. Department of Education.
Northeastern will receive $600,000 of the grant for professional development of high school teachers in Chicago-area public schools. The main grantee is the Regents of the University of California, Irvine.
The mission of the Illinois Writing Project is to create opportunities for educators and students to build writing skills through workshops, presentations and conferences. It is one of nearly 200 National Writing Project sites in the United States.
“The work of the Illinois Writing Project is around providing professional development for and with elementary, middle and high school teachers around good writing instruction,” said Goodwin College of Education Professor Katy Smith, who is co-director of the Illinois Writing Project and facilitator of Northeastern’s Secondary Education Master of Arts in Teaching, Teacher Licensure, and Master of Science in Instruction programs. “Having the Writing Project at Northeastern enters NEIU into that national network as well.”
The Illinois Writing Project began its partnership with Northeastern in July 2017. Smith hopes that as the partnership between the Illinois Writing Project and Northeastern grows, the program will be able to engage more fully with Northeastern students.
“The Illinois Writing Project is a group of folks who are really intently focused on work with children and young adults, in and out of schools, around the power of writing,” Smith said. “One of the philosophies of the Writing Project is that knowledge about writing and teaching writing comes from many sources, including classroom teachers, University professors, community members, and people who make writing their profession—and of course, the young people themselves. We believe in the power of bringing that collective wisdom together and applying it in all of our work with and for kids.”