Since 2014, Write for Texas has promoted and supported improved academic writing instruction in the secondary grades through a cadre of regionally based instructional coaches and an extensive collection of online resources available at no cost to all educators.
Instructional coaches employed by the 27 regional project sites work with a variety of educators in grades 6 through 12 to provide opportunities for students to read, write, and discuss a variety of genres throughout the school year. From developing workshops for administrators and teachers to modeling lessons in classrooms, the coaches improve the instructional landscape in participating schools and districts.
Success Stories From a Literacy Initiative showcases one successful aspect of Write for Texas work at each site, helping to illustrate the breadth and depth of work happening locally and statewide. These snapshots are meant not only to document and recognize the work of these Write for Texas sites, but also to inform and inspire other educators to adopt similar practices.
The site snapshots are organized into the following sections, which begin with introductions containing general advice or tips for educators:
Write for Texas
In an education segment on ABC News 7 Amarillo, Write for Texas participants described the positive impact the project has had on their students' writing.
Andrea DeCarlo, a teacher at Dumas High School; Nikole Foote, an instructional coach at Dumas; and Cassie Swan, program contact at Education Service Center Region 16, reported that students are less afraid to put their ideas into written form—a common issue in the past. “We are seeing kids actually put their thought process into writing now in math, science, and social studies—not just English,” Foote said.
Swan added that writing in all subject areas and using supports like sentence stems and other techniques promoted by Write for Texas are all part of an effort to “make sure all of our kids write for life.”
View the video and read the accompanying article on the ABC News 7 website.
Write for Texas
Findings reported in the 2015–2016 Write for Texas Annual Report illustrate the rapid growth and positive impact of the program across the state.
The report synthesizes data from a wide range of sources, including Write for Texas coach and site staff reflections, field-based activity reports, and teacher and administrator survey responses from schools that Write for Texas supports. Data indicate impressive project outcomes, with 83% of respondents reporting improvement in student reading and writing skills and 82% seeing increased student engagement.
In addition to profiling the unique structure and components of Write for Texas, the report presents information on the schools (more than 200 schools in more than 100 districts) and educators supported by the project. Highlights include frequency measures of classroom teaching routines and anecdotal evidence showing the positive influence Write for Texas coaches and materials have on staff development to improve academic reading and writing instruction in the secondary grades.
Now entering its third year, the program continues to grow its coaching cadre and designate more Write for Texas districts and schools seeking to develop teachers and students using instructional best practices.
For more information, download the 2015–2016 Write for Texas Annual Report or visit the Write for Texas website.
Write for Texas
A recent article by Write for Texas Director Ellie Hanlon in Texas Lone Star, a publication of the Texas Association of School Boards, features ways that school board members can influence classroom teaching practices to improve student writing.
Emphasizing that change requires commitment at all levels, “The Write Stuff: How to Create a Cadre of Strong Readers and Writers in Texas” engages school board members to consider focusing policy discussions and agendas on the importance of research-based instructional practices. The article supports board members to become knowledgeable about expectations for student writing skills at various grade levels and encourages them to look for evidence of strategies that promote reading and writing in all content areas.
The article also points readers to MCPER's 10 Key Writing Practices for All Schools, which includes practical, research-based recommendations and grade-level descriptions of student skills. The resource is part of the 10 Key series, which distills the latest research findings into concise, one-page top 10 lists of the most important things that should be in place in every school.
The backbone of Write for Texas continues to be its network of almost 100 dedicated writing coaches in more than 200 schools across the state. These site-based staff members design and deliver professional development to support classroom teachers, instructional and content specialists, and campus and district administrators to provide opportunities for all students to read, write, and discuss a wide variety of genres throughout the school year. In addition to planning a reprise of the regional summer institutes for 2017, Write for Texas will continue to develop resources to support educators at all levels to implement the guiding principles of effective writing instruction.
Write for Texas
Write for Texas launches its third program year
August 5, 2016
The Write for Texas project, entering its third year, has extended its reach to more than 200 schools in 100 districts across the state.
Since its beginnings in late 2013, Write for Texas has made significant strides in improving academic writing instruction in the secondary grades. An alternative to formulaic writing instruction, the project offers a series of online professional development resources aimed at integrating reading and writing activities across all content areas.
Additionally, the project supports schools and districts across the state with a cadre of more than 100 professional writing coaches. Participants tout this collaborative network as one of the greatest strengths of the project, providing opportunities for individual teachers to align their instruction with research-based practices and streamline their approach to teaching writing.
The 27 project sites, including all 20 regional education service centers and seven university-based national writing projects, will continue effecting change at the local level. Additionally, regional Summer Institutes are expected to continue in 2017, where coaches design and deliver professional development specific to the needs of educators in their respective service areas.
For more information, visit the Write for Texas external website.
Write for Texas