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Virgin Islands Teachers Study Writing this Summer

Nineteen local teachers will join approximately 3,000 kindergarten-through-college teachers across the country who will be attending four-week National Writing Project (NWP) Summer Institutes to learn new strategies to improve their students' writing skills.

"The Virgin Islands teachers who attend the Summer Institute will return to their classrooms next fall equipped with proven strategies for teaching young people how to write and how to use writing to learn," said Sharon J. Washington, NWP Executive Director. "Writing continues to be the signature means of communication in the digital age, and these institutes provide valuable continuous learning opportunities for local teachers."

The Summer Institute model will be in place locally when the V.I. Writing Project (VIWP) gets underway on June 21. For the first time, the VIWP will conduct two institutes-one on St. Thomas and one on St. Croix-to accommodate St. Thomas teachers who were formerly required to live on St. Croix while attending the institute. One St. Thomas teacher expressed the views of most St. Thomas teachers when she said she had wanted to attend the institute for many years, but could not leave her family to live on St. Croix for four weeks.

Located in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U. S. Virgin Islands and co-directed by local university faculty and classroom teachers, the NWP institutes offer teachers the opportunity to study the latest research on the teaching of writing and share knowledge, expertise, and effective classroom practices.

"The National Writing Project is our parent company, which funds us in partnership with the V.I. Department of Education and UVI," said VIWP Director Valerie Combie. The VIWP Summer Institutes will take place on UVI's St. Croix and St. Thomas campuses from June 21 through July 13.

National research studies confirm significant gains in writing performance among students whose teachers participate in NWP programs. Past surveys of teachers who participated in summer institutes found that 95 percent gave high ratings "to the institute's contribution to their understanding of the teaching of writing and its usefulness for their own classrooms and students" (Inverness Research).

The National Writing Project is a nationwide network of educators working together to improve the teaching or writing in the nation's schools and in other settings. NWP provides high-quality professional development programs to teachers in a variety of disciplines and at all levels, from early childhood through university. For more information, visit

For more information contact VIWP Director Valerie Combie at 692-4126.