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Virgin Islands Writing Project Celebrates 10 Years

The Virgin Islands Writing Project (VIWP) is celebrating its 10th anniversary with its 10th Summer Institute from June 20 to July 13 at the University of the Virgin Islands on St. Thomas and St. Croix. Approximately 26 teachers in the Territory will be given the unique opportunity to participate in the Summer Institute, which instructs teachers on new strategies to improve their students' writing skills, the latest research and effective classroom practices. With funding support from the National Writing Project (NWP), the Virgin Islands Department of Education and UVI, local teachers will be joining 3,000 others across the country who will use this out-of-school time to expand their knowledge and understanding of how best to teach writing.

Of the 26 teachers participating, 10 will be on St. Thomas and 16 on St. Croix. Participating teachers are from the following schools:

• Alexander Henderson Elementary
• Charles H. Emmanuel Elementary
• Charlotte Amalie High
• Elena Christian Junior High
• Eulalie Rivera Elementary
• Evelyn M. Williams Elementary
• Gladys Abraham Elementary
• Ivanna Eudora Kean High
• John H. Woodson Junior High
• Lew Muckle Elementary
• St. Croix Career and Technical Education Complex
• St. Croix Educational Complex

The 26 teachers will increase the VIWP's number of teacher consultants - teachers trained to teach writing - to 150. At the end of the summer, these teachers will join a national network of teachers who will continue their learning about the teaching of writing through Connect, NWP's social networking and online learning space, as well as through face-to-face learning opportunities.

"Our teachers will share the unique opportunity of interacting with teachers of all disciplines as they learn how to teach writing in all subjects," said VIWP Director Dr. Valerie Combie. "They will work in reading groups and writing groups, honing their skills and sharing their writing. In essence, the Summer Institute will provide the time and space for teachers to enhance their reading and writing as they prepare to re-enter the classroom in the fall," Dr. Combie concluded.

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 teaching writing and sharing knowledge, expertise, and effective classroom practices with one another.

"We grow our teachers and allow them to experience as much as we can to meet their potential," said Dr. Tonya Perry, director of Red Mountain Writing Project at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

"Thousands of teachers will return to school this fall with a renewed focus on the teaching of writing," said Dr. Sharon J. Washington, NWP executive director. "These K-university educators will enhance their knowledge of theory, research and practice to help students become better writers and learners. As NWP teacher leaders, they will also be better equipped to support their colleagues as they prepare students to write in all disciplines to meet college and career-ready standards."

National research studies have shown that professional development programs designed and delivered by NWP sites have a positive effect on the writing achievement of students across grade levels, schools and contexts. To learn more about this study, visit

For more information on the Virgin Islands Writing Project call Dr. Valerie Combie at (340) 692-4126, send e-mail to or visit the VIWP home page here.