Started by former English department chair Russ Larson in the mid-1980s, the Eastern Michigan Writing Project (EMWP) is one of eleven sites of the National Writing Projects of Michigan (NWPM) and one of 200+ sites of the National Writing Project (NWP).
In 1992 the EMWP began its first of eighteen years of federal funding through the National Writing Project under the leadership of Cathy Fleischer. In the next ten years the Invitational Institute and numerous in-service programs were held in the Washtenaw Intermediate School District. Teacher leaders came mostly from the K-12 schools of Washtenaw County. Bill Tucker became director in 2000, as Cathy assumed new responsibilities in the National Council of Teachers of English. She has continued as Co-director of EMWP.
In 2003 the Invitational Institute moved to the campus of Eastern Michigan University and drew increasingly from the teachers of Lenawee and western Wayne County.
In the next six years Becky Sipe and Doug Baker became co-directors and took turns leading the Invitational. Sarah Lorenz assumed responsibility for professional outreach through in-services and conferences in 2003, and Kim Pavlock became our first Family Literacy Coordinator in 2006. Both Sarah and Kim became co-directors in 2009.
During these years from 2003 – 2008, our program hours have increased 25 per cent and our programs quadrupled. Most notably our Family Literacy workshops and Inkstains summer writing camps have swelled in numbers and enthusiasm.
In 2008 EMWP initiated a professional development partnership with Hamtramck Public Schools, which resulted in five teacher consultants taking the Invitational,
two years of youth writing camps, and over $20,000 in professional development for Hamtramck teachers.
We continue our mission to
- Improve student writing and thinking by improving the teaching of writing
- Provide professional development programs for classroom teachers, and
- Expand the professional roles of teachers.
“Prior to our participation with the Writing Project our teachers were not teaching the process of writing to their students. Many of them were not confident with writing themselves. I am pleased to say that these attitudes have changed and the result is that there is more evidence of writing in our schools and the quality of our students’ writing has improved. More importantly teachers and students are enjoying writing and sharing their published pieces with others.” (Sharalene Charns, Director of Curriculum/ Federal Programs, Hamtramck Public Schools)