In 1974, James Gray founded the Bay Area Writing Project with the goal of creating a different form of professional development for teachers, emphasizing the knowledge, leadership, and best practices of effective teachers, and promoting the sharing of that knowledge with other teachers.
By 1976 the NWP had grown to fourteen sites in six states. In 1991, NWP was authorized as a federal education program, allowing the network to expand to previously underserved areas. Today the NWP comprises more than 200 sites in all 50 states with $23 million in federal funding matched by host universities and local school districts.
In November 2007, the University of Illinois was named a new site of the National Writing Project with the support of Unit 4, Unit 116, ROE SchoolWorks, and the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE). We joined Illinois sites at Eastern Illinois University, Southern Illinois University, Illinois State University, University of Illinois in Chicago, and National-Louis University.
Through the combined impact of the UIWP Summer Institute, continuity programs, professional development, and community outreach, our site will provide resources and support for teacher-centered professional development in the teaching of writing. In the process, we aim to meet the following goals.
We aim to help teachers across grade levels and disciplines to
- see themselves as writers for life, students of writing, and leaders in the teaching of writing;
- become more confident, proficient, and thoughtful teachers of writing;
- become a part of a diverse professional network devoted to the continuous improvement and support of the practices of writing, teaching, and professional inquiry and growth;
- and improve the teaching of writing in their own classrooms, schools, and the larger profession.
In addition, we aim to help students across grade levels and disciplines touse writing as a tool for learning, reflection, expression and communication;
- use writing as a tool for learning, reflection, expression and communication;
- have access to exemplary writing instruction so that they will become writers for life;
- and become members of school and classroom writing communities.