R.I. Department of Education hosts Common Core Standards workshop at RIC

(Photo: Hayden James '12)

(Photo: Hayden James '12)
Recognizing the key role that the Rhode Island Writing Project (RIWP) plays in teachers’ professional development, representatives from the Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE) presented their full-day introduction of the Common Core Standards, the “Study of the Standards” workshop, to our Writing Project community on Dec. 10.

Funded by a grant from RIDE, the 6-hour workshop was held at Rhode Island College, home of the RIWP. The objective of the workshop was to introduce teachers to the structure, discourse and application of the Common Core Standards, which will go into effect in Rhode Island’s public schools in 2013-14.

RIDE representatives presented this workshop in every school district in the state. For members of the RIWP, the session was rooted in the historical partnership between RIDE and the R.I. Writing Project.

Susan Vander Does, Rhode Island Writing Project co-director, is a a reading specialist in Lincoln. She has been a teacher consultant with RIWP for over 20 years, and is in her final year of the RIC/URI PhD program in education.
The executive board and teacher consultants of the Rhode Island Writing Project will use this workshop to further our understanding of the Common Core Standards’ impact on teachers, curriculum, instruction and assessment in Rhode Island’s public schools. Our goal is to weave essential knowledge about Common Core Standards into existing Writing Project programs and to be open and responsive to teachers’ needs in Rhode Island as we develop new programs.

Founded in 1985 and affiliated with the National Writing Project at the University of California at Berkeley, the Rhode Island Writing Project is an organization comprised of a vast network of Rhode Island’s teacher leaders, dedicated to the improvement of teaching and learning in all schools. Rhode Island Writing Project teachers work in all content areas and at all grade levels (K-20), helping students to become thoughtful readers and writers and to connect reading, writing and content area learning to prior knowledge, life experience and cultural identity.

Reflecting the National Writing Project model of “teachers teaching teachers,” over 1,000 teachers in Rhode Island have attended our summer institutes and are thus qualified to become teacher consultants (TCs); in that capacity, they visit schools and work with other teachers across the state to provide professional development rooted in practical and proven research-based practice.

When we design and facilitate local, responsive professional development for teachers, we provide the curricular, pedagogical and emotional support not only for creating classrooms of readers and writers but also for meeting state and local standards and assessment demands. We work with teachers, departments and entire schools to create learning environments in which students extend their capacities as readers and writers.

The RIWP will be holding follow-up discussions and workshops on the Common Core Standards. Please consult our website at www.ric.edu/riwp and our weblog http://rhodeislandwp.blogspot.com for more information on follow-up events, and for information on our Spring Conference, “Literacy and the Common Core,” featuring Jeff Wilhelm, author of “You Gotta BE the Book,” “Reading Don’t Fix No Chevys” and “Literacy for Love and Wisdom.”

The Spring Conference is on Saturday, March 10, 2012, at Rhode Island College’s Donovan Dining Center. Registration is $60; RIC student registration is $20.