SUNY Cortland Hosts Writing Institute for Teachers

CORTLAND, NY (08/01/2011)(readMedia)-- Seven Central New York teachers have started an intensive, two-week Summer Institute at SUNY Cortland as part of the Seven Valleys Writing Project (SVWP). The project's goal is to help them improve writing instruction in each of their schools.

The institute began July 25 and will run through Aug. 5 at Main Street SUNY Cortland, an extension facility the College operates at 9 Main St. in downtown Cortland.

The Summer Institute is in its fourth year.

"This group of Seven Valleys Writing Project participants has accepted a huge challenge this summer," said Project Director David Franke, a SUNY Cortland professor of English and professional writing. "In the weeks that follow, they will be laying the groundwork for a life-long process of professional development."

Members of the 2011 Summer Institute include: June Bedore, from the South Seneca Central School District in Ovid, N.Y.; Gloria Kilpatrick, from the Syracuse (N.Y.) City School District; Nancy Lovell, from the Ithaca (N.Y.) City School District; Angela Martinez, from the Binghamton (N.Y.) City School District; Amy Riemenschneider, from the Fayetteville-Manlius School District in Manlius, N.Y.; Kim Sweeney, from the Lansing (N.Y.) Central School District; and Lyndsey Weiner, from Manlius Pebble Hill School in DeWitt, N.Y.

The participants will develop an action research plan that identifies, explores and shares a question central to their professional work. In small cross-curricular groups, they will follow the "teachers teaching teachers" motto of the institute.

SUNY Cortland is one of only 200 colleges in the United States to serve as a National Writing Project (NWP) site. The College was approved to start a local branch in 2008. This year, the NWP and SUNY Cortland are providing a combined $92,000 for the program.

"We were chosen because writing is not just a basic skill at Cortland, but a way to learn and grow," Franke said. "Our history here as a teaching school makes us an ideal location, as does SUNY Cortland's progressive work in literacy."

The College offers a professional writing undergraduate major, a graduate program in literacy and a recently revised undergraduate writing program. Its English Department offers an adolescence education program.

Since 2008, the Summer Institute has attracted teachers from more than 20 school districts in the surrounding areas. The program has helped more than 4,800 students gain access to classes taught by a program participant.

Franke said that by the end of five years, the number of students taught by a SVWP teacher will reach 18,000.

"Statistics aside, the real evidence of our success is that teachers tell me they very much want and need this sort of a program in Central New York, one that respects their intelligence and challenges them to be leaders," he said.

Visit the SVWP website [] for more information or call (607) 753-5945.