FLORENCE — For the tenth straight year, Francis Marion University’s Swamp Fox Writing Project has received a continuation grant from the U.S. Department of Education through the National Writing Project.
This year, the grant is in the amount of $46,000 and will once again be used for continuing education and training of area teachers.
Leading this effort is Rebecca Flannagan, associate professor of English at FMU, who said the project prepares area teachers and instructors for leadership roles by studying effective practices, reviewing research and improving their own work by writing themselves. “The Swamp Fox Writing Project adheres to the principles that the best teachers of teachers are other teachers, and the best teachers of writing are writers themselves.”
The project provides K-16 teachers in all subject areas from Darlington, Dillon, Florence, Marion, Marlboro and Williamsburg counties with opportunities to improve student writing and learning; extend uses of writing in all disciplines; provide schools with an effective in-service model; identify, celebrate, and enhance the professional role of successful classroom teachers; and apply a teacher-centered model to implement these goals.
“Since its inception, more than 140 teachers have participated in our program and have gone on to become school and district teacher leaders,” said Flannagan. “Most importantly, participating teachers are committed to implementing the best practices of writing instruction in classrooms throughout the Pee Dee region.”
Each year, writing project sites across the state and across the nation hold an intensive, four-week Invitational Summer Institute where participants also earn graduate credit from the host university. During the 2009 Swamp Fox Summer Institute, teachers from across the Pee Dee gathered from 8:30-4:30 daily at FMU to learn more about writing and the teaching of writing. This summer’s teachers represented schools and districts across the Pee Dee (by county):
Darlington: Tanya Bunn (Darlington High); Jacquelyne James (Darlington High); Tangel McDaniel (Darlington High); and Nakeisha Brown (Southside Early Childhood)
Dillon: Levira McGill-Williams (Dillon Adult Education)
Florence: Kathy Docherty (Southside Middle); Lynn Gliarmis (Moore Intermediate); Jenalee Levesque (Sneed Middle); Amy McAllister (Johnsonville High); Yakima Spain (Wallace-Gregg Elementary); and Brittany Wilson (Wallace-Gregg Elementary)
Marion: Ella L. Ford (Palmetto Middle); Cathy P. Johnson (Palmetto Middle); Janetha A. Nixon (Palmetto Middle); Reggie Scott (Marion); and Iris Stackhouse (Marion High)
Following the end of the Institute, participants become teacher consultants and are invited to participate in other writing project activities.
Some of those activities include in-service opportunities at area schools. This fall, Swamp Fox Writing Project plans to host a one day mini-conference for area teachers.
The Swamp Fox Writing Project has several facilitators from FMU and local schools. Facilitators are: Flannagan, Matt Nelson, FMU assistant professor of English; Jennifer Kunka, FMU associate professor of English, Linda Dowling, literacy coach and middle school language arts instructor at Moore Intermediate; and Gail Hayes, English instructor at West Florence High.