The Francis Marion University Swamp Fox Writing Project has been given the word from Richard Sterling, national program director, that it is now an official national writing project site, following work by program coordinator Suzanne Cherry.
Cherry, an assistant professor with a dual appointment in English and education at FMU, is director of the university’s Swamp Fox writing project, an affiliate of the National Writing Project. Sterling informed the university this week that the Swamp Fox National Writing Project will be funded next year at the $20,000 level and receive $25,000 in 2001.
The National Writing Project was founded in San Francisco in 1973 as an effort to improve the writing of public school teachers and to discover ways to teach writing more effectively. The National Writing Project is the only federally funded program to focus on improving writing and the teaching of writing and is widely recognized as a highly effective professional development model for teachers.
Chosen for affiliation after a review of proposals, the Swamp Fox Writing Project teaches and trains teachers at all levels (pre-kindergarten through college) and in all subject areas to become better writers and teachers of writing. Each summer, area teachers are invited to a summer institute for intensive study and growth. In June 1999, Swamp Fox conducted it's first summer institute, and the teachers who participated gave it rave reviews, claiming it was the "most positive, uplifting professional development experience of my life" and that it improved their teaching. The Pee Dee Education Foundation, local school districts, and Representative James Clyburn, as well as Francis Marion University, support the site proposal.
In addition to the summer institute, Swamp Fox will offer an increasing number of other professional development services for local teachers. This year, Teacher Consultants from the site are working in six different schools to provide workshops and in-serve materials.
Also, Swamp Fox is currently running a middle school language arts standards academy. Thanks to a grant, Pee Dee area middle school teachers (grades 6 – 8) have the opportunity to work on implementing language arts standards in their classrooms and to receive three free hours of graduate credit. The grant is from the South Carolina Department of Education to the Swamp Fox Writing Project and FMU.
The course, “Implementing Middle School Language Arts Standards,” is one of seven language arts standards academies offered throughout the state this spring and summer. Chosen after a review of proposals, the Swamp Fox academy offers practical support for teachers as they begin to connect and correlate standards to their lesson plans.
"Suzanne should be applauded for her hard work and perseverance. Without her efforts, FMU would not be part of this worthwhile national effort," Bob Sawyer, Dean of the School of Education, Behavioral and Social Sciences, said.
For more information about the Swamp Fox Writing Project, visit their web site (http://www.fmarion.edu/~swampfoxwp/index.htm) or contact Cherry at 843- 661-1463.