Sunday, November 25, 2018

NWP is now integrated into the NCTE Annual Convention

Youth poet Sara Abou Rashed, who immigrated from Syria 5 years ago, read a powerful poem, "I am America"
by Kelly Sassi

One of the big changes this fall was that the National Writing Project no longer hosts an Annual Meeting the day before National Council for Teachers of English Annual Convention. Instead, this year NWP was integrated into NCTE, with its own strand of presentations. This made NCTE Annual Convention even bigger this year. I heard there were between 7000 and 8000 attendees in Houston, November 15-18. 

NCTE was excellent, starting with the opening session on the theme of "Raising Student Voice," where I heard Marley Dias talk about her #1000blackgirlbooks movement and other youth activists as well. Another highlight was hearing Chimimanda Adiche speak. She boldly stated, "There is something perverse about always expecting to be comfortable" and challenged teachers and students to get out of their comfort zone. Her book Americanah, is going to be the NCTE Winter Book Club Cafe selection.


I presented on two panels, one was called  "Teaching Fraught Homeplace Histories: Stories from (and Approaches for) K-16 Classrooms," sponsored by MLA, with Sarah
Ruffing Robbins, Ebony Elizabeth Thomas, Kelly Sassi, and Adam Hubrig. The second was "Fostering the Emergence of Personal Voice through Collaboration between Writing Project Sites and the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards" with Meg Peterson, Dina Portnoy, and Alexis Almeida.


Since I serve on NCTE's Diversity and Inclusivity Committee, I also attended that meeting, as well as the workshop for NCTE Affiliates on behalf of NDCTE.

I attended the Heinemann author reception, where I rubbed elbows with Penny Kittle,
Smokey Daniels, Katie Ray Woods, Leila Christenbury, Ken Lindblom, and more amazing authors published by Heinemann.
The beautiful library where the reception was held. 
I volunteered in the NWP booth for a few hours, and on the last day attended the National Writing Project brunch, where we heard from the National Director, Elyse Eidman-Aadahl, who said that although funding for education is greatly reduced at the federal level right now, the NWP is looking into other sources of funding and also setting up a site for Giving Tuesday. Please help spread the word about this! Here is a link to donate to the NWP.
The NWP Brunch at NCTE Annual Convention
It would be great if you could attend NCTE next year and join us at next year's NWP brunch. The convention is a powerful professional development experience that many districts will fund, especially if you are on the program as a presenter. I am fortunate in that my university provides some professional development funds, which is how I managed to go this year. Between workshops, meetings, two presentations, volunteering, networking, and learning from the sessions I attended, I feel I got a lot out of the conference. My only regret is not having enough time in the enormous exhibit hall to get signed books by the many authors who are always at the Convention! Maybe next year . . . 

The Call for Proposals (CFP) for next year's conference in Baltimore is here--let me know if you are interested in putting together a RRVWP panel proposal: http://convention.ncte.org/2019-convention/call-for-proposals/