REAL TEACHING, REAL LEARNING

Official blog of Indiana Partnership for Young Writers

New name, same great program

July 25, 2018


We're excited to unveil some big news: we've changed our name to match the growing variety of services you've come to know from us. And we've updated our logo and other identifying materials to reflect the new name.

In short, we got a makeover this summer, but we're still the same on the inside!

As you may know, our program began in 1999 as a small professional development cohort helping teachers at three Indianapolis area schools teach writing in grades K-8. We've grown in so many ways since then:

A Program of Butler University's College of Education

In 2013 we officially became a program of Butler University's College of Education. This relationship makes us significantly more visible both locally and nationally, underscores the legitimacy and integrity of our program, establishes a connection to pre-service educators that is complementary to their teacher preparation studies, and provides access to a diverse set of new opportunities with Butler faculty, alumni, and existing partners. For example, our relationship to Butler directly allowed us to offer professional development in math education, pilot offerings in early childhood education with St. Mary's Child Care Center, and extend the successful programs to other early childhood centers through United Way of Central Indiana.

Headquartered inside IPS Butler University Lab School #60

With our offices located inside the original IPS Butler University Lab School, we've strengthened our connection to Indianapolis Public Schools and our understanding of the inner workings of a large urban school district. We are able to better advocate for teachers and support them in addressing district-wide mandates, challenges, and opportunities. Our proximity to teachers ensures that our programming remains relevant and informed by teachers and authentic classroom practices. We have increased access to teachers who are using what they have learned in professional development with us, enabling us to produce and share video clips, photographs, and other immediately useful resources. Additionally, being rooted in a true lab school means we have a safe place to take risks in our teaching and measure how our work impacts learning.

More content areas and grade levels

Facilitated by the move to Butler, we leveraged the expertise of Butler professor Ryan Flessner and alumna Courtney Flessner to expand our professional development offerings to include math. Highlighting the similarities and synergies between workshop teaching in reading, writing, and math enables us to deepen teachers' understanding of student-centered inquiry and differentiated instruction. Similarly, by extending the same quality of professional development to preschool, we're working to introduce students to the academic environment without jeopardizing their sense of belonging and efficacy.

More educators served

Expanding to new content areas and accessing new audiences with our increased visibility at Butler, we've dramatically increased both the breadth and depth of our program—serving more teachers with more hours of professional development. In 2017, for example, we provided more than 400 hours of professional development to 600 teachers from 125 schools. These numbers are all nearly three times what they were in 2011-2012, just prior to the move to Butler. Most of our participating teachers attend more than one event throughout the year and have been engaged with us for multiple years. Another 2,000 educators receive free resources from us annually through our website and e-newsletters.

Same fundamental beliefs

In spite of all this growth, our work is still grounded in the core beliefs we began with 20 years ago:

  • Teachers are hungry for immediately relevant and purposeful opportunities to continue growing as professionals
  • Teachers thrive in a learning community that extends beyond their grade levels, buildings, and districts.
  • All learners—adults and children alike—are best supported by inquiry based, culturally responsive teaching.
  • Students benefit most from our investments in their teachers.

So although our name has changed to reflect our expanded content offerings and give us room for continued growth, the substance of our program and ways in which we deliver professional development remain the same.

Thank you for your involvement. You make us who we are.

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See what's coming up on our professional development calendar.

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33 Teaching Possibilities preK-1 Readers





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