Observer: Institute's New Local Initiative

January 27, 2011Bill Schmitt

The Institute for Educational Initiatives at the University of Notre Dame has entered a collaboration aimed at helping public and parochial school students in the campus’s neighboring communities to improve their writing skills. See the Jan. 27 edition of The Observer. The endeavor will be supported by the Indiana Commission for Higher Education, which awarded this project nearly $200,000 as part of an Improving Teacher Quality Partnership Program grant.

The collaboration, called the Power of Writing, or the POW Project, brings the Institute together with the South Bend Community School Corporation (SBCSC), the Diocese of Ft. Wayne-South Bend, and Notre Dame’s Writing Center.

Together, they will provide workshops for teachers and writing tutors for students in an effort to make short-term and long-term writing interventions more effective for children and teachers in grades 5 through 8.

Teachers and administrators from South Bend’s Brown and Dickinson Intermediate Centers and from five of the K-8 Catholic schools in the area will be involved.

Objectives of the project include these :
• Students benefiting from the enhanced teaching skills will enter high school with standardized test scores in English/Language Arts meeting or exceeding the expectation for their grade level;
• Students will improve their writing skills across the curriculum, producing grade-level-appropriate writing samples of various kinds;
• Teachers will gain confidence in their own ability to teach writing well to their students , enhancing their skills as educators and promoting their professional growth.
Joyce Johnstone, director of program development for the Institute for Educational Initiatives, will serve as principal investigator, and Karen Morris of the Institute will serve as program director.

The Improving Teacher Quality Partnership Program brings Indiana’s colleges and universities together with high need school districts to support the professional development needs of teachers with the goal of improving student achievement.

For more information, contact Bill Schmitt, IEI media specialist, at 574-631-3893