History and Development

Photo: UMass Boston

University of Massachusetts Boston

Founded in 1979, the Boston Writing Project (BWP) is a program of the Institute for Learning and Teaching (ILT) in the College of Education and Human Development at the University of Massachusetts at Boston. The goal of the BWP is to work with schools and teachers to improve the teaching and learning of writing in Massachusetts classrooms, K-College. To further this goal, the BWP has conducted annual summer institutes, inservice programs and a graduate certificate program in the teaching of writing for a wide variety of urban and suburban schools and teachers.

In all BWP activities, teachers write and examine their writing processes as well as those of their colleagues and students. The teaching of writing is approached in a cross-disciplinary context which focuses on current research, theory, and exemplary practice.

The BWP is a local affiliate of the National Writing Project (NWP), the nation’s largest and most successful professional development organization for teachers of writing. The NWP, begun in 1974, now has more than 200 university-based writing project sites that span all 50 states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands, providing professional development and leadership opportunities to more than 100,000 K-16 educators every year.Multiple assessments and evaluations have found the NWP/BWP professional development model to be highly effective in improving the teaching of writing by its impact on students, teachers, and schools. Both NWP and BWP have been repeatedly recognized for excellence and for the success of their efforts.

The Boston Writing Project focuses on the core mission of improving the teaching of writing and improving the use of writing across the disciplines by offering high-quality professional development programs for educators, at all grade levels, K–16 and across the curriculum. The BWP shares a national program model that includes

  • developing a leadership cadre of local teachers who have participated in invitational summer institutes in the teaching of writing
  • delivering customized inservice programs for local schools and institutions
  • providing continuing education and research opportunities for teachers.

In addition, BWP sponsors a four-week Summer Writing Project for middle and high school students. The BWP is housed in the College of Education and Human Development at the University of Massachusetts at Boston and is constituted as a school/university partnership that identifies, celebrates, and enhances the professional role of successful classroom teachers.

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