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Writing Project Director Hopes to Raise Reading and Writing Scores

June 15, 2005 – Fifteen teachers from high schools and elementary schools in St. Thomas and St. Croix will share writing styles and techniques at the Virgin Islands Writing Project Summer Institute that begins on Monday, June 20, 2005, on the University of the Virgin Islands St. Croix campus. The institute, based on a model of "teachers teaching teachers," provides a setting for participants to share successful classroom practices. Teachers will develop their own writing skills and study current research in the teaching of writing.
The Institute will open with presentations by guest lecturer Nick Faraclass of the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras. His lecture will focus on transcribing oral history.
"I'm excited because this is my first one," said Valerie Combie, project director. The VIWP started on the St. Thomas campus in 2001 and conducted two summer institutes in 2002 and 2003, but then it became inactive. This year the institute was switched to UVI's St. Croix campus under Combie's leadership. It is expected to alternate annually between campuses. Participants are encouraged to conduct professional development courses on what they have learned when they return to their respective schools.
Combie said she hopes that the institute will result in improved scores in reading and writing for our students. Combie is a humanities professor on UVI's St. Croix campus. "We do know the test scores of our students. We hope that by next year these scores will go up," she said.
The Institute's daylong sessions will run Mondays through Thursdays until July 15. A stipend of $800 will be awarded to all participants. Teachers from St. Thomas and St. John will also receive free transportation and accommodations. Participating teachers are from the following schools: Central, Charlotte Amalie, and Ivanna Eudora Kean High Schools, and Charles Emanuel, Alexander Henderson, Alfredo Andrews, Pearl B. Larsen, Lew Muckle and Ricardo Richards Elementary Schools.
The University of the Virgin Islands, the VI Department of Education, and the National Writing Project funds the Virgin Islands Writing Project. It is one of the National Writing Project's network of 185 locations at universities throughout the United States and its territories.
For more information contact Valerie Combie at UVI at 692-4126, or send an e-mail to vcombie@uvi.edu

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