The Chicago Area Writing Project (CAWP) is based at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and since its founding in 1979, CAWP has trained more than 21,000 teachers based on the highly acclaimed Bay Area Writing Project “teachers-teaching-teachers” model to improve their instruction of writing. CAWP is one of over 200 sites of the National Writing Project and is one of six NWP sites in Illinois.
CAWP offers two levels of professional development:
Level One is its highly praised Invitational Summer Institute in which outstanding veteran teachers write themselves, learn current theory and research on writing instruction, and develop a workshop to train other teachers. Upon completion of the Summer Institute, participants, now called Teacher Consultants, join the CAWP professional network.
Level Two occurs throughout the school year when CAWP Teacher Consultants design and lead inservice workshops for other classroom teachers in which they share activities, materials, and approaches proven effective in their own classroom. Afterschool and inservice workshops are contracted by individual schools and districts for their own faculties on a variety of topics including: writing, reading strategies, emergent literacy, reading and writing in the content areas, writing assessment, ISAT preparation for extended writing, and moving to Common Core State Standards. In addition, CAWP Teacher Consultants lead a number of “open-enrollment” programs for interested individual teachers such as afterschool classes and Saturday workshops.
CAWP recognizes that teachers have varied interests, strengths and years of experience. The continued and advanced professional development of its Teacher Consultants is supported through networking meetings, quarterly newsletters, teacher inquiry groups, advanced workshops, graduate courses, professional and personal writing groups, as well as social events. CAWP also supports a New Teacher Initiative program for teachers with 0-3 years of experience designed by outstanding veteran teachers who not only share innovative, teaching strategies but also classroom-tested management systems to make them successful.
CAWP Teacher Consultants have been recognized as superior educators. Most recently, thirteen CAWP Teacher Consultants have been honored as Golden Apple award recipients for excellence in teaching, and 22 have achieved National Board certification.