April 21, 2017
Alongside cheerful Fiesta preparations on the San Antonio Riverwalk, Write for Texas project staff gathered for a Spring Meeting on April 18-19, 2017. The capstone event for project staff was a celebration of its own, marking the many achievements and successes of the three-year initiative. All regional project sites were represented at the meeting by coaches and other site staff along with teachers and administrators they had supported through Write for Texas.
During the two-day meeting, the approximately 80 participants engaged in deep and lively conversation with colleagues about their experience implementing Write for Texas. The meeting format featured a series of roundtable discussions hosted by project staff from each site, and attended by meeting participants. Conversation topics, selected by the sites, represented a range of ideas and concerns related to transforming writing instruction. Common themes included outreach and building relationships, the evolving role of an instructional coach, strategies and frameworks to support learning, and building capacity through virtual and face-to-face networks.
The opportunity for collaboration, choice in discussion topics, and invitation to adapt and apply the ideas they heard to their own work resonated with meeting participants. During closing reflections, one coach shared, “At first I was doubtful about how much I would benefit from the roundtable conversations, but I am taking home so many amazing ideas for supporting teachers. I will be using so much of what I learned right away.” Other participants echoed this feeling, voicing their appreciation to colleagues for their willingness to share and expressing how, even though funding for Write for Texas officially ends later this summer, they hope the network will continue to flourish.
Success Stories from a Literacy Initiative serves as a lasting legacy of the amazing work by the Write for Texas coaches and site staff between 2014-2017. We hope the collection of stories will inform and inspire other educators to adopt similar practices.