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Grant supports NDSU’s summer institute for local teachers


The Red River Valley Writing Project has received a $20,000 grant to enhance teacher leadership. The project offers regional teachers professional development opportunities, including institutes held at NDSU and the University of North Dakota, that consider local needs and the expertise of effective local teachers.

 The U.S. Department of Education’s Supporting Effective Educator Development grant will allow Kelly Sassi, assistant professor of English and education, and her UND colleague Kim Donehower, associate professor of English, to develop a 2013 summer institute at NDSU that focuses on writing across content areas. With the support of the grant, Sassi said she hopes to better prepare K-16 teachers for the growing challenges they face in the classroom.

“Teachers in eastern North Dakota and western Minnesota, like teachers across the nation, are facing the challenges of redesigning their curriculum to meet the new writing demands of the Common Core State Standards,” Sassi said. 

NDSU also hosted the 2012 summer institute, held July 16-27 with pre-institute meetings May 18-19. Five follow-up meetings are scheduled this fall for the 13 teachers who participated under the direction of Sassi and Grand Forks Central High School Spanish teacher Pam Fisher, who serves as outreach coordinator for the Red River Valley Writing Project.

The summer of 2013 will be the 13th consecutive year the Red River Valley Writing Project has received funding through the National Writing Project, a network of 210 university sites that aims to increase the quality of student literacy and writing through programs that improve teachers’ knowledge and understanding of writing. 

“Teachers today need time and space to do meaningful professional work in an environment where they and their work are respected,” Sassi said. “With this grant funding, the Red River Valley Writing Project can provide teachers with that professional home.”

More information on the Red River Valley Writing Project is available at

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Last Updated: Friday, December 03, 2021 3:37:09 PM
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