Geneva 2020 Partners with National Writing Project
Updated Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2018 —
This article first appeared in the HWS Update.
In partnership with Geneva 2020, the city’s school district and several regional charitable foundations, Hobart and William Smith hosted 17 local educators for an intensive professional development summit in July designed to help teachers improve the quality of student writing and learning in all subjects across all grade levels.
The forum, modeled after the National Writing Project, a national network that “focuses the knowledge, expertise, and leadership of our nation’s educators on sustained efforts to improve writing and learning for all learners,” was offered through Geneva 2020, a collective impact initiative that has worked to harness the resources of the entire community since 2011 to increase graduation rates, improve literacy, boost college and career readiness, and ensure every child enters school ready to learn.
“By seeing their teachers as writers and that writing is used for a variety of purposes in all disciplines,” says Jeffrey Parker, National Writing Project Fellow at Geneva High School, “the students will hopefully understand that there is no great mystery involved with writing. It’s a natural and enjoyable way to express our thoughts and feelings.”
Hobart and William Smith serve as the anchor organization for Geneva 2020 with generous support from the William G. McGowan Charitable Fund since 2015, the Max and Marian Farash Charitable Foundation and the ESL Charitable Foundation. The workshop was supported with funding from the Wyckoff Family Foundation.
Extensive support for HWS and Geneva 2020 allows organizers to strengthen local academic success through Geneva Writes, a new initiative that integrates writing into all aspects of academic life to develop critical thinking, performance and address gaps in student success.
This fall, Geneva 2020 and Geneva Reads will welcome intern Makayla Pydych ’19, who will help community leaders and educators develop additional programming. Pydych, a Writing Colleague at HWS, attended the National Writing Project Conference in Auburn, Ala., this summer with Associate Professor of Writing and Rhetoric Hannah Dickinson and Writing and Teaching/Learning Specialist Susan Hess.
“Geneva 2020 was thrilled to support Makayla’s attendance at the National Writing Project conference. Her background as an education major, America Reads tutor and Civic Leader for Literacy will serve us well as we work to support teachers and programs focused on reading and writing,” notes Amy Jackson-Sellers, program manager for Geneva 2020.
Graduation rates in the Geneva City School District increased from 70.7 percent in 2010 to 83% percent in 2018 due in part to the efforts of Geneva 2020. Other successful partnerships fueled by the ideals of Geneva 2020 include the HWS Tutor Corps at the Boys and Girls Club of Geneva and a partnership with the Geneva 2020 Theme House which pairs HWS students and GHS students enrolled in the LEAP program which promotes Advanced Placement exam preparation. In addition, more than 500 second, sixth and ninth graders from Geneva visit Hobart and William Smith for “College Bound” programming on campus each year, and engages about 75 Geneva High School students in monthly career chats.