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Improving Teacher Quality

Closing the Achievement Gap Write Now

Grant Number: 10-711

Grant Award: $926,286

Duration of Project: Thursday, September 30, 2010 - Monday, September 01, 2014

Project Subject Areas: Writing

Grade Band: 7th-12th

Institutes of Higher Education:

  • University of California, Davis

Local Education Agencies:

  • Twin Rivers Unified, McClellan

Number of teachers/principals/highly qualified paraprofessionals participating in the project:



  • To provide teachers with innovative research-based professional development that integrates spoken word poetry and standards-based writing instruction
  • To increase teachers’ content knowledge and pedagogy in writing instruction as well as their ability to analyze student writing
  • Increase secondary students’ academic achievement in writing, the ELA section of the CSTs, CAHSEE and district written assessments
  • Improve student engagement and literacy skills within TRUSD


  • Literacy Seminars will focus on instructional strategies relevant to grade level content writing standards, spoken word poetry and student engagement strategies
  • Poet-Mentors will coach teachers in SAYS writing workshops and spoken word performance poetry
  • Teachers/Poet-Mentors will collaborate in the lesson study process in year two and three
  • Intensive summer literacy retreats will be held in year one, two and three to strengthen the literacy innovation and enhance program implementation and planning

Anticipated Outcomes:

  • Establish a unique partnership that provides a comprehensive literacy intervention to augment teacher pedagogy and practice, and to improve student achievement
  • Increase in teachers’ content knowledge in writing instruction and ability to analyze student writing by delivering culturally relevant, engaging, standards-based writing lessons; narrowing the achievement gap in English Language Arts
  • Increase in student proficiency rates, including significant subgroups, ELA CSTs for grade 7, CAHSEE for grade 10 and district summative assessments


Project: Theresa Westover, Research Director,
Institute of Higher Education: Chris Thaiss, Co-Director,
Institute of Higher Education: Vajra Watson, Project Director,
Local Education Agency: Sarah Curtis, LEA Co-Director,

Questions, Comments, Corrections?

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