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Invitational Summer Institute 2013:
Issues in Literacy Instruction and Common Core State Standards

The Spartanburg Writing Project (SWP) is now accepting applications from teachers interested in participating in the 29th annual Invitational Summer Institute of the Spartanburg Writing Project. The Summer Institute will be held:

  • June 5 - 28, 2013 
  • 8:30 a.m. - 3 p.m. 
  • USC Upstate, 800 University Way, Spartanburg 

Participants are accepted by invitation or application only. Click here for application submission information 
Application deadline: Application Deadline: Friday, February 1, 2013. 

Please Note:**In addition to the four-week Summer Institute, participants are required to attend two pre-institute meetings on Thursday, April 11 and Thursday, April 25, 2013 from 4:00-7:00pm, and an institute follow-up meeting in October 2013. The registration fee/tuition is $150.***ALL applicants MUST attend an interview session on Tuesday, February 26, 2013.The interview is designed to give applicants a chance to learn more about the ISI, and to provide the SWP Leadership Team with more information about your teaching.

Who Should Apply? 

Applicants should be experienced educators from kindergarten through the university level with an interest in exploring their own writing and improving writing instruction in their own classrooms. Participants are expected to assume leadership roles in local educational and professional development programs following their involvement with the Summer Institute. Because the writing project is committed to the integration of literacy strategies across the curriculum, we encourage teachers of all grade levels and content areas to apply. 

This intense professional development experience is unlike any you have encountered and provides invaluable strategies for improving literacy and writing instruction in classrooms across the curriculum.Teachers may attend by application and invitation only.

Registration Cost

The individual registration fee for the course is $150. The Invitational Summer Institute 2013 is co-sponsored by The Spartanburg Writing Project, USC Upstate and the Spartanburg County and Union County school districts. Participants can earn six hours of graduate credit at no tuition cost. Twenty-five outstanding teachers representing elementary, middle or junior high, high school and college will be selected as 2013 Fellows.

Application Submission Information

The 2013 SWP Summer Institute is an Invitational Program. Please download the application and review all requirements carefully. In addition to the application, letter of intent, and letter of recommendation, there is a required interview on Tuesday, February 26, 2013. Interviews last approximately 20 minutes and will be scheduled at intervals between 4 and 6pm.

You may also download the Word version of the ISI application. Applications can be submitted via email to tthomas@uscupstate.edu, via fax at 864-503-5825, or via mail to USC Upstate, HPAC 205, 800 University Way, Spartanburg, SC 29303 no later than Friday, February 1, 2013.

The Spartanburg Writing Project is an affiliate of the National Writing Project, a national model for professional development with more than 200 sites across the United States and the world.

Please contact Tasha Thomas by email at tthomas@uscupstate.edu if you have questions.

About the Summer Institute

The Summer Institute is an intensive four-week program in which teachers learn to initiate, respond to, manage and evaluate a wide variety of classroom writing activities as well as work on their own writing.  Course objectives include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Teacher as Writer: To consider the qualities distinguishing effective, quality writing and implement those qualities into original pieces.
  • Teacher as Instructor: To explore best practices for teaching writing, to study and evaluate current research on the teaching of writing.
  • Teacher as Professional: To investigate and pursue opportunities for continual professional growth.
  • Teachers using Technology: To understand and apply technology in the classroom for maximum growth of 21st century literacy kills

As part of the course requirements, participants will:

  • Write daily in a variety of contexts
  • Use technology daily and learn ways to more effectively integrate a variety of technological applications in the classroom
  • Experience effective instructional strategies for teaching writing through workshops by peers and directors
  • Design and demonstrate a writing workshop lesson based on best practice instruction
  • Serve as peer responders for colleagues
  • Read and discuss theory and practice in writing instruction
  • Maintain and discuss multi-genre writing portfolios
  • Publish their own writing in an institute anthology
  • Submit original works for publication to a broader audience
  • Submit a proposal to present at a local, state, or national conference

Typical Daily Schedule

A typical day in the SWP Summer Institute looks something like this:

8:30 a.m. - Craft Lesson
9:00 a.m. - Independent and Small Group Writing, Responding, Sharing and Conferring
10:00 a.m. - Teaching Demonstration (delivered by Coaches and Participants)
11:00 a.m. - Teaching Demonstration (delivered by Coaches and Participants)
Noon - Lunch
1:00 p.m. - Teaching Demonstration (delivered by Coaches and Participants)
2:00 p.m. - Book Clubs, Grade-Level Planning, Round Table Discussions

Each week, we also take a “field trip” to explore local resources for teaching and writing. Past trips include The Chapman Cultural Center, Hatchers Garden, The Hub City Bookstore, and Carl Sandburg’s home, Connemara, in Flat Rock, NC.

The SWP Summer Institute culminates in an ‘Administrator’s Breakfast,’ during which participants share what they have learned and how this experience will change their teaching with principals, literacy coaches and other teachers from local schools.  The final day of the is a ‘Celebration of Writing’ and all that we accomplish during these intense four weeks.

Contact Us
Tasha A. Thomas, Director
USC Upstate
800 University Way
Spartanburg, SC 29303
Office 864-503-5653
Fax 864-503-5825

Additional Resources
The National Writing Project
SC State Council of The International Reading Association
SC Council of Teachers of English
National Council for Teachers of English
SC Department of Education
Hub City Writers Project


The Spartanburg Writing Project is an affiliate of the National Writing Project, a national model for professional development with more than 180 sites across the United States and the world.