The University of Massachusetts Amherst
HFA - College of Humanities & Fine Arts view HFA submenu
For Educators

Summer Leadership Institute

About SLI

WMWP's annual Summer Leadership Institute (English 591LL: Literacy Leadership Institute) brings together outstanding teachers who work with students in all academic content areas and at all grade levels, pre‑K through college. Supported by the WMWP facilitators and each other, these teachers spend two weeks immersed in writing, reading, and reflective inquiry.

During the following school year, they conduct action-research projects in their own classrooms and come together for three reunion meetings (English 591Q: Teacher Inquiry Seminar). At the end of this process, they become WMWP Teacher-Consultants. In this capacity they may provide professional development to schools for WMWP; present their research in local, regional, and national venues; and contribute to the ongoing growth of WMWP.

In this way, the Summer Leadership Institute represents the first leg in what thousands of National Writing Project teachers around the country have described as a career-transforming journey.

As participants, teachers engage in their own writing in order to explore ways to use writing more meaningfully in their classrooms. They participate in a collaborative inquiry community: reading current theory and research, engaging in classroom-based action research, and presenting a professional workshop.

Themes for Inquiry

CLASSROOM INQUIRY: How can reflecting on my teaching help me ask meaningful questions to improve my practice?

REFLECTION AND IMPLEMENTATION: How do I incorporate change into my practice? How can attention to difference in my classroom inform my pedagogy and/or curriculum?

LANGUAGE AND POWER: How can language be used in a classroom to empower or disempower students? How can a student's native language be valued in my classroom?

LITERACY AND LEARNING: How can I help students become more confident and effective writers and readers? What writing-to-learn and critical reading strategies can I use to help students develop content knowledge and understanding?


“This program made me feel more confident as a teacher, writer, and presenter.”

“This was the best PD ever. I think it really elevates the profession… teaching is not a 9-5; it is a vocation. Some educators might lose sight of that when they are bogged down with the politics of their schools. This institute was just a great opportunity to talk with other educators and reflect on our profession. This is vital to our practice.”

“I have concrete strategies to try in the classroom. It was amazing to have a chance to really reflect on my work outside of the school year. I am so glad I did the SLI!”

“I would tell others that no matter what their subject area is, they would benefit … SLI is helpful for all teachers."

— Past SLI participants

2022 Summer Leadership Institute