Summer Institute FAQ

When does the Summer Institute occur?
Usually the Summer Institute takes place during the month of June.

Where does the Summer Institute occur?
The Summer Institute takes place in a KSU classroom as well as in the KSU Writing Center. The Writing Center is located in the English Building on the second floor in Room 242.

How is the Institute different from other professional development opportunities?
The multi-week Institute is a workshop designed to be both more demanding and more fulfilling than traditional staff development programs. Also, the Institute connects to the National Writing Project’s philosophy that teachers improve their own teaching practices by working with other outstanding teachers in group-learning activities.

Will I have a lot of “homework” to do outside Institute hours?
Summer Institute participants are expected to do some reading and writing outside of Institute hours. However, since participants are actively engaged in learning during the day, the work at home is minimal.

What are the attendance expectations for participants?
In general, we expect participants to be present every day, unless there are unavoidable personal emergencies or professional responsibilities. Barring extenuating circumstances, no fellow should miss more than one whole day of the Institute.

How much will my books and other materials cost?
While there is no required common text, participants may have to purchase texts for independent or group reading, as well as to prepare for their teaching demonstration. Fellows should expect to pay to park on campus during the two pre-Institute workshops in April, but during the month of June the cost of parking will be covered by our grant.

May I bring guests to the Summer Institute?
The KMWP welcomes adult visitors, especially administrators and teachers who might like to apply to participate in future Summer Institutes. Although our work is fun, it is also intense and paced for talented adult learners. Therefore, except on special prearranged occasions, children should not be brought to the Institute.

What instructional settings, grade levels, and subject areas are represented at the Institute?
We always seek a group representing the full (Pre)K-University teaching levels. We welcome teachers from the business world (for example, corporate training centers) or from specialty schools and home schools. We also welcome any teacher of writing, regardless of subject area, from schools where teaching focuses on specific disciplines.

May I leave the KSU campus for lunch and/or to run errands?
Fellows should remain on campus during Institute hours. We try to have one extended lunch per week, but this is a time when all fellows enjoy a festive meal together. Some writing project sites meet 9:00 until 4:00. Instead, we pack our days with activities, including discussions over lunch, so we can end at 3:00 to beat rush-hour traffic.

To qualify as a fellow, how computer-comfortable do I need to be?
Fellows do need to be willing to try out a variety of learning experiences in a computer classroom. The computer expertise of past fellows has ranged from those who can teach several software programs to others who have rarely touched a keyboard.

What are my chances of being selected as a fellow?
We usually choose, from the initial applicant pool, to interview 20 candidates for our 12-14 basic Summer Institute slots. If you are invited for an interview, you have an excellent chance of becoming a fellow.

What if, after I am selected, I find I cannot participate for personal reasons?
Please notify us immediately so that we can contact an alternate before the pre-Institute workshops in April. We never add alternates after the pre-Institute workshop, as too much learning happens during those orientation activities to be “made up” later.

What is a teaching demonstration?
Each fellow will model a favorite lesson in writing for the entire group. Fellows’ demonstrations will be examples of lessons which involve writing in their own classrooms. After each demonstration, there will be a discussion of the excellent teaching concepts and principles shown in the lesson. Each fellow will learn to apply teaching concepts, based on core literacy development principles, across all grade levels and subject areas.

What do I need to bring for my teaching demonstration? How long should it last?
If you have some idea of what favorite lesson you might like to share for your teaching demonstration, you will want to bring the needed materials home at the end of the school year. The demonstration itself should last about one hour if done individually, although some fellows choose to do a 90-minute co-presentation. This time includes all parts of your lesson (introduction, activities, closure). Copies of handouts may be made at KSU.

How many PLUs (Professional Learning Units, previously known as Staff Development Units or SLUs) are obtained for completing the Institute?
Each Summer Institute will likely offer PLUs, but the exact number can change from year to year. Contact one of the Teaching Team members for more information.