Symposium on Preparing College-Ready Writers

We are all too familiar with the countless reports from higher education and the business community that the state of student writing is in serious need of repair. To address these challenges, One World Education hosted its first annual Symposium on Preparing College-Ready Writers on September 22, 2016 at the Pepco Edison Place Gallery, featuring K-12 and university experts who discussed successful strategies and initiatives that work at different levels, with a particular focus on instruction and assignments. (To learn more about the difference between instruction and assignment, read Eric Goldstein's blog post, Slow, but Real, Progress on Writing Instruction.)

This timely conversation on preparing students for the rigors of college-level writing explored successful approaches to effective writing instruction and student-centered assignments. The packed house included a diverse audience, representing DC Public Schools, several local charter networks, education funders, programming providers, and higher education. For an overview of the event, please read the Storify recap here, and for quotes from each speaker and panelists, check out the highlights below.

Guest Speaker: Panel 1 - Instruction Guest Speaker: Panel 2 - Assignments

Caron Martinez (Photo Credit: Lu Ann McNabb)

“Instruction begins with instructors. It’s all about supporting teachers, building a culture of learning and collaboration in our schools. If we’re excited and engaged, modeling inquiry, respectful listening and problem solving, students will see that we’re committed to helping them succeed.”

- Caron Martinez, Director of the Kogod Center for Business Communications, Kogod School of Business, American University (photo credit: Lu Ann McNabb)

Brian Pick (Photo Credit: Lu Ann McNabb)

“Why writing? To get into college (and have success in higher education), you have to know how to write. Writing is voice and power. It's authority, agency and advocacy. Good writing comes with good assignments: rigorous, meaningful, student-centered assignments.”

- Brian Pick, Chief of Teaching and Learning, District of Columbia Public Schools (photo credit: Lu Ann McNabb)

Panel 1: Instruction

Panel 1: Dr. Kellee Jenkins Panel 1 Crowd Shot Panel 1: Dr. Kevin Rulo

“We need to make sure effective writing instruction is a priority in schools by ensuring that teachers are reading and writing in their own lives, and by giving students opportunities to write at the higher education level.” 

- Dr. Kellee Jenkins, Assistant Professor of Literacy Education and Director of the DC Area Writing Project, Howard University

"At Catholic University, our teachers are always looking for ways to connect with the broader conversation about writing instruction. We hold regular holistic grading sessions where several teachers review the same paper to make sure we’re on the same page for our own standards.”

- Dr. Kevin Rulo, Director of the University Writing Center and Clinical Assistant Professor of English, The Catholic University of America

“Our system assumes that if a student is in high school or college, they already know how to write a sentence. This isn’t always true! Effective writing instruction starts at the sentence level.” 

- Natalie Wexler, Board Chair, The Writing Revolution

Panel 2: Assignments

Corinne Colgan Panel 2 Andrew Howard

"We need to view assignments as either windows or mirrors, where students can take apply new skills to learn more about themselves and others." 

- Corinne Colgan, Deputy Chief of Literacy and Humanities, District of Columbia Public Schools

“I’m always looking for opportunities to incorporate writing assignments between departments, incorporating a DC history class with an English composition class. Writing belongs across the curriculum. If I had been able to write more in math class, the ideas might have stuck with me!”

- Andrew Howard, English Program Coordinator and Assistant Professor, University of the District of Columbia Community College

“Being able to collaborate on the creation of assignments, then looking back at student work to identify the results of those assignments, editing the assignments, and doing that over and over again is critical.”

- Amy Rosenkrans, Executive Coordinator of Arts Integration, Prince George's County Public Schools


Eric Goldstein

"It's an honor to facilitate dialogue between stakeholders with different perspectives to analyze and share best practices to prepare college-ready writers.”

- Eric Goldstein, CEO and Founder, One World Education


Sponsors and Tabling Organizations

Center for Inspired Teaching Table DC Area Writing Project Table Writopia Table