Being a Writer Success Stories

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Albemarle County, VA

Albemarle County Public Schools (ACPS), located in central Virginia, began using Developmental Studies Center materials in the fall of 2008. Although the Making Meaning program is being used in only a few schools, the Being a Writer program has been gradually been adopted district-wide at the elementary level. This summary focuses on writing scores in the first four elementary schools to implement the Being a Writer program in the district starting in 2008–09.
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Astatula Elementary School, Lake County Schools Astatula, FL

As a former first grade teacher, my teammates and I had been searching for a writing program that was systematic, explicit, and tied to literature. We were creating writing lessons for our students using mentor texts, always feeling we were missing something. As a school, we did not have a structure or program that was consistent for teaching writing to students. This was especially troublesome for our fourth-grade teachers, as FCAT Writes is a tested area. This year we will be implementing BAW K–5.
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Greer Elementary School, Galt Joint Union Elementary School District, Galt, CA

According to my teachers who piloted Being a Writer, students look forward to daily writing. They are unhappy if writing is left out of the day! Students write every day of the week. They are also asked to work in pairs, small groups, and with the whole class when developing ideas and working on writing pieces. It has wonderful opportunities for students to learn to share and work together.
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Hatboro-Horsham School District, PA

Hatboro-Horsham School District has launched a district-wide writing program in elementary schools that will stimulate improved overall student performance, Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) scores, and student interest in writing and classroom engagement.
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Kennett Consolidated School District, Kennett Square, PA

Some teachers started piloting the Being a Writer program last January and are now helping to train colleagues in all three schools in every grade. We are using teacher experts across all of the grades and schools to help implementation.
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Lake Forest South Elementary, Harrington, DE

In the 2012–13 school year I piloted the program for our school. I wanted to see what it had to offer. My expectations were for the students to learn and understand the writing process. It’s always been a challenge for me to have my students enjoy writing before this program. I was hoping that the kids would enjoy it—and they do!
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Lewiston Elementary, Grovetown, GA

The principal at Lewiston Elementary was looking to improve student test scores and provide teachers with a writing curriculum that would support the Common Core and the Georgia State Standards. This interview was held after the Being a Writer program had been implemented for 1 year in grades K–5—during which time the students' state test scores rose 16 points and the writing that started coming from the children was “phenomenal.”
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Martinez Elementary, Martinez, GA

Principal Wade White was looking for a comprehensive writing program that would provide a consistent lesson plan for teachers and support consistent performance from students. With limited Title 1 resources Wade started the implementation in grades 3–5. One year later the students achieved a 22 percent gain in their writing scores—the largest gain in their district—and “the students are genuinely excited to write.”
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R. Guild Gray Elementary School, Clark County School District Las Vegas, NV

BAW is used in our building in all grades, K–5. We started out using it only in the intermediate grades, then the word spread and the primary grades wanted it as well. We use Being a Writer every day of the week, and we have allotted 48 minutes a day per grade level. The fifth day of the week is used for review, extension, or additional instruction.
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Stratford Academy, Macon, GA

Redonda Mann, Lower School Principal of Stratford Academy, tells how teachers and students have benefitted from the implementation of DSC's reading, vocabulary, and writing programs. "Making Meaning and Being a Writer have given our students great training in working in groups, building their listening skills, sharing with a partner, listening to a partner, and retelling what a partner has said. It was almost like a character education program within the reading program. And that character education carries forward and supports the subsequent classrooms and teachers."
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W. Reily Brown Elementary, Caesar Rodney School District, Dover, DE

Kim Simmons is piloting the Being a Writer program for the 2013–14 school year. W. Reily Brown Elementary has not had a writing curriculum, per se. Kim has never had any formal training or curriculum for teaching writing. She has been teaching for nine years and this is her first year teaching second grade. At the time of this interview, Kim was in her fourth week of the Being a Writer pilot.
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W. Reily Brown Elementary, Level IV, Caesar Rodney School District, Dover, DE

Nicole Monroney is a fifth-grade teacher of Level IV students who need additional support in many areas. Their abilities ranged from 1 to 4 grade levels below fifth grade. Nicole says, “When I began using the Being a Writer program I was just hoping that they would write something for me. On the first day they all were writing! By the end of the year they would not stop writing!”