Spring Newsletter Submissions

Chris Salamone is currently soliciting submissions for our spring newsletter. If you know of anything newsworthy, send her the good word. Here is the information:

It’s time for the spring edition of the Western New York Writing Project Newsletter and, as usual, I need your help.
We accept original poems, short stories, announcements of births, marriages, awards, photos, and anything else exciting.
Deadline for submissionsIsApril 24, 2009
Email all information to:
HYPERLINK "mailto:Salamone426@aol.com" Salamone426@aol.com


2009 CEE Conference

2009 CEE Conference
The Council on English Education (CEE)is announcing its first conference which will be held in Chicago, IL on June 18 -21, 2009. As an affiliate of NCTE, CEE focuses on the professional life of the English educator and the policies that effect English education at all levels.

This conference will not only be informative, but it will also offer English teachers a venue for collaborative work to bring about change.


Tom O'Malley Published in My View

Congratulations! to Tom O'Malley, 1986 Fellow, whose personal essay, "There is an Upside to Every Downturn," was published in Sunday's Buffalo News, My View column.
You can read his essay by clicking on the link below:


Peaceprints Project Exhibition

We begin this year with peace in our hearts and in our schools. This post is from Evelyn, our Peaceprints Project coordinator. Thank you, Evelyn.

This month Tapestry High School and Catholic Central, pilot schools for the WNY Writing Project's Peaceprints Project held events that celebrated Sister Karen Klimczak’s “peaceprints” ways to further a culture of nonviolence. At Tapestry students photographed examples of justice and injustice throughout the city and wrote social analysis pieces to accompany their photos. This was part of Tapestry’s expeditionary learning mission. The work was exhibited at the Grant Street Gallery January 15-18, 2009. Tapestry wrote: “Working with all of you [at the WNY Writing Project] on the Peaceprints Project you continued to show us the importance of encouraging peace and nonviolence with youth. As we put the finishing touches on the exhibition we could not help but see the vital links to the message you all bring. Peace, nonviolence, justice, and hope are really the foundations that we all hope to impart to the students we see every day.”

At Catholic Central, the St. Monica’s division held a Martin Luther King Peaceprints day sponsored by Americorp. Students from St. Joseph University School wrote peace poems under the direction of WNY Writing Project teacher mentors, Pat McClain and Evelyn Brady, and at St.Monica’s under the direction of visiting faculty. On Martin Luther King Day, the two schools came together to share their poems, enjoy peace activities, learn how to “sign” to the “Peaceprints” song and create art works that spoke of peaceprints and MLK’s message of nonviolence. The students integrated their written work in their art pieces. As a final activity, the art pieces were “quilted” together to produce a peace quilt that will be placed at the Sister Karen Center for Nonviolence.


Make Your Students Part of History

In November my students took part in the PBS McNeil Lehrer Newshour "Video Your Vote" contest. My students used digital video cameras to document the essence of the election experience. They interviewed parents, students, and community members and weaved their stories into short videos. Here are a few examples that were featured on the PBS website.

As an extension of this project, Newshour has put together a podcasting project for inauguration day. All your students need is a cell phone (or a school phone that can dial toll free 1-888 numbers). Lizzy Berryman, the Director of the Newshour Teachers Center, is a NWP TC. Here is the blurb she sent me:

We are asking your students to call and record their thoughts and reflections on the Obama inauguration in less than two minutes...We will have students calling in from the parade, from the swearing in, one student calling in after singing back up for Beyonce, and of course kids calling from across the country in their classrooms and homes as they witness history. We will be publishing the posts on our student voices section of our website.

Lizzy asked me to spread the word to my teacher networks, and that means you. If you are interested, email me at malleyjoel@yahoo.com or jmalley@cheektowagacentral.org and I will forward the phone number, password, and extension.


Publication News and Other Tidbits

  • It has come to our attention that Eva Doyle, 1986 Fellow, publishes regularly. From Suzanne's email:
  • In the years since she participated in the Summer Institute, she has written 9 books and over 3000 articles on the contributions of African Americans to our society and to the world.
    Her 9th book, Warren Gamaliel Harding - One of America's Black Presidents, was featured in the Buffalo News in 2008 for Presidents' Day. The book is still available and can be purchased on Amberbooks.com for $18.00.
  • The WNYWP book club is currently reading The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski. Join us to discuss the book on February 24 at the Borders Books store in Orchard Park. If you will be attending or have any questions email Greg at staniszg@aol.com. Hope to see all you dog and book lovers there.


Linda Drajem Published in My View

WNYWP Fellow Linda Drajem was recently published in The Buffalo News' "My View" column. Her essay, "Let's focus on loving all of God's people" is a reflection on both the role of All Saints Church on her Riverside neighborhood in the 1950's and her sadness that the church seems to be pushing aside the teachings of inclusiveness and love for all people as it continues to preach against gay marriage and homosexuality.

It really is a powerful essay, no matter where you stand on the issue. Way to go Linda.


Obama, Education, and Arne Duncan

Well, I apologize for the almost month long hiatus, but it's been a bit busy. One of my New Year's resolutions is to post more often.

My inbox has been teeming with a back and forth between members of the NWP Tech Liaison network. There's been a substantial amount of discussion about incoming Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. As you're probably aware, Stanford's Linda Darling Hammond was the favorite amongst progressive educators. To the chagrin of many, President Elect Obama appointed Chicago Public Schools CEO Arne Duncan instead.

It looks like Duncan is fan of the test driven education that became ubiquitious under NCLB. For more reading, feel free to check out this article from the Atlanta Journal Constitution, or this one from Truthout.org, or this primer from Alfie Kohn published two days ago in The Nation.

Now, truthfully, I don't know what kind of sway the Secretary of Education actually has, but this seems like a letdown. It would have been nice to have an actual educator fill this position, especially one with more progressive views on education.