One Preston County middle school will get a boost in writing instruction, thanks to the National Writing Project at West Virginia University and a $20,000 grant from the United States Department of Education.

The grant will help the Project work intensively with faculty at West Preston Middle School in Masontown to improve writing instruction across content areas.

It was awarded by the National Writing Project as a part of nearly $30 million in grants from the Department of Education to support teacher and principal development.

The grant will fund a year of sustained professional development for all teachers at West Preston Middle School, which includes 24 staff members and more than 230 students.

“We look forward to the opportunity to work with the National Writing Project at WVU to build a stronger writing program at West Preston,” said James Hoit, principal of West Preston Middle School.”

“One of the exciting elements of this work is how comprehensive and thorough it will be,” said Malayna Bernstein, Project co-director and assistant professor in the WVU College of Education and Human Services. “We will work with every teacher and administrator at West Preston. This is a rare opportunity to support teachers’ collaboration as they consider how writing is used and taught across and within each discipline.”

The project will focus on how writing instruction supports student learning, particularly in the context of West Virginia’s new content standards, which are based on the Common Core Standards, a U.S. education initiative that seeks to bring diverse state curricula into alignment with each other.

“The standards for writing are higher in these new standards, and students are expected to think and write critically in every content area,” said Audra Slocum, Project co-director and assistant professor in the WVU College of Education and Human Services. “Teachers need time to prepare for how to effectively integrate writing into their practice.”

The Project has partnered with local school districts, the Eberly College of Arts & Sciences and the College of Education and Human Services since 1987.

The Project also offers professional development on writing and teacher leadership. For more information, visit:



CONTACT: Christie Zachary, WVU College of Education and Human Services

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