Since the 2015-16 school year, a multi-year initiative in the Trumbull Public Schools - "Trumbull Writes!" - has expanded our students' capacity to become the best writers they can be, starting in kindergarten and proceeding all the way through twelfth grade. We continue to build upon our Belief Statement, developed in October 2015, for Writing in the Trumbull Public Schools.
- Beginning in the spring of 2016, a sustained, systematic effort was begun to train all K-8 classroom teachers, literacy consultants, and principals in Trumbull in the premises of writing workshop, in particular as developed by Teachers College, Columbia University. To date, well over one hundred of our classroom teachers have participated in writing institutes led by experts from Teachers College: eighty of those enthusiastically participated in a four-day K-5 Summer Writing Institute in Trumbull held during August 2016; thirty attended a four-day 3-5 Advanced Summer Writing Institute in Trumbull held during July 2017; and fifty TPS middle school teachers began the exciting journey with the four-day Grades 6-8 Summer Writing Institute in Trumbull held during July 2017.
- At the K-5 level, Writing exists as one thread of Balanced Literacy; the other is Reading. Subsequent to the August 2016 Writing Institute, teams of grades K-5 teachers worked to develop writing curricula for pilot implementation during the 2016-2017 school year. Those curricula were then updated during the summer of 2017 based upon the pilot year of implementation, and further updated and approved by the Board Education during the summers of 2018 and 2019 consistent with the new reading curricula discussed under "Trumbull Reads!"
- Subsequent to the July 2017 Writing Institute, teams of grades 6-8 teachers worked to develop Draft for Pilot writing curricula for implementation during the 2017-18 school year. Those curricula were brought to the Board of Education Curriculum Committee in July, August, & September 2017; they will be updated during the summer of 2018 based upon the pilot year of implementation, and then brought to the Board of Education for approval for full implementation beginning in the 2018-2019 school year.
- At the grades 9-12 level, teachers began a collaboration with the Bard College Institute for Writing & Thinking with a full professional development day in June 2018, participation in July Workshops held at Bard College, and sustained professional development throughout the 2018-19 school year. Teacher feedback has been positive, and will be manifest in the continued infusion of high-quality writing instruction across courses at Trumbull High School.
- To support teachers instructionally since the 2016-17 school year, teachers across schools participate in regular grade-level after-school meetings to share best practices related to writing workshop; they also participate in visit teams to observe colleagues across all grades and schools in implementing writing workshop.
- Rubrics for reporting of student data in writing: Literacy consultants, the K-5 Program Leader for English Language Arts, and grades 6-8 instructional leaders in English Language Arts assist teachers in implementing consistent standards of student assessment related to writing workshop. Trimester 1 Units of Study, for all K-5 grade levels, focus on Narrative Writing. Trimester 2 and Trimester 3 Units of Study bring students into Information Writing and Opinion Writing. Grade-specific rubrics are used to evaluate student work.
On all rubrics, the goal is for a student to attain "grade-level expectations" (a "3" on the rubric) or higher by the end of the year; during the school year, a student's rubric scores will likely represent progress toward meeting those expectations.
- Based on the elements of each rubric category, the category of "Structure" can generate between 0-20 points; "grade-level expectations," by the end of the year, would be 15 points.
- The category of "Development" can generate between 0-16 points, since each rubric category in Development is weighted double; "grade-level expectations," by the end of the year, would be 12 points.
- The category of "Language Conventions" can generate between 0-8 points; "grade-level expectations," by the end of the year, would be 6 points.
- In reporting students' work for the K-5 Standards-Based Report Card, teachers have been provided a Rating Scale for converting student rubric scores into report card scores.
- Parent Information Sessions related to Writing Workshop were held on November 17, 2016, for grades K-2 parents and December 1, 2016, for grades 3-5 parents. Additional resources for parents wishing to support their children in writing are available here (particularly appropriate for grades K-2 parents) and here (particularly appropriate for grades 3-5 parents).
- Highlighting Trumbull's successful approach to ongoing curriculum development and professional development linked to Writing Workshop, on March 9, 2017, District and school administrators and teacher-leaders presented "Strengthening Teacher Feedback Cycles with School-Based Consultants and Principals" at the Connecticut State Department of Education's Moving from Compliance to Coherence Conference.