What We Can Become: An Online Yearlong Institute

The Greater Madison Writing Project launched What We Can Become – an online yearlong institute – in the summer of 2020. The COVID 19 pandemic had shut down our schools and brought our education systems’ structural inequities into a new light. That difficult time was compounded by extreme political polarization ahead of the 2020 election and the murder of George Floyd and corresponding calls for racial justice. Deeply dedicated to not “returning to normal”, educators craved a space to sort through what they had learned and to plan for a better future. 

Little did we know that “returning to normal” wasn’t going to be possible for many schools and students during the 2020-21 school year. Whether dealing with masks and social distancing or virtual learning and isolation, not much of the past year looked or felt “normal” to anyone. 

As we near what is hopefully the end of the pandemic, however, we face renewed energy to wipe away the work and learning of the most challenging year of our lives. While some of these returns are welcomed, we must maintain a dedication to culturally sustaining, student-centered, partnership-focused learning experiences that create a more humane, responsive, and equitable education for all students, educators and communities. 

In the 2021-22 school year, the What We Can Become yearlong institute will study, use, and continuously improve the Design Principles for Culturally Sustaining Learning Partnerships (CSLPs) authored by the 2020-21 WWCB cohort. Based in the frameworks of Youth-Adult Partnerships and Culturally Sustaining Pedagogies as well as our own classrooms, these principles will guide our development of new and innovative approaches to teaching and learning. 

What We Can Become will bring together a select group of outstanding teachers working with student-writers in various academic content areas and grade levels. Participating teachers will meet monthly in our professional learning communities, blog about their experiences designing with CSLP, and create a culminating  contribution derived from classroom practice to our online resource.  

The vision of the Greater Madison Writing Project is to lead an education revolution through writing where teachers are at the center and students are at the heart of every classroom, school, and district in our nation. This vision and the current moment call for classrooms that are (1) responsive to the current crises, (2) center the lives of students, and (3) position educators as partners to youth in work and learning that cultivates equity and justice. To that end, What We Can Become will endeavor to design classrooms based on these pedagogies and practices. 

When: Summer – Wednesday, August 4, 2020; School year – Sept 29, Oct 27, Dec 8, Jan 26, Feb 23, March 23, April 20, & May 18 from 5-8PM

Where: What We Can Become will take place both online and in-person as conditions and space allows.

Program Fee:
Standard Rate: $750
Reduced Rate: $500

Reduced rate available with code WWCB21 for the following…

  • 3+ from the same organization
  • UW–Madison School of Education alumni
  • Working in a Wisconsin Title 1 School 
  • Black, Indigenous, or Educators of of Color
  • GMWP Members
  • WWCB Participants from the 20-21 school year & their colleagues

Please contact Mark Dziedzic (mdziedzic@wisc.edu) with any questions.