What We Can Become: An Online Yearlong Institute

Registration Now Open!

Educators are teaching and learning in unprecedented times. COVID 19 demanded emergency remote teaching and educators across the country met the demand. The pandemic provided an opportunity to see our students’ and our systems’ structural inequities in a new light: While we will someday return to our classrooms, we must never return to “normal.” What We Can Become is dedicated to learning from the pandemic and creating a more humane, responsive, and equitable education for all students, educators, and communities. 

The What We Can Become Network Improvement Community (NIC) will study and use the Youth-Adult Partnerships and Culturally Sustaining Pedagogies frameworks in order to critique past teaching and learning practices (both before and during distance teaching in response to the COVID pandemic) and develop new and innovative approaches to teaching and learning.  In order to produce results that are broadly applicable, What We Can Become NIC will bring together a select group of outstanding teachers working with student-writers in various academic content areas and grade levels. Supported by the GMWP directors and each other, participating teachers will explore the following questions through reflective writing, analysis of past teaching and learning, and ongoing assessment of new teaching and learning practices instituted during the 2020-21 school year: 

  • What did we learn with and from our students and colleagues while teaching at a distance? How does this inform and improve teaching and learning as we move forward? 
  • How do we develop curricula and instructional practices that are more nimble, flexible, and responsive to the expressed needs of students / communities and to the changing landscape of teaching and learning in a pandemic? 
  • How do we use Culturally Sustaining Pedagogies as a framework to guide us to better serve students and families in traditionally underserved communities? 
  • How do we use Youth-Adult Partnerships as a framework to support and advocate for personalized learning that reaches and elevates our students and their/our communities? 

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 in these pedagogies and practices. 

What We Can Become will take place entirely online. Beginning in July 2020 and meeting monthly throughout the 2020-21 school year, participants will engage in action research projects and share their progress on the Greater Madison Writing Project Medium Blog. Final projects will be shared in a public exhibition of teacher research at the end of the 2020-21 school year. 

When: July 27–30, 2020, with additional monthly meetings throughout the academic year on dates to be determined

Where: Online

Program Fee:
Standard Rate: $1,500
Group Rate: $1,200 per person*
Reduced Rate: $750**

*Group rate available for 4+ from the same organization.

**Reduced rates are available for educators with financial need who are any of the following:

  1. UW–Madison School of Education alumni
  2. Working in a Wisconsin Title 1 School with a Schoolwide Program
  3. Black, Indigenous, or People of Color

Reduced rates are made possible by the generosity of the Mary T. and Ted D. Kellner Badger for Life Fund. 

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