Welcome to the NCWP

The Northern California Writing Project is a professional development organization devoted to improving the teaching of writing in our service region.

Author: Kim Jaxon

Meet the NCWP Summer 2019 Fellows!

Meet the NCWP Summer 2019 Fellows!

This summer we are hosting our Summer Invitational Institute with a bit of a twist: we invited some incredible new teachers–teachers who are in their first five years of teaching–to join us for our Beginning Teacher Design Institute. These fellows will work together in June to share teaching practices and reflect on the teaching of writing in their classrooms, which span kindergarten to college. We believe these educators will offer new insights to our summer institute and new ideas to support local teachers. The fellows will imagine and design professional development for other new teachers in our service area.

Meet the 2019 Fellows!

Haley Hansen
Haley Hansen
Los Molinos Elementary
Sarah Darling
Sarah Darling
Shasta High School
Anthony Miranda
Anthony Miranda
Sierra Vista K-8
Jessica Bruce-McNeely
Jessica Bruce-McNeely
Alta Mesa Elementary School
John LaPine
John LaPine
Butte Community College
Samantha Brooks
Samantha Brooks
Colusa High School
Taylor Erickson
Taylor Erickson
Enterprise High School
Sam Roy
Sam Roy
John McManus Elementary
Katie Gorman
Katie Gorman
Buckeye School of the Arts
Abby Ott
Abby Ott
Willows High School
Kendall Enns
Kendall Enns
Willows High School
Joe Willis
Joe Willis
Feather River College
Sarah Morrison
Sarah Morrison
Boulder Creek Elementary
Samantha Brooks

Samantha Brooks teaches 9th grade ELA in the rural town of Colusa, California. Before entering her fourth year in teaching, she looks forward to beginning a graduate program through Arkansas State University online in Adolescent Literacy. She is also thrilled to be collaborating with fellow new teachers in the Northern California Writing Project. Samantha earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Human Development from the University of California, Davis, which is close to the tiny town of Esparto, where she grew up. She enjoys the small-school atmosphere, but also appreciates the “professional distance” between her workplace and the town she lives in now: right here in Chico. Aside from teaching, planning, yearbook-editing, and student-supporting, Samantha has a newfound (or, found-again) love of reading for pleasure. She has incorporated a significant amount of choice-reading into her curriculum, and is often found at local thrift stores, scouring the book section for contemporary young adult novels. She is always accepting donations to her classroom library 😉 One of her goals is to get students to write more about what they read, and more easily see the connection between reading, writing, and agency in this world.

Jessica Bruce-McNeely

Jessica Bruce-McNeely is a 4th and 5th grade combo teacher at Alta Mesa Elementary School in Redding California. She is interested in technology, World History, and outdoor education. In her spare time Jessica spends the majority of her time outside exploring with her husband.

Sarah Darling

Sarah Darling is in her first year of teaching English in an American high school and is currently at Shasta High School. She teaches CP English II, Basic English II, Yearbook, and Literacy Lab. Before teaching at Shasta, she was living and teaching English in South Korea for two and a half years. She went to teach English in South Korea because she wasn’t sure she wanted to be a teacher when she originally started the credential back in 2011. She decided to teach English in South Korea to find out if she liked it or not. She LOVED teaching. She had to come back and finish her credential. Literally, had to come back to finish it: the deadline to complete it was approaching. American high school is vastly different, but she is glad to be here. Each of her students brings something different to the classroom. Each of them is a new world that she wants to help open up for the world to see and for them to experience the world. Sarah has no awards or accolades. On her wall in the classroom, she has various student drawings and random things the students have found and given to her, proving that even a teenager really is a child at heart.

Hannah Duran

Hannah Duran grew up in small town Cottonwood before moving to Chico in order to attend Chico State University. She received her BA in English Studies with a minor in Linguistics and she currently teaches freshman composition while attending graduate school. Upon completion of her MA this spring 2019, Hannah plans on pursuing her Ph.D. in order to one day teach at a 4-year university. Some of her current research interests include rhetoric, composition, literacy, and linguistics. When she is not willfully indulging in her studies, she enjoys coffee and reading, watching movies with her husband, being outside, and spending time with her family and friends. She works closely with first generation students in EOP through the Summer Bridge program and in FYC.

Kendall Enns

Kendall Enns is a high school English teacher and Herff Jones yearbook adviser at Willows High School. She completed her Master’s in Education with an option in Curriculum and Instruction through the Residency in Secondary Education (RiSE) Program at Chico State in 2017. Prior to that, she was an English tutor to Burmese refugees in Chiang Mai while studying abroad in Thailand as a Gilman International Scholarship recipient. The travel bug has since then inspired her adventures throughout Southeast Asia and Australia. Next January, she and her fiancé will be married on the island of Koh Tao joined by close friends. Normally she spends her summers teaching for Upward Bound, helping students write personal statements for college admission, but she wanted some time off for professional development. In her spare time, she enjoys plotting her next adventure, training for her first half-marathon, and studying Vedic meditation with some yoga in between.

Taylor Erickson

Born a southern Californian, Taylor Erickson moved to Redding in July 2018 and is thrilled to be on the north side of her native state where there is less traffic. She currently teaches 9th and 10th grade English at Enterprise High School in Redding. Last year, she spent her first-year teaching high school in Santa Ynez, California working mostly with mild to moderate special needs students. Though she never saw herself as a teacher after graduating from UCLA, she is glad to have directed her focus on public service. The best part of teaching is when a group of 30 teenagers actually listen and follow directions. The second best part is when they debate each other using academic language. The third best part is when that troublesome student admits that they actually missed you when you were absent. In her free time, she enjoys high-intensity exercising, organic plant-based food and brainstorming book ideas (which are gestating in her mind, waiting to be birthed into actual books).

Katie Gorman

Katie Gorman graduated in 2009 with a Masters Degree in Education from Simpson University with a Preliminary Administration Service Credential. She is a Kindergarten teacher at Buckeye School of the Arts. It is her first year at Buckeye. She loves teaching kindergarten because she can help kids see their potential and develop a love of learning. She is married and has three wonderful children. Her hobbies are mostly whatever sports her children play. Katie and her husband volunteer to run a Flag Football League every spring, with over 200 participants this year. Last Christmas, she organized a toy drive for Children’s First Foster Families and raised over 400 toys for foster youth.

Haley Hansen

Haley Hansen is an English teacher at Los Molinos Elementary. She teaches 6th, 7th, and 8th grade. Los Molinos is a small farming community 25 minutes north of Chico. With the entire school K-8 only having about 300 students enrolled, Haley teaches all of the middle school students at the school. In addition to being a classroom teacher, Haley is one of two English Language Development site coordinators in her district and focuses her work on Los Molinos Elementary. As the site coordinator, Haley ensures all ELPAC testing is completed, trains teachers in ELD methods and strategies, and collects and analyzes data regarding the English Language Learners (ELLs) at her site. Haley was awarded the English Department’s student of the year at California State University, Chico in 2016 where she majored in English Education and minored in Linguistics. After receiving her bachelor’s degree, Haley continued her education and was accepted into the RiSE program. Here, she obtained her California single subject teaching credential in English and her Master’s in Education. Her professional interests include culturally relevant teaching, language preservation, and self-reflection as a teaching and learning strategy. Her personal interests include spending time with her dogs, lifting weights, hunting, fishing, and all things crafty.

Keaton Kirkpatrick

Keaton Kirkpatrick teaches first year composition at CSU, Chico. He recently earned his MA in English in the Language and Literacy Pattern with plans to pursue his Ph.D. in Literacy Studies. He researches mentorship, classroom management, and digital communities relating to composition and literacy. He also works closely with students in the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) at Chico State as both a mentor and an instructor.

John LaPine

John LaPine earned his MA in creative writing & pedagogy from Northern Michigan University (NMU), where he worked as a part-time teaching assistant for two years, while volunteering as an associate editor of creative nonfiction & poetry for the literary journal Passages North. He is also a poet, and his work has appeared or is forthcoming in: The Rising Phoenix ReviewHot Metal BridgeThe /Temz/ ReviewGlass: A Journal of PoetryUnder the Gum Tree, Rhythm & BonesMidwestern Gothic, & elsewhere. John is currently in his first full-time year teaching English at Butte College, focusing on literature, poetry, creative writing, first-year composition, and critical thinking. He is on the committee that organizes WordSpring, an annual creative writing conference at Butte, and recently worked as editor for After/Ashes: A Camp Fire Anthology, a compilation of creative work about the Camp Fire, as a way to raise funds for fire-affected WordSpring attendees. John is also (slowly!) working on producing a podcast called Queer Americans, which seeks to document and project the voices of queer-identified Midwesterners. You can find more information on his website or follow him on Twitter @JohnLaPine

Anthony Miranda is a 7th grade English teacher at Sierra Vista K-8 in Vacaville. His interests are in exploring ways of using language and literacy that enable students to recognize and navigate schooling as a complex institution, in designing connections between content and civic participation, and in ongoing, critical reflection of how teachers negotiate the tension between schooling, as an instrument of oppression, and education, as an emancipatory practice. Prior to teaching only English, he taught 7th and 8th grade English and History. He participated in the UC, Berkeley History-Social Science Project’s Teacher Research Group that focused on making explicit to students the historical thinking skills necessary for evaluating and more fully understanding historical narratives. He is also interested in exploring and evaluating language and literacy initiatives that support students from non-dominant backgrounds. As a Curriculum Support Provider for ELA/ELD, and through participation in site-based teams and committees, he has explored how organizational theories of change and models of implementation can leverage teacher expertise and include their voice in the process of change. Outside of the classroom, he can be found with his wife at museums and art galleries, hiking and biking, or making the rounds to the local breweries.

Sarah Morrison

Sarah Morrison is a first grade teacher at Boulder Creek Elementary School in Redding — a school filled with mentor teachers who are willing to answer 20 (million) questions in order to help her survive and thrive in a classroom filled with 6 year olds.  When she’s not tying shoes and thinking about unicorns and the floss and all other relevant first grade things, she’s out being an aunt looking for baby dinosaurs with her nephew, exploring the coast of California, visiting family, biking with her German Shepherd, scheming her next international adventure, and decorating and redecorating her house.

Abby Ott

Abby Ott teaches English Language Arts at Willows High School, where she is about to begin her third year. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English Education from California State University, Chico, and she earned her single subject teaching credential and a masters degree in Education through CSU Chico’s RiSE program in 2017. Her favorite thing about teaching is getting to spend all day with teenagers, who she thinks are some of the best people in the world. Abby is a lifelong northern California native, and a proud connoisseur of local hiking trails and campsites. When she’s not teaching, lesson planning, grading, or directing the school play, she spends every possible minute adventuring outdoors with her husband, Ben, and her dog, Remi. She is an avid hiker, backpacker, and traveler, and hopes to check summiting Mount Shasta and visiting Asia off her bucket list this year.

Sam Roy

Sam Roy is the Reset/Onsite Suspension Teacher for Chico Unified School District at John McManus Elementary School. His classroom roster regularly consists of kindergarteners through fifth grade where he uses mindfulness and restorative justice techniques in the classroom with each student. Prior to the Reset role, Sam worked in the tech industry for five years as a training manager, using educational techniques he learned at the University of San Francisco with adults in tech. Sam attended seminars and conferences led by Brene Brown and Simon Sinek and applied their methods of leadership and vulnerability in the tech sector workplace. He also wrote grants for training tech with the Employment Training Panel with the State of California during his tenure as a manager. Before his life in the tech sector, Sam received his Master of Arts in Teaching and his California Teaching Credential from the University of San Francisco, with his thesis centered on project based learning focused on social studies material surrounding feudal Japan. Sam taught fifth through ninth grade in the Bay Area, ranging in topics from homeroom to civics to world cultures to American history. While in the Bay Area, he was the site leader for the Washington D.C. 8th grade trip and he also coached Jr. High boys and girls soccer and baseball. Sam resides in Chico with his wife, his daughter and son, and their dog. He enjoys lots of things, like comic books, roleplaying games, Magic The Gathering, and drawing.

Joe Willis

Joe Willis: Ever since early childhood, I have been exploring forbidden zones in garages and back yards to figure out how things work. Targets of my inquiries ranged from mechanical things like power tools, toasters and radios to insects and flowers, especially insect-flower codependency. This led eventually to discovering literature that brought a science perspective to imaginary themes in poetry, fiction, and the essay. Writers such as Steinbeck, Thoreau, Twain, and Shakespeare were studied superficially in high school. Strange as it may seem, I was first led to deeper appreciation of such writers through conversations in bars with my biology professors. I suppose the seeds were being sown all along for a career that would shift slowly but steadily from teaching science and math in conventional ways, to curriculum writing with interdisciplinary approaches that sometimes got me into trouble, to my current love which is living in the Sierra (which is a singular noun, by the way) and teaching writing and literature classes at Feather River College.

 

 

Hello from the New NCWP Director!

Hello from the New NCWP Director!

Kim Jaxon, the new NCWP Director, with students from her first year writing course at Chico State

Hello fellow educators and welcome (or welcome back) to the NCWP site!

We’ve recently updated our website in order to highlight a couple new projects we are excited about: A Beginning Teacher Design Institute and, starting in February, local teacher featured blogs. The blogs will give you insights into area teachers’ classrooms and ideas they have for teaching writing across grade level and contexts.

Beginning Teacher Design InstituteNew teachers are perfectly positioned to know the particular challenges that can be part of the first few years. This summer (June 2019) we are launching an institute specific to the needs of early career teachers. Fifteen teachers–kindergarten to college in their first five years of teaching–will be invited to design writing support for other new, area teachers. We will alternate this institute every other summer with our traditional invitational institute. Please share the application with the fabulous early career teachers you know: LINK to application HERE.

NCWP Teachers WriteOn: In February, we begin our bi-weekly blog series featuring local teachers. These blogs highlight insights into best practices and ideas for teaching writing across the disciplines. We will offer the option to sign up for our monthly newsletter so you do not miss these blogs. If you are a local teacher who has participated in a Summer Institute in the past, and are interested in writing about your teaching, please apply to our Saturday session led by local writer Sarah Pape. The workshop will be held Feb 23, 9:00-3:00, on the Chico State campus. More information and application here: LINK  Applications due Feb 15.

In addition to our new projects, we have a lot of activity in the NCWP at the moment. Carla Truttman, an amazing high school teacher from Yreka, leads our College, Career, and Community Writers Program (C3WP). Currently, Carla and other local teachers–Shawni McBride from Corning High School, Robbin Jack from Shasta Unified, and Tracy Dickinson from Etna– are working with teachers at Maxwell and Princeton High Schools to think about research, argument, and claim driven writing practices. The team will meet with other teachers from around the United States in Atlanta in February to share insights into the C3WP program.

Amanda Von Kleist and Lindsey Nemec are currently leading a year long professional development series with Fair View, AFC, Cal, and Oakdale educators to support writing across a variety of disciplines. Robbin Jack is currently designing a summer civics writing camp for youth in Siskiyou County that will be held in July on the College of the Siskiyous campus. And, we recently completed curriculum design work with the National Parks that will be made available to local teachers.

I am thrilled to be taking on the challenge of directing the NCWP. My own adult children are 7th generation in this area: my ties to this community run deep. Recently, I’ve focused attention on supporting local teachers who were impacted by the fire. With two local elementary educators, Monica Brown and Amy Niess, we’ve started Color a Classroom with Love.

(Jason Halley/University Photographer/CSU Chico)

We are connecting teachers with support networks through a Facebook group and a website: LINK HERE. My future teachers at Chico State are working with me: we are in awe of the incredible work these teachers are doing to support their students. If you have not watched the documentary about Paradise Intermediate Schools efforts to relocate to the former OSH building, you can find the video on our Color a Classroom site. There is also a For Donors page if you are interested in supporting local teachers who were impacted by the Campfire.

We are grateful to all our teachers and the incredible work you do every day to support students. WriteOn.

Kim

Kim Jaxon, Director NCWP

Follow on Twitter: @drjaxon

Kim’s website