Teachers Teaching Teachers.

The Philadelphia Writing Project (PhilWP) is a practitioner network, connecting K-university educators—including teachers, principals, professors, parents, and out-of-school-time leaders—to explore literacy, writing, teaching, and learning across grade levels and disciplines.

PhilWP is a site of the National Writing Project (NWP) at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education (PennGSE). PhilWP is also a Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources consortium member.

Invitational Summer Institute

Since 1986, PhilWP's Invitational Summer Institute (ISI) on Writing and Literacy has supported teachers in developing an inquiry stance on teaching practice.

Building on successes of our 2018, 2019, and 2020 ISIs, we integrated sources and strategies from the Library of Congress's Teaching with Primary Sources (TPS) program to support writing, inquiry, reflection, and justice-oriented action within and across disciplines. This year's ISI is financially supported by a grant from the Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources program, Penn GSE, and generous PhilWP supporters.

Additionally, ISI participants in this year's institute will convene with educators in PhilWP's Advanced Institute hosted by the African American Museum in Philadelphia and funded in part by a grant from the National Writing Project and National Endowment for the Humanities.


As part of their participation in the ISI, teachers will:

  1. develop an inquiry stance on practice;

  2. deepen their knowledge of teaching with texts, including historical primary sources, and their ability to support students’ critical thinking and the co-construction of knowledge toward equitable and socially just ends;

  3. broaden their repertoire of resources and tools to spur writing, reflection, and inquiry, including approaches from the National Writing Project's College, Career, and Community Writers Program (C3WP) and digitized primary sources from loc.gov, loc.gov/teachers, and chroniclingamerica.loc.gov;

  4. create and reflect on lessons for the classroom that develop students’ critical literacies, which includes planning with the support of Dr. Gholdy Muhammad's Culturally and Historically Responsive Literacy Framework; and

  5. collaborate as members of a literacy leadership community.

Facilitation Team and Guest Educators

  • Javaha Ross, Grades 2-5 Literacy and Social Studies Teacher; PhilWP TC

  • Trey Smith, K-8 Digital Literacy Teacher; Library of Congress Teacher in Residence 2015-16; PhilWP TC

  • Dina Portnoy, EdD, HS English Language Arts Teacher (retired); PhilWP Scholar 1992-93

  • Barrett Rosser, Penn GSE Graduate Student; PhilWP Scholar 2020-23

  • Jen Freed, HS English Language Arts Teacher; PhilWP TC

  • Dr. Allener M. Baker-Rogers, author of They Carried Us

  • Fasaha M. Traylor, author of They Carried Us

  • Denise Burgher, University of Delaware PhD student in English and project coordinator with the Colored Conventions Project

  • Valerie Clark, Lewis and Clark College ombudsman and great great granddaughter of Reverend William and Jane Jackson

  • Curators and Interpretive Specialists at the African American Museum of Philadelphia

  • Park Rangers and Interpretive Specialists from Independence National Historical Park