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POSTSCWriP

POSTSCWriP

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Published by: lornagonzalez1 on Jun 21, 2010
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06/21/2010

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Volume 29 No. 2 Spring 2010
A Publication of the South Coast Writing Project
Gevirtz Graduate School of Education, University of California at Santa Barbara
POSTSCWRIP
Spring Renewal, May 21:It’s About the Writing Project,
and
You Are at the Center
 Join us on Friday, May 21, from 9 to 3, for a very special Renewal, to be held, (one lasttime!) at the Cliff House. Our facilitator will be SCWriP’s incoming director, Tim Dewar. (Lookinside for Tim’s candid reflections as he steps into this role, and welcoming thoughts fromSheridan.) The Renewal will be an opportunity to get to know Tim, revisit the fundamentalprinciples of the writing project, ponder where we are headed, and consider what the projecthas meant to each of us. Be ready to write, to share, to realize anew what a beautifulcommunity this is, and to go home feeling…well,
renewed 
. You know what? This could beexactly what you need. Coffee and treats will be served, but please bring along a potluckcontribution. Carpooling is recommended. RSVP (805) 893-4422.
I knew that the knowledgesuccessful teachers had gainedthrough their experience andpractice in the classroom wasnot tapped, sought after,shared, or for the most part,even known about. I knew alsothat if there was ever going tobe reform in Americaneducation, it was going to takeplace in the nation’sclassrooms. And becauseteachers —and no one else—were in those classrooms, Iknew that for reform tosucceed, teachers had to be atthe center.”
 
 James Gray
The passing of the torch: SCWriP’s long-time director Sheridan Blau is pictured abovewith our soon-to-be director, Tim Dewar.
 
From The Editor
 
Cynthia Carbone Ward 
 
Tim Dewar’s article in this edition of PostSCWriP got me thinking about what the South Coast Writing Project has meant to
me
,both personally and professionally. I had twice deferred but finally decided to attend the Summer Institute in 2001, carpoolingwith a teacher named Vickie Gill. Although Vickie and I both worked at the Dunn School in Los Olivos, we had only anodding acquaintance; she was at the upper campus and I at the middle school and we seldom interacted. But put two hyper-verbal women-of-a-certain-age in a car together for an hour or so a day, and it doesn’t take long before they know each verywell. Vickie quickly became -- and still is -- one of my dearest friends. And that was just the first of the gifts SCWriP gave me.I remember well the sense of having found “my people” in that Summer Instituteclassroom – teachers to whom excellence mattered, and who really understood theimportance of writing and the teaching of it. I
loved 
our group; the room buzzedwith creativity and enthusiasm and I felt myself to be a part of a professionalnetwork in a way I had never known. There was also the phenomenon of Sheridan,of course, in all his exuberance and brilliance, bringing out the best in each of us,and Jack, so graciously sharing the wisdom of his long career, and the insightful andtalented Rosemary, who sometimes gave me poems. (Oh, how I love a friend whobrings you poems!) It was a summer of camaraderie, new ideas and reflections, andlaughter in abundance…gifts of SCWriP.I returned to school that year feeling energized, more confident, and brimming with activities I couldn’t wait to share with mystudents. It all seems so innocent now and long ago -- a terrible September morning was days away, and the world was aboutto change in a cataclysmic way. But even when it did, I knew without a doubt that writing and teaching have a lot to do withhope and getting through. I now possessed what Erin Powers (one of my 2001 summer cohorts) refers to as “the compass”; Iknew who I was as a teacher.Our Writing Project continues. Through changes in leadership, office space, funding, and educational climate, the fundamentaltruth of it persists, and maybe this is a good time to revisit and consider it a bit if you’ve forgotten. I hope to see you all at theMay 21 Renewal, and in the meantime, please enjoy this edition of PostSCWriP, plush as it is with poetry, prose, and promise.Here’s to SCWriP, and long may it live, welcoming new generations of teachers whose students will benefit, manifold.
It was a summer of camaraderie, newideas and reflections,and abundantlaughter -- gifts of SCWriP.In this Edition
:
P A G E
 
An Open Letter from
Sheridan Blau
3Notes from
Tim Dewar 
5Washington Update by
Susan Fitzgerald 
7Technology by
Teri Cota and Linda Sparkuhl 
9Young Writers Camp by
 Aline Shapiro
10The Bulletin Board: Notes and News 11Kids’ Thoughts on Racism 13Adjusting My Balance by
Cynthia Carbone Ward 
14Ruminations of Retirement by
Sally Sibley King 
15O Lucky Man by
Kelly Peinado
16On Teaching Now by
Beth Kanne-Casselman
17Random Acts of Haiku by
Bob Isaacson
17Poems from the Cliff House and Elsewhere 18
 
A Legacy for Tim and An Open Letter to All of You
 
from
Sheridan Blau
 
I
 
am profoundly sorry I can’t be there for the spring renewalmeeting, where Rosemary had planned to have some ceremonialenactment of my passing the torch of the directorship of SCWriPto my successor, Tim Dewar, who will be assuming the role of SCWriP Director at the start of the 2010 Summer Institute. So I’lltry here in this little note to all of you to satisfy our sense thatsome ceremonial gesture is in order, and that it can beaccomplished in a written message, though I don’t imagine thatanything I write now will capture the depth of feeling I wouldexperience and have already experienced in giving up my ownidentity as Director of SCWriP and turning over that title to Tim,though he is the most qualified and most thoroughly preparedsuccessor I could ever imagine or wish for.But turning over that title and responsibility to anyone feels to me something like turning over my title andresponsibility as father to a family. It’s something like a death, and maybe can’t quite be done in one’s ownlifetime without feeling – at least sometimes -- like a death. But families grow up and one generation succeeds thenext, and the family that Jack, and Carol and I began together in 1979 has grown up and retired and some of itsmembers have passed away. In the meantime, a new generation has matured to take our place, just as a newgeneration has arrived on the scene as SCWriP Fellows, not so much replacing the previous generation, but instages taking on their roles and responsibilities. In that sense, all of us from the early days of our Project are doingor have already done what I am now called upon to do. And we have been conscious for many years of our needto do it well, to bring along the next generation of teacher-leaders for our Project, and to pass on to them the spiritand values that have sustained us and that we too inherited from our mentors and most of all from the founder of the Bay Area Writing Project, James Gray.In fact, Tim’s succession to the role of SCWriP Director has been in ourProject’s plans and dreams for at least a decade. He was my own choice as myideal successor about a decade ago, when I first contemplated my eventualretirement, but I couldn’t imagine an academic scenario in which we couldarrange an appointment for him at UCSB that would enable him to serve asDirector of SCWriP. In the meantime, Tim completed his PhD and took aprofessorial job at the State University of New York in New Paltz, where to ouradvantage he became a co-director of the Hudson Valley Writing Project andmade himself even better qualified to serve eventually as the Director of SCWriP. Then fate (plus vigorous lobbying on the part of several of us)conspired to make it possible for him to return to UCSB in a faculty positionwhere a significant portion of his appointment can be held in the WritingProject as its director. So, though I am sad to relinquish my former role asDirector, I am thrilled to be replaced by the best heir I could ever imagine, andI recognize that my “death” as director is the avenue to another life for me andrenewed vitality for our Writing Project.And this brings me to the legacy of advice I want to leave with Tim, since there isn’t anything else that I can handover symbolically and literally that might be as useful or as reducible to a few well-constructed sentences. So whatadvice do I want to leave with Tim to comfort him and guide him in the political storms and turbulent financialseas that always trouble and threaten any writing project or any independently funded project situated in auniversity?
So, though I amsad to relinquishmy former role asDirector, I amthrilled to bereplaced by thebest heir I couldever imagine…
 

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