Since 1986, the Philadelphia Writing Project’s Invitational Summer Institute (ISI) on Writing and Literacy has supported teachers in developing an inquiry stance on teaching practice. In 2018, we reimagined the ISI by integrating sources and strategies from the Library of Congress that spark and support student writing, inquiry, and reflection across disciplines.

The Philadelphia Writing Project is a site of the National Writing Project (NWP) at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education (PennGSE).


Goals for Building an Inquiry Community & Leadership for Teaching with Primary Sources

  1. Deepen knowledge of teaching with and understanding of primary sources and the ability to support students’ critical thinking and the co-construction of knowledge;
  2. Use Library of Congress tools to analyze primary sources in multiple formats from multiple perspectives;
  3. Access teaching tools, primary sources, and primary source sets from the Library of Congress, loc.gov/teachers, Chronicling America, and the World Digital Library;
  4. Broaden repertoire of resources and tools to spur writing, reflection, and inquiry;
  5. Create units of study/lessons for the classroom that incorporate primary sources and promising practices from the ISI; and
  6. Design and get feedback on an implementation plan to disseminate the use of primary sources in their schools.


2018 Summer Institute Schedule

Monday through Friday, July 9 through July 20, 2018, from 9:00am to 3:30pm

Additionally, we had two follow-up meetings in the fall:


Facilitation Team and Guest Educators

Diane Waff, PennGSE Practice Professor; PhilWP Director

Latricia Whitfield, PennGSE Doctoral Student; PhilWP Scholar; Mastery Charter Schools Curriculum Director

Trey Smith, Northwestern SESP Doctoral Student; 2015-16 Library of Congress Teacher in Residence; PhilWP TC

Mike Mannix, PennGSE Doctoral Student; PhilWP Scholar

Renee Albertoli, Independence National Historical Park Interpretive Specialist

Shirley Brown, College, Career, and Community Writers Program Facilitator; Writing Marathon Facilitator; PhilWP TC

Erica Darken, Key Elementary School Teacher; Poetry Inside Out Facilitator; PhilWP TC

Emily Feldman, Pulitzer Center Grantee and Teacher

Janet Holloway, College, Career, and Community Writers Program Facilitator; PhilWP TC

Becky Horner, ESOL Teacher; Poetry Inside Out Facilitator; PhilWP TC

Bob Jobin, National Writing Project Program Associate

Lois McGee, Poetry Inside Out Facilitator; PhilWP TC

Fareed Mostoufi, Pultizer Center Senior Education Manager

Emily Plummer, Philly School Media Network Facilitator; PennGSE Doctoral Student

John Puckett, PennGSE Professor; West Philadelphia Collaborative History Center Director

Lynne Streib, Descriptive Review Facilitator; PhilWP TC

Ebony Thomas, PennGSE Professor; PhilWP Advisory Board

Lorraine Ustaris, Pultizer Center Multimedia Producer; PhilWP TC

Lisa Yau, Kirkbride Elementary School Teacher; Poetry Inside Out Facilitator; PhilWP TC

Tracy Crowley, Wheeling (IL) Technology and Curriculum Integration Coach; Pulitzer Center Teacher


Core Values

The Philadelphia Writing Project is committed to:

  1. Centering writing and literacy in all learning
  2. Teaching writing as a path to educational equity and social justice
  3. Ensuring diversity in all communities of practice
  4. Respecting the culture and linguistic resources of all students and all teachers
  5. Enhancing student learning through inquiry into teaching practices
  6. Serving as leaders in education and as teachers of other teachers
  7. Collaborating and supporting collegiality among educators
  8. Learning across a professional career span


Professional Development Principles

The Philadelphia Writing Project is committed to:

  • Teachers are the best teachers of teachers
  • Writing and literacy are central to learning across content areas
  • Professional development is an on-going process across the life span
  • All teachers should have access to quality professional development
  • Successful teachers of writing are writers themselves
  • Universities and schools can build powerful, lasting relationships
  • Classroom teachers and other educators are critical to meaningful change
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Listen to teacher consultants and a facilitator reflect on their experiences during and after the ISI in this April 2019 NWP Radio podcast.


@PhilWP 86 on Twitter

Funded with Support From


In-Kind Support From

  • Independence National Historical Park
  • National Writing Project
  • Poetry Inside Out
  • Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting
  • University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology
  • West Philadelphia Collaborative History Project