Professional Learning

On-Site Consulting: New York City Writing Project


This NWP monograph provides an in-depth look at the longstanding New York City WP program of school-based professional development partnerships with the New York City public schools. Former NYCWP Director Marcie Wolfe provides background information on the development and evolution of the program which places TCs on-site at partner schools for multi-year cycles. Two TCs with extensive experience in the on-site consultant role, Nancy Mintz and Alan Stein, then share their experiences. Mintz explores a fundamental consulting/coaching dilemma: how do you hold onto your core beliefs and values, while not trying to enact those beliefs and visions in someone else's classroom. Stein's story describes a crucial shift in school culture and the importance of the collaboration between himself, the principal, and several key teachers at the school. This thoughtful, extensive exploration of work in and with schools serves as a valuable resource for any leadership team considering extended professional development partnerships.

Our twenty years of inservice experience have taught us that one key to improving teacher practice and student performance in reading and writing across the curriculum is developing stable, long-term professional development relationships with schools. These relationships, built over time and within the context of each school, develop out of three mutually reinforcing components of our program:

  • on-site, after-school seminars in the teaching of reading and writing for teachers from all disciplines and grade levels
  • the presence of an on-site teacher-consultant two days each week, whose job is to plan lessons and projects with teachers, team-teach, recommend and provide resources, encourage the publication of student writing through anthologies and displays, and organize peer dissemination of good practices throughout the school
  • direct work with the schools’ administrators, focused on their educational goals.
  • Creating a Team of Teacher Leaders in Remote Schools and Local Communities: The Yellowstone Writing Project’s New Pathway to Leadership