With seed funding from both the North Carolina English Teacher’s Association and the National Writing Project Teacher Inquiry Communities Network, the Tar River Writing Project LEEAP Team partnered with one Beaufort County School, Northeast Elementary (NES), to offer LEEAP training to its teachers. After a year of intensive programming that supported teachers in conducting inquiry to increase equity, the LEEAP Team and NES teachers discussed their projects with faculty at the school and in the region through the Northeast Region Best Practices Conference in March 2010.
Continuing the school partnership, the 10-11 LEEAP programming at Northeast Elementary introduces the process of inquiry to a new group of teachers by having faculty members observe anchor lessons that model best practice in teaching literacy skills to diverse learners in multiple subject areas across the upper elementary and middle grade levels and engage in mini-inquiry cycles to test similar strategies in their classrooms, using former participants as Inquiry Thinking Partners, with the goal of creating a school-specific body of knowledge to teaching core literacy skills to all learners.
Faculty at the school responded to a survey indicating that they would like to study strategies related to Problem-Based Learning, Reading in the Content Area, Writer’s Workshop and Promoting Higher Order Thinking Skills. The LEEAP Team then worked with Tar River Writing Project Teacher-Consultants to refine the anchor lessons and then with school faculty to think about how these strategies could be implemented and tested in their own classrooms.