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Verizon Wireless presents grant check to Arkansas Delta Writing Project


JONESBORO — Representatives from Verizon Wireless presented a grant check for $20,000 to faculty members of Arkansas State University’s College of Education Monday at 11 a.m. in the lower lobby at the Cooper Alumni Center, 2600 Alumni Boulevard.

The check was presented to Cristian Murdock, ASU vice chancellor for University Advancement, and Dr. Dixie Keyes, associate professor of Middle Level Education and director of the Arkansas Delta Writing Project in ASU’s College of Education. The money is going toward the Arkansas Delta Writing Project, a literacy program headed by Dr. Keyes.

“We appreciate Verizon’s investment in Arkansas teachers,” said Murdock. “This grant will support the university’s effort toward improving literacy, and will give these teachers tools that can easily be applied in the classroom across many disciplines.”

Representing Verizon Wireless were foundation director Barbara Walker, wireless communications manager Ginger Daril, and Tom Zimmerman, wireless B2B director.

“Verizon is pleased to support Arkansas State University and its efforts to provide enhanced learning for teachers throughout Arkansas,” said Dean Taylor, president of the South Central Region of Verizon Wireless.  “Intensive summer training for teachers will have positive effects on student learning in all disciplines.   Verizon believes that preparing today’s students for the competitive business world of the future is imperative.”

Arkansas State University was approved for the funding for the Arkansas Delta Writing Project in January 2009. The goals of the Arkansas Delta Writing Project site focus on improving student writing by developing teachers as writers and as consultants on writing. This focus leads to the celebration and enhancement of the professional role of successful classroom teachers. It also provides schools with an empowering, research-based professional development model embedded in their communities.

The Summer Writing Institute for Teachers gathers teachers together for three weeks to engage in writing experiences, demonstration lessons, and analyses of research about writing and the practices of those who teach writing.

"Because of Verizon and the way they respect teachers, the Arkansas Delta Writing Project is able to offer fellowships for a group of teachers from Northeast Arkansas to participate in a 3-week writing institute and receive graduate credit in writing instruction,” stated Dr. Keyes. “The Foundation grant they provided also funded the state's anthology with student and teacher writings from across the state. The Arkansas Anthology is created and produced here at ASU, by Dr. Rob Lamm (professor of English) and me.

“I will always be grateful to Verizon for helping us to sustain an intellectual home for teachers through our writing project site and to feature Verizon's Thinkfinity site for educators as an important tool for teacher professional development."

The Arkansas Delta Writing Project is part of the National Writing Project (NWP), a coordinated effort to improve writing in America. The NWP is a teacher-driven professional development program that strengthens teachers' skills and understanding of teaching writing. It serves teachers of writing at all grade levels, primary through university, and in all subjects.

The mission of the National Writing Project is to build a network of educators in all disciplines in order to improve the teaching of writing and the education of all students in our nation's schools. The NWP includes elementary, secondary and college teachers of all disciplines. Founded in 1974, the National Writing Project is comprised of over 200 college-based sites in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Dr. Keyes noted that the program will take electronic creative writing and art  submissions from now through March 15 of 2013. Contact Dr. Keyes at dkeyes@astate.edu for more information.

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