Greater New Orleans Writing Project Receives $20k Grant

The Greater New Orleans Writing Project (GNOWP) at the University of New Orleans has received a $20,000 federal grant to promote teacher professional development as part of the Supporting Effective Educator Development (SEED) initiative. GNOWP at UNO received one of only 75 High-Need School grants awarded nationally.

The grant will allow GNOWP to provide one year's worth of professional development services to a critical mass of teachers at Carolyn Park Middle School in Slidell. More than 75% of Carolyn Park Middle School students receive free or reduced lunch. The school, which serves 4th – 6th grades, is dealing with many significant changes. Last year, Carolyn Park shared its campus with an elementary school, and eight teachers left Carolyn Park with the elementary school’s recent move to its permanent campus.

GNOWP at UNO will help Carolyn Park faculty implement best practices in writing instruction through a series of professional development workshops and an all-day writing conference, Write Fest, at UNO’s Lindy Boggs Conference Center. Both the workshops and Write Fest will also focus on the newly adopted Common Core State Standards. Beginning in 2014, all students in the state of Louisiana will be assessed according to newly developed exams tied to these new standards, which are geared toward college- and career-readiness.

“We at UNO are keenly aware of the importance of bridging the gap between K-12 and colleges through partnerships with schools like Carolyn Park,” says Sarah DeBacher, the director of the Greater New Orleans Writing Project. “When funding for public education decreases as dramatically as it has in our state, those most negatively impacted are the ones who need the most support. The purpose of this grant is to provide some of that support.”

Now in its 35th year as a site of the National Writing Project, GNOWP at UNO has supported hundreds of teachers and students in the greater New Orleans area through professional development and outreach efforts.

Teachers or administrators interested in learning more about the work of the Greater New Orleans Writing Project at UNO can visit the program's website at or the program’s Facebook page at