Invitational Summer Institute

Invitational Summer Institute

Become a teacher consultant and join our cadre of teacher leaders

If you are a teacher who looks forward to summer as an opportunity for personal growth and professional development, with ample time for reflection and without the pressures of the school year, welcome to this Invitational Summer Institute.

In the institute, teachers will take turns leading a writing lesson for the group.  Everyone participates in the hands-on lesson and gives feedback to the presenter.  By the end of the institute, you will have experienced twenty unique presentations, containing many possibilities and approaches to writing instruction for you to incorporate into your own practice.

The afternoons will be spent in small group writing sessions led by an experienced facilitator.  After debriefing the morning experiences, the writing begins. Writers may develop their personal writing or may use prompts the facilitator offers.  Your group will give feedback on your writing and support you in developing your presentation.

In three weeks time, in addition to earning college credit, you will become a teacher consultant with SJAWP.  As a teacher consultant, you may be invited to present at Saturday Seminars, to lead professional development in schools, or to teach students in our summer programs.

Perhaps the best reason to attend the ISI is the camaraderie you will experience with other teachers who love teaching and who are looking to stretch and grow their writing instruction. The relationships you develop with your fellow participants will last a life time.

The writing project can be your place to refresh, to rethink, to reconnect.

June 21- July 9, 2021 Orientation Saturday June 12, 2021

Earn graduate college credits

All participants receive a stipend of $450. Those needing units may use this stipend to pay for 3 of the 6 units, at $150/unit, for which their institute participation qualifies them.

Read Our Testimonials

Refresh. Rethink. Reconnect.

A typical day in ISI looks like this:

8:45-9:00       Breakfast, check-in

9:00-9:15      Inspirational and professional reading

9:15-12:30      Presentations and feedback

12:30-1:00​       Lunch​

1:00​-3:45​        Afternoon writing groups

Mark your calendar for the orientation

Saturday, May 18th, 2019

Daily sessions run

July 8th-26th, 2019

There is no charge for the ISI. Funding is provided through grants from the California and National Writing Projects and by income provided by other San Jose Area Writing Project programs.

ISI 19 completed

The ISI meets at San Jose State University in Sweeney Hall. Multi–week parking permits are provided for everyone selected for the program.

Note: The application process requires you to provide SJAWP with a letter of recommendation from your principal or district administrator.  You will be contacted by a teacher consultant for an over-the-phone interview after your written application has been reviewed. We look forward to hearing from you.

Invitational Institute Co-directors

Jennifer K. Johnson, PhD
Assistant Professor, English Education
Department of English and Comparative Literature
Jen K. Johnson PhD

Nancy Kennett
English Teacher
Piedmont Hills High School
East Side Union HSD

Laura Romaine Brown
Retired Literacy Intervention Coach
San Jose Area Writing Project Associate Director

Dr. Jonathan Lovell, SJAWP Director


I feel like most professional development is for new teachers, or dumbed down. This was not…it was incredible. I’m a better teacher and more prepared to share my learning with colleagues, which made my experience even more meaningful.

Anne Van der Staay, Ellis ES Sunnyvale ESD

I can say without doubt that this summer institute has been the most beneficial professional development I have been a part of.

John Wou, Horner MS, Fremont USD

I learned more at the SJAWP Summer Open Program that any other institute. The methodologies Marty Brandt covered are going to be extremely helpful in my classroom next year.

It was extremely beneficial to be surrounded by other teachers who are so passionate about their profession – it led to a collaborative spirit and inspiring curriculum development.

Melissa La Joice, Los Gatos HS, LGMV HSD

Feedback was a powerful component. The letter dialogues led me back to questions I had when I first started teaching: How do I teach __? Why do I teach __? Breaking away from the formulaic structures I have been tied to, I am now experiencing a resurgence of what I felt at the beginning of my teaching; authenticity.

Patricia Carrillo, Olinder ES SJUSD

My student life was spent groaning about page count requirements, so writing was a chore. Then in the ISI a teacher demonstrated using “snapshot” memories. Her lesson made it simple to ease into a piece that ended up being much longer and more complex than I ever imagined. This idea came from an elementary school teacher and I’m an AP Language instructor!

Babak Shahrivar, Piedmont Hills HS ESUHSD

From my Afternoon Writing Group, I take away the importance of building trust. Previously I only had my students edit each other’s papers, but not help revise. Now, before my students begin to share revision, I will build community. The bond that my AWG formed was amazing, and they helped me become a better, more confident writer.

Pam Haney, Santa Teresa HS, East Side Union HSD