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Taking Initiative on Writing

Companion Resources for Taking Initiative on Writing

Taking Initiative on Writing: A Guide for Instructional Leaders

Anne Ruggles Gere, Hannah A. Dickinson, Melinda J. McBee Orzulak, and Stephanie Moody



This site is for busy and cost-conscious instructional leaders who want to develop an effective program of writing instruction.


Writing is an essential skill for learning in secondary school and for life after graduation. New national standards feature writing as a core area for college and career readiness. Individual teachers can make important contributions to the development of student writers, but only instructional leaders can engender schoolwide improvement. 


Here you will find research-based companion materials for the book Taking Initiative on Writing: A Guide for Instructional Leaders, a key resource for helping you meet the challenge of preparing students to meet national standards for writing. Click here to purchase a copy of this book. Taking Initiative on Writing is a copublication of NCTE and the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP). 


Resources (see links below) to accompany the book include:

  • Reproducible materials to support implementation of steps described in each chapter
  • Surveys
  • Integrative media presentations by other instructional leaders

Chapter 1: Surveying Writing Instruction in Your School
1.1Survey: Reflecting on the Current Writing Program
1.2Survey: Taking Stock of Available Writing Resources
1.3Survey: Recruiting Parent/Guardian Perspective and Support
1.4Survey: Understanding Student Writing Practices
1.5Integrated Media: Surveying Writing InstructionClick here to view the video

Chapter 2: Recruiting and Supporting Stakeholders
2.1Planning Recruitment
2.2Questions to Identify Leaders
2.3Professional Booklist
2.4Powerpoint: The Writing Initiative
2.5Key Writing Terms for Parents/Guardians
2.6Online Material On School and Faculty Change
2.7Integrated Media: Recruiting and Supporting Stakeholders

Chapter 3: Developing Schoolwide Writing Goals
3.1Common Core Standards for Writing
3.2Presenting Best Practices in Writing Instruction
3.3Integrated Media: Developing Schoolwide Writing GoalsClick here to view this video

Chapter 4: Developing Content-Area and Grade-Level Writing Goals
4.1Online Resources on Content Area Writing
4.2Best Practices in Content Area Writing Instruction
4.3Analyzing Student Writing
4.4Integrated Media: Developing Content-Area and Grade-Level Writing GoalsClick here to view this video

Chapter 5: Providing Professional Development
5.1Teacher Needs and Professional Development Resources
5.2Leading a Case Discussion of Student Writing
5.3Planning A School Visit
5.4Professional Development Consultants
5.5Resources for Professional Development
5.6Integrated Media: Providing Professional Development

Chapter 6: Structuring Institutional Support
6.1Guidelines for Writing Groups
6.2Guidelines for Creating Online Writing Labs (OWLs)
6.3Integrated Media: Structuring Institutional SupportClick here to view this video

Chapter 7: Assessing Student Learning
7.1Establishing Portfolio Evaluation
7.2Analyzing Student Samples
7.3Survey: Assessing Student Development
7.4Integrated Media: Assessing Student LearningClick here to view this video

Chapter 8: Evaluating and Recruiting Teachers
8.1Forms for Instructional Leader Observation
8.2Teacher Needs and Long Term PD Resources
8.3Sample Interview Protocol
8.4Integrated Media: Evaluating and Recruiting TeachersClick here to view this video

Chapter 9: Conducting Programmatic Assessment
9.1Curriculum and Benchmark Check-ins
9.2Survey: Assessing Initiative Implementation
9.3Integrated Media: Conducting Programmatic AssessmentClick here to view this video

10.1Certification of Excellence



Literacy is the gateway skill to improving student achievement in all subjects.

But writing is often the forgotten part of the literacy equation. Taking Initiative

on Writing: A Guide for Instructional Leaders provides school leaders with both

the what and the how of implementing a comprehensive, schoolwide approach

to improving student writing. School leaders who are serious about improving

student achievement, eliminating the achievement gap, and having all graduates

prepared for postsecondary education and training will want to add this book to

their professional libraries.

– Mel Riddile, Associate Director for High School Services, NASSP

2006 MetLife/NASSP National High School Principal of the Year

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