By engaging in whole-school writing reform, a school is able to transform its culture and professional environment. As a staff works together to learn best practices in writing instruction and to create a unified writing program, a community of learners is developed. The methods that teachers learn for the teaching of writing are methods for teaching any subject; therefore, teachers’ practice becomes stronger in all areas. Ultimately the greatest impact is on student achievement; when students receive systematic, consistent, clear writing instruction, the level of their writing increases immediately. Research shows that when students’ writing improves, their reading improves—impacting students‘ achievement in all subject areas.
Improving student achievement and confidence in writing requires a systematic schoolwide effort. There is no “canned curriculum” that will help a school reach this goal. The most effective vehicle for schoolwide writing reform is a customized professional development program that first looks at a school‘s current writing program and then works systematically through on-going staff and program development to create a unified effective approach to teaching and assessing writing. This is what Gwen Geivett does.

The best professional development creates an ongoing relationship between the trainer and staff and is tailored to a school‘s needs and culture. Gwen comes into a school and facilitates the process of evaluating and analyzing a school‘s entire writing program. Once this has happened she offers advice on next steps as well as services that help schools meet those next steps.

Gwen‘s clients receive an ongoing professional development series that is tailored to teachers’ needs and a school‘s culture. She creates an environment where teachers feel safe to learn. These workshops change the way teachers look at and teach writing.

This process is transformational for schools that wish to create college- and career-ready writers. It is pivotal for teachers who work together across grade levels and content areas to become the best writing instructors possible.

Do any of these statements describe your school?


If any of these statements describe your school, now is the time to begin the process of schoolwide reform in writing.

Hiring Gwen to perform and present this research has been a worthwhile investment in our teachers and our students. Her report was thorough and comprehensive and has received rave reviews from both teachers and administrators. Her positive attitude has our staff inspired to act upon her recommendations. I believe Gwen is an excellent resource and am happy to be a reference for her as a diligent and professional consultant and teacher. We have realized exceptional value from her efforts.

- George Hofbauer, Principal

I have great respect for Gwen’s ability to write professional development curriculum that challenges both you and your students. I view Gwen as a writing guru; she is very knowledgeable in her instruction. Her workshops are organized, relevant, and engaging. She provides teachers with hands-on skills they can immediately apply in their classrooms.

- Anne Taylor, 7th- and 8th-grade ELA teacher

Gwen’s professional education workshops were well organized and thought provoking. She spurred rich conversations among our staff and got us thinking about best practices in language arts and writing. Gwen is always looking for improvement and digs in deep to whatever issue she encounters.

- Cathy Hamblet, 5th-grade teacher

Gwen came into our school, did an analysis of our school’s program, and delivered specific strategies and resources that moved our program forward. Her follow-up was tremendous. She did all the fieldwork, got the team together, provided professional development, went into the classrooms, worked with the teachers and the students in the writing programs, and then looked at that data to assess the impact on student learning. We’ve had her for three years, and we’ve seen the success of our writing program go through the roof!

- Rick Boyle, Principal

In the classroom and in professional workshops, Gwen always comes prepared and armed with research-based knowledge about her subject. Gwen walks the fine line of adapting her curriculum to meet the needs of professionals she’s working with, while also holding to what she’s been hired to do. She doesn’t give up when team dynamics are difficult. She perseveres and adapts to resistance she encounters. She’s not in a rush. She’s willing to let things grow, and that’s similar to what writing needs to be. She’s highly regarded by teachers because she works as hard as she’s asking them to, while also bringing a great level of fun to her work.

- Meg Wolfe, Middle School Learning Resource Director

When I started working with Gwen, writing was my least favorite subject to teach. She’s changed my attitude by helping me see that I can do this and it’s not that bad. Our writing program has dramatically improved overall under Gwen’s leadership. The writing we get from our students, compared to two years ago, is more detailed and interesting, and the students are more excited about it. Gwen is willing to put it on the line and say, “Okay, this is where we’ve got to go.” And because she’s so well prepared and overwhelmingly willing to give of her time to go the extra mile to make things the best they can be, you can’t help but rise to meet her challenge.

- Peggy Aman, 3rd-grade teacher

References available upon request
More Information on Customized Workshops


Integrated Unit Design

In this workshop, participants learn a step-by-step approach to designing rigorous units of study that are aligned with content standards while integrating the Common Core State Standards. By the end of the workshop, each participant will leave with an outline of a unit that they have designed to teach in his or her specific classroom. Gwen is available for support following the workshop to help refine lessons, develop needed resources, and provide feedback on the unit.

Best Practices in Grammar and Usage Instruction

Research shows that the “worksheet” approach to teaching grammar and usage has little impact on students’ conventions when writing. This workshop presents a variety of research-based approaches to teaching grammar and usage that transfer to students’ writing. Participants will leave this workshop with a plan of action and the tools to integrate grammar instruction into their writing units. Follow-up support from Gwen is available to help develop and refine lessons as well as gather resources.

Learning Progressions in the Common Core Writing and Language Standards

What is your school’s roadmap for learning, from grade to grade, in ELA? This workshop helps teachers understand the learning progressions integrated into the Common Core State Standards for ELA, specifically in writing and language. By the end of the workshop, participants will have a clear view of what is expected of students in their current grade as well as the grades prior and following. Resources will be provided that lay out the progressions for writing skills, grammar, and usage in a clear format. Schools can use this information to help create a writing program that builds upon itself from year to year. Using these learning progressions helps students and teachers know where they are going and develop a plan regarding how to get there.

All-School Writing Assessment Data Discussion

This is a two-part workshop. The first part is dedicated to discovering what “proficient” writing looks like at each grade level. Participants spend time looking at actual student writing to collaborate and come to agreement on scoring practices. Once the staff is calibrated, they spend time scoring pieces from their all-school writing assessments. Data is collected and recorded to be used in the second part of the workshop. The second part of the workshop is dedicated to analyzing the data and how it will influence instruction. Participants leave the workshop with specific instructional goals for their students and strategies to reach them.

Best Practices in Writing Instruction

In this hands-on workshop, participants learn and practice a variety of research-based teaching strategies that get results.

Disciplinary Literacy – Reading and Writing Like a Historian, Mathematician, or Scientist

There has been much talk about how the Common Core State Standards require all teachers to be teachers of literacy. What does this mean for content-area teachers? What does it look like? This workshop engages participants in an in-depth discussion regarding what literacy looks like in each discipline and effective strategies to teach disciplinary literacy without compromising the teaching of the content. Participants leave the session with an action plan and tools that can be used to design a unit or lesson plan that meets content standards as well as disciplinary literacy standards from the Common Core State Standards. Gwen is available for follow-up team meetings to support teachers as they take on this shift in their content-area teaching.