Institute for Excellence in Writing: Our Writing Partner

In a world where communication technology is ever more present, children’s ability to use that technology for articulate communication Excellence in writing logousing proper grammar, writing, and speaking skills seems sadly to continue to decline.  The Wall Street Journal notes that even major corporations and colleges are having to invest resources to train future business leaders in the art of writing.

R.M. Ruggles, the editor of the Association of Schools of Journalism and Mass Communication (ASJMC) journal Insights lamented almost a decade ago in their Spring 2006 Issue: “For the 35 years I was a journalism teacher and administrator, I watched, partly in horror but also in puzzled fascination, as students entered journalism studies with less and less grasp of grammar and spelling.”

In 2012, the US Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) published a report on the state of writing skills in the United States today.  The annual report is referred to as “The Nation’s Report Card” and you can read a PDF by clicking the image to the right which takes you to the report on NCES’s website.

Nation's Report Card Report on Writing 2011

[Click image for PDF] Only 3% of American 8th graders demonstrate “advanced” in writing skills.

The report notes that a mere 3% of current US 8th graders are able to write at a level that is considered “advanced.”  You might not be surprised to learn that “advanced” writing means writing that is “coherent and well structured,” “logically developed” with “supporting details,” and showing evidence of correct “spelling, grammar, usage, capitalization, and punctuation.”

At Prince of Peace Catholic School, we want our students to enter high school with a solid grounding in all these English grammar and writing skills.

To target this key communications task at POPCS, we have partnered with the Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW), a non-profit organization dedicated to “training teachers in a clear, sequential, effective method of teaching writing that reinforces curricular content such as history, science, and literature.”  In August, 2009, an IEW consultant spent two days training POPCS faculty on “Teaching Structure and Style.” Training continued in October 2009 with day three, then a follow up with the consultant on day four in each classroom at each grade level.

Since that day, our students beginning in K5 have been building their skills and achieving their goals in “structure and style.”  That’s great education!

Skills our students learn in the classroom include:

  • Notetaking
  • Outlining
  • Editing
  • Sentence Variety
  • Composing Topic Sentences
  • Verb Choice
  • Incorporating Research
  • Public Speaking