Author and educator Kimberly N. Parker headlines Gateway Writing Project’s spring conference

by | Apr 10, 2023

The event attracted an audience of about 75 educators from across the St. Louis region to the Millennium Student Center.
Educator and author Kimberly N. Parker adjusts the microphone while speaking behind a clear UMSL lectern

Author and educator Kimberly N. Parker adjusts the microphone as she delivers her keynote address during the Gateway Writing Project’s spring conference on Thursday in the Century Rooms of the Millennium Student Center. (Photos by Jeff Rivet)

About 75 educators from across the St. Louis region turned out at the Millennium Student Center at the University of Missouri–St. Louis last Thursday for the Gateway Writing Project‘s spring conference.

The conference is just one example of how the Gateway Writing Project works to improve writing and literacy throughout the metropolitan area by providing high-quality professional development that fosters the intellectual growth of writing teachers and their students across an array of subject areas. Attendees could choose from more than 15 sessions focused on a variety of needs.

Attendees of the Gateway Writing Project's spring conference listening intently

Members of the audience listen intently during the keynote address at the Gateway Writing Project’s spring conference. About 75 educators from across the St. Louis region attended the one-day event at the Millennium Student Center.

“Our larger aim is to provide ongoing opportunities throughout the year to support teachers by providing a safe and nurturing community where we can learn from one another,” said Diana Hammond, a research associate in UMSL’s College of Education and GWP’s assistant director for professional learning. “In the feedback survey we gave, one participant best captured what we are trying to achieve, saying:  ‘This conference affirmed the work I am doing to make my students feel seen, supported, and valued. Being part of a larger, ongoing network of teachers who share the same goals gives me the energy to keep going!'”

In addition to the learning sessions, Kimberly N. Parker, an award-winning educator and author from Boston, delivered a keynote address.

Parker believes that literacy is key to normalizing the achievement of all students, including Black, Latino and other children of color. She serves as director of the Crimson Summer Academy at Harvard University, and last year she authored a book titled “Literacy is Liberation: Working Toward Justice Through Culturally Relevant Teaching.”

“We knew her work would resonate with teachers in our community,” Hammond said. “She offers practical ideas for meeting kids where they are and letting their literacy assets open doors for creation and connection in our classrooms.”

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Steve Walentik

Steve Walentik

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