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Conferenced Writing Program

Clayton HSClayton High School, (Clayton MO). The Conferenced Writing Program (CWP) at Clayton High School is a hallmark of the school’s college preparatory education. The CWP takes an individualized approach to writing that helps teachers maintain high writing standards based on the Missouri Learning Standards. Each year, all students write ten compositions and meet individually with their English teachers ten times, outside of class. The compositions may include: an analytical essay, a collection of poetry, a narrative, or a photo essay .Students draft their compositions and then discuss their work with English teachers in 20-30 minute conferences. For some students, a conference may focus on basic organization; but for other students, it may mean experimenting with sentence structure and developing voice. Students use the guidance they receive in these conferences to revise their compositions. Teachers can apply the program to different steps of the writing process. Teachers may use conferences to help students outline ideas and explore different organizational structures, to examine an essay draft, or to reflect and set goals following a revision. Students participate in writing conferences throughout their four years of English classes, so by the time students graduate, they will have engaged in 40 individualized conferences. Ultimately, the CWP encourages students to become writers who understand and value the process of writing while enabling teachers to become writing coaches–and sometimes partners. Perhaps the best accolades for the CWP come from CHS graduates who consistently report being better prepared to handle the writing demands of college coursework than most of their peers.