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Invitational Summer Institute

A Unique Professional Development Opportunity for Teachers​

Institute Dates: June ​11 - June 29, 2018

Times: Monday through Friday from 9am-4:00pm, except June 29th, which is an independent work day to complete writing and revisions for the institute anthology

Where: Auraria Campus, Denver, Colorado

Imagine spending three weeks completely immersed in new ideas for teaching writing and focusing your attention on your own development as a creative writer. 

Put yourself into an institute classroom one sunny morning, where yo​u find your teacher is one of the metro area’s best writing teachers demonstrating her most successful approach to teaching slam poetry to underserved youth. Then, over lunch, you talk with a fellow teacher and an institute consultant about the challenges of integrating Common Core State Standards into your literacy pedagogy.


Or put yourself into this scene: as you sit at a picnic table on historic Ninth Street, shaded by a giant elm, munching popcorn, you read a draft of a story you’re working on to three of your institute fellows; they talk with you about their experience of your narrative to help you see your work objectively. Then they read their work in progress. Finally, see yourself at the Friday afternoon pot lucks, where you and your new professional colleagues break bread and build friendships further. These scenarios take place every week during the Denver Writing Project Summer Institute. 

For three weeks in June, you and roughly 15 other institute teachers gather on the Auraria Campus to learn proven methods for teaching writing; study research, theory, and pedagogy for teaching writing; and work on your own self-designed writing projects. When you complete the three-week session, you may be selected to become part of the DWP outreach teacher corps who conduct teaching-of-writing workshops, based on their institute experience, in Front Range schools and colleges.

Regular activities include interaction with guest writers who are published authors, demonstrations of teaching best practices (by teacher participants), discussion of common texts, and time to focus on your own writing and work with a writing group.

Institute fellows will complete two or three pieces of self-sponsored writing (memoir, poetry, teaching statement, short story, digital story, This I Believe, etc.). One of the pieces should relate to the teaching profession.​

As a member of this exciting and imaginative program, you can earn up to six University of Colorado graduate credits that can be applied toward a master's degree in English or Education with an advisor's approval. (The cost of credit is based on the CU Denver Graduate Tuition Schedule for the College​ of Liberal Arts and Sciences.) 

We pay participants a small stipend to offset parking costs, travel fees, and institute materials that you purchase. We also offer a larger stipend for those interested in earning graduate credit. The stipend may fluc​tuate from year to year, depending on our program's funding. 

We hope to receive applications from teachers who specialize in varying content areas, who teach a variety of grade levels (K through college), and who define themselves as life-long learners. We are also eager to receive applications from people of color who meet the criteria above.​

Please contact with questions or call the DWP office at 303-315-7846. ​

2017 Summer Institute Guest Authors (More TBA):

Jennifer Denrow, PhD

denrowphd.jpgJennifer Denrow is the author of California (Four Way Books, 2011). Her chapbooks include How We Know it is That (Horse Less Press, 2014) and From California, On (Brave Men Press, 2012). Her writing has appeared in journals such as Gulf CoastjubilatAlaska Quarterly ReviewOctopus, and Poets.Org. She holds a PhD in English from the University of Denver and is the recipient of a fellowship in Creative Writing from the National Endowment for the Arts.​

Jenna Lincoln, Author & Teacher

j_lincoln.jpgJenna is a middle school teacher; an alumni of the Denver Writing Project; and the author of The Protector Project, a young adult fantasy novel published in 2015 by Boroughs Publishing Group. She is a dynamic speaker and will inspire you to want to sit down and write every day. She has some great insider information about the writing, revising, and publication process that she will share in this workshop setting.

Learn more about Jenna at her website:​

Drew Bixby, Author and Teacher

Screen Shot 2017-04-28 at 3.31.05 PM.pngDrew is the author of "Denver's Best Dive Bars: Drinking and Diving in the Mile High City." He teaches Advanced Magazine Writing at CU Denver and is the Assistant Director of the CU Denver Writing Center. Drew's workshop will lead us through some narrative nonfiction writing of our own.

Past Summer Institute Guest Speakers:

Mark Overmeyer, Stenhouse Author and Teacher Consultant


​Mark is a native of Colorado, and received his education at the University of Northern ​Colorado, Colorado College, and University of Colorado at Denver. ​He has over 30 years of teaching experience, most of it in Cherry Creek Schools in Denver, Colorado. He has worked as a classroom teacher in grades 2 through 8, a special education and Title I teacher, a coordinator for gifted programming, and as a literacy coordinator. Currently, Mark works full time supporting reading and writing workshops in schools around the US and internationally.

Jovan Mays, Slam Poet

Jovan Mays exemplifies the true spirit of community that is the basis of the poetry slam.  jMays.png
Since 2010 he has been a competing member for the Denver Slam Nuba National Team.  In just his 2nd year he was crowned a National Poetry Slam Champion in Boston, Massachusetts. He has achieved notable success as a slam competitor not only locally but also throughout the country; but it is his commitment to community and education in both urban and rural communities that distinguish him as an organizer and artist.​

Other notable past speakers:

  • Jenna Lincoln, Young Adult Author
  • Elizabeth Maloney, Cherry Creek Schools Elementary Literacy Coordinator
  • Shari Caudron, The Narrative Group
  • Richard Froude, Poet
  • Eliot Wilson, Poet
  • Cate Wiley, Playwright

2016 ISI Group Shot_resized.jpg
2016 Invitational Institute Participants

2015 Invitational Institute Participants

2014 Invitational Institute Participants

Quotes from Recent Participants

"I am a writer. I always will be a writer. I just needed the Denver Writing Project to remind me of that.​" -Audra Binney, 2014 ISI Alum

"This three week professional development, workshop, collaborative environment, day camp, field trip, whatever you may call it, was one of the best experiences of my life and I am forever grateful.​" -Danielle Hunter, 2014 ISI Alum

"The DWP [became] my summer outward-bound writing adventure of a lifetime." - Mary Weberg, 2014 ISI Alum

"In a few weeks, I began to see myself as a writer who teaches…not simply a teacher who writes as a hobby. Writing takes a lot of effort, time, and guts. Teaching does too. And next year my students will honestly see me doing both.​" - Raylene Kaufman, 2014 ISI Alum​

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