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San Marcos Writing Project

San Marcos Writing Project

The San Marcos Writing Project (SMWP) is one of 190 sites of the National Writing Project (17 in California), which is a professional development network of teachers whose goal is to improve student-writing achievement by improving the teaching and learning of writing in the nation's schools.

The writing project is a resource for teachers and school districts. During the school year, writing project teachers can also provide professional development workshops for other teachers in their schools and communities. We host Open Institutes around relevant topics for two weeks in the summer or two to three day workshops during the school year. We also host Young Writer's Camps for two weeks in the summer at school sites around North San Diego County for students in grades two through eight.

 Resources for Educators during School Closings due to COVID-19

Upcoming Events

Using Writing to Support Social-Emotional Learning
March 6 & March 20 | 9:30am - 12pm

Learn More!

 Invitational Summer Institute
June 21 - July 22, 2021

Learn More!

Contact Us

Laurie Stowell, SMWP Director

Nancy Pace-Skinner, SMWP Co-Director


Fall and Winter Virtual Workshops

  • Oct. 16, 2021 9:00-10:30:  “Encouraging Writing Improvement Through Growth Matrices” with Sierra Zounes
    • Learn to use growth matrices to promote focused writing improvement in specific areas and help students avoid the “one and done” mentality. This systematic process guides students through metacognitive reflection about their writing where they learn how to identify their struggles, self-evaluate, assign personal growth steps, and receive teacher feedback. Flyer and registration information here

  • Oct. 30, 2021 9:00-10:30: “The Ultimate Classroom Magazine Project” with Harmony Bell
    • Let's give students a sense of autonomy by allowing their creative voices to be heard!  Learn how students can use multiple genres of writing to collaborate on an engaging classroom magazine. Flyer and registration information here

  • Nov. 6, 2021, 10-11:30:  Dr. Gholdy Muhammad, author of Cultivating Genius: An Equity Framework for Culturally and Historically Responsive Literacy
    • Dr. Gholdy Muhammad will demonstrate researched-based culturally and historically responsive equity practices and offer pedagogical examples of lesson and unit plans. Flyer and registration information here

  • November 13, 2021 9:00-10:30 “Apply Dr. Gholdy Muhammad’s Cultivating Genius framework to your curriculum”
    • led by SMWP Teacher Leaders Kriscia Cabral and Cathy Lachel.  Teacher leaders who have applied Dr. Muhammad’s framework to their curriculum will share their examples and support teachers in developing their own applications. Flyer and registration information here

  • Feb. 12, 2022 10-12: “Getting started with Project Based Learning” with Dr. John Spencer


Invitational Summer Institute 2021 website

Teen Writers' Camp July 26-30, 2021

  • July 26-30, 2021: Oak Valley Middle School
  • Each day 8:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. will include: workshop setting, writing Project-trained teachers, writing notebook and writing supplies provided


  • Creative Writing - Writing Prompts and Strategies, Mentor Writing, Poetry, Writing Strategies, Author
  • Academic Writing - Argument Writing, Tips for Writing Success, Self-Editing and Monitoring, Visits from
    those in Writing Careers

Register Today!  Informational Flyer

Young Writers' Camp August 2-6, 2021

  • August 2-6, 2021: Highland Ranch Elementary
  • Each day 8:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. will include: participate in daily lessons that focus on social, emotional and individual strengths for each child, learn about genre and figurative language focused lessons, write in a friendly, supportive setting, write fiction, poetry, or autobiographical sketches and essays, work on correctness for publication: grammar, spelling and punctuation

The San Marcos Writing project invites students entering 2nd through 6th grade to participate in a
workshop led by Writing Project teachers. Registration fees include a notebook, writing materials and all
supplies necessary for the workshop. Please join our Writing Camp that will emphasize social, emotional
and individual growth for each child.

Register Today!  Informational Flyer

New Teacher Writing Institute

  • July 19-23, 2021: 2021 New Teacher Writing Institute
  • Each day (9 a.m. - 3 p.m.) will include: demonstrations with practical resources to use
    immediately; time to work with experienced classroom teachers; and opportunities to collaborate
    with grade-level colleagues.

This 5-day, virtual (via Zoom) writing institute for new K-12 teachers (0 to 5 years) will provide numerous opportunities for you to become more comfortable with engaging students with high-interest writing. Writing Institute topics will include:
     • Creating the conditions for standards-based, effective writing in your classroom
     • Providing meaningful feedback for student writing, all while handling the “paper load”
     • Writing with ELD & Special Ed students
     • Using technology to facilitate learning
     • Meeting students’ social-emotional learning needs

Register Today!  Informational Flyer

Invitational Summer Institute

The San Marcos Writing Project (SMWP) provides opportunities in professional development for K-12 teacher practitioners in all disciplines, administrators, and curriculum specialists. The SMWP is a National Writing Project site dedicated to the improvement of student learning through the effective teaching of writing in culturally and linguistically diverse classrooms. Our aim is for fellows to come away from the Institute with a renewed sense of excitement about and commitment to teaching, writing and the teaching of writing.  This institute will focus on effective reading and writing strategies in face to face and online classrooms

June 21 - July 22, 2021 | Monday - Thursday, 8:30 am - 4:00 pm
Plus 2 half-day follow-up meetings on Saturdays during the 2021-2022 Academic Year (1 in Fall, 1 in Spring)

  • Participants will receive a $500 stipend for attending the five-week summer institute and $100 for attending a fall meeting and $100 for attending a spring meeting. There is no cost to district or school.
  • Participants may receive up to 6 units of graduate credit for a reduced fee.

Apply Today!   Informational Flyer     Contact Laurie Stowell with Questions

 SMWP 20th Anniversary Celebration: Postponed

  • Postponed until Spring or Summer 2021. Details to be released.

SMWP In the News


Additional Information & Resources