Summer Institute 2014

Register Here!

The Seven Valleys Writing Project is part of a federal program that promotes teacher resilience and growth.  Summer Institute 2014 in Cortland, NY is where writing, learning, thinking and leadership come together.  The program is entirely planned, led, and sustained by practicing teachers with an insider’s perspective.  Participants often say they meet powerful, dynamic, and effective teachers in the Summer Institute, colleagues that inspire them to do their best work.

The 2014 Summer Institute (SI) is a three-week intense learning experience for teachers of all content areas and grade levels. As an SI  participant you will work on developing your own skills as a writer, teacher, and researcher while reading, discussing, and collaborating with other teachers from the Central New York region. The 2014 Summer Institute will run from July 7 – 25. All classes will take place in our summer location, The Beard Building, located at 9 Main Street in Cortland, NY.

To see what graduates of the Summer Institute (called “Teacher-Consultants”) say about the program, click here.

The SI will cover the following topics. Please note that you may not apply for one week at a time, but instead apply for the full three week experience.

Week 1- Teachers as Writers

In the first week of Summer Institute you will focus on personal writing in and out of the classroom. You will explore yourselves as teachers through writing about your practice and about yourselves. You will also spend time creating a personal writing portfolio as a springboard into more writing. The week will end with sharing your writing at an open mic at a local coffee shop.

Week 2- Teachers as Researchers 

In this week, you will start by asking yourself a “burning question” about your practice. It could be about your teaching, or a problem you are having in the classroom. Through this burning question, you will start to collect and examine research articles and other readings that will help you gain insight into your problem.  You will also share and discuss with others to help deepen your understanding, and start to write about your burning question.  You will also have time to continue with personal writing during the week. The goal of the second week is to have a question and then create an annotated bibliography of resources you could use to write a piece on your burning question.  You will finish the second week, again, by sharing your writing at an open forum.

Week 3- Teachers teaching writing 

This week will focus on your writing instruction within the context of your classroom. You will be able to answer and explore the following questions: What does a writing classroom look like? Where do the Common Core Standards fit into my practice?  How can I create a room full of independent writers?  You will read some different theorists on writing instruction and learn from each other through sharing and discussion.  You will continue with both personal writing and with your burning question, teacher research writing.  The week will finish with sharing your writing at the open mic in Cortland.


At the end of the three weeks you will have…

– A portfolio of personal writing

-A collection of personal writing about your profession

-An annotated bibliography of references about your burning question

-A rough draft of a research paper, or the start of a research book

-An idea of how to use the Common Core Standards in your classroom, and a better understanding of how to read them.

-A deeper understanding of who you are as a teacher

-Re-ignited passion for teaching and you will not be able to wait to get started.

How much credit is the Summer Institute worth?

The Summer Institute is designed as a six-credit graduate level course through SUNY Cortland. Those participants who are working on a master’s degree or post-graduate credit hours will register for the course through SUNY Cortland. Seven Valleys has some tuition stipends to help cover the cost of the courses. These credit hours can also be used as PD hours for still-new teachers in need of hours towards their teacher certification requirements.

If you are a teacher who does not need graduate credit, you will receive a certificate of completion for 82.5 Professional Development hours for the three-week session. These hours can be applied to teacher certification requirements, or be submitted to your school district for Inservice credit. Many of our former participants have been able to use their hours for salary increases at their districts, an added bonus of participating in the SI.  The Seven Valleys Writing Project is a registered provider of professional development sponsored by  TST BOCES.

If you have questions about tuition and tuition waivers, payment, or credit please contact Seven Valleys Writing Project director

How Do I Apply For Summer Institute?

Since the Summer Institute is limited to 20 participants, interested teachers must complete a three step application process.

1. Complete the online program registration form.

2. Submit a written statement explaining why you are interested in participating in the Summer Institute. This statement should be no longer than two pages. Feel free to use any style or form you would like for this writing. This is your opportunity to introduce yourself as a writer and teacher. Submit your statement electronically to

3. After your written statement has been received, you will be contacted to set up an interview. While we would prefer to have face-to-face interviews, we can make arrangements for online interviews through Skype or FaceTime.

Participants who are selected to participate in the SI will receive further guidance in registering for the course through SUNY Cortland or My Learning Plan. Tuition arrangements will be made after acceptance to the program. Please do not submit tuition to SUNY Cortland or The Seven Valleys Writing Project with your application. Tuition for this course is non-refundable.

When Should I Apply?

We have a rolling application process. Some schools have requested extra time to process paperwork; in response we have extended our application deadline to June 14, 2014 (check the front page of this site for our calendar).

The cost for those seeking SUNY Cortland credit will not change, but those participants should apply today to ensure a place in the class.

What Is The Cost of Summer Institute?

There are two different ways to participate in the SI: as a student taking grad courses, or simply for professional development credit.

Grad courses: You can take Summer Institute for three or six graduate credits — either way, you attend for the entire program. Seven Valleys has a limited number of $1000 stipends for those who desire graduate credit (we offer two simultaneous 3-credit courses; a 3-credit course is anticipated to cost $1,233 for this summer, 2014.  Bottom line: tuition will set you back $2466 before the stipend).

Professional development: Those who choose to take the Summer Institute for professional development credit can apply for tuition payment through your school district by registering through My Learning Plan at TST BOCES.


  • Teacher K-12 and in all content areas (not just English!) are invited to apply.
  • It runs from July 7-July 25, M-F, 8:30-4:00 in the Beard Building (#9 Main Street, Cortland, NY 13045).  Participants must attend all sessions.
  • The required introductory session is June 21 in the SUNY Cortland Alumni House, 8:30-3:00.
  • Summer tuition is approximately $2500.  To soften the sting, we have a limited number of $1000 stipends for those who qualify. Districts often compensate teachers for post-graduate work – check with your financial person.
  • Participants will develop skills in personal writing, teacher research, and leading-by-example (teaching demonstrations).

I still have questions!

Contact the Summer Institute facilitators, Kathryn Cernera or Danielle Sullivan who will happily answer any questions you have.