Professional Development > Conferences and Workshops


Clarity, Credibility & Conviction: Supporting Intermediate Writers Across Content Areas
Joan Dabrowski

Monday, December 4, 2017
9:30 am - 3:15 pm

ISACS Classroom
Chicago, IL

*** Update on the 12/4 Workshop

This workshop has been cancelled. We hope to reschedule for the 2018-19 school year. We offer our sincere apologies for any inconvenience caused by this unexpected circumstance.

If you have any questions, please contact the ISACS office at 312-750-1190.

As our intermediate students face more complex writing tasks, they need support in both the craft and conventions of writing. In this session, participants will dig into this topic as we consider teaching strategies for developing, refining, and strengthening the writing of our upper elementary and middle school students. Student writing samples and writing assignments will be used to throughout the day. Emphasis will be placed on how teachers can support students as they write across all content areas with clarity, credibility and conviction.

Specifically, participants will consider:

  • the compelling data that makes the case for frequent writing across all content areas

  • how reading, thinking and discussion serve as foundational pre-writing experiences

  • a range of key teaching routines that can be used across content areas for intermediate writers (e.g. focus lessons, interactive writing, author studies)

  • the craft and conventions most appropriate (and helpful) for intermediate writers working on clarity, credibility and conviction

  • the role of choice and relevancy in writing assignments for intermediate writers

  • how rubrics can teach as well as assess student writing

This workshop is for faculty and literacy coaches, grades 3-8.

Joan Dabrowski is the assistant superintendent for teaching and learning in Wellesley Public Schools. She has held numerous roles in the field of education including elementary teacher, K-8 literacy coach, adjunct professor, national consultant, curriculum writer, district administrator, and author. She has taught, consulted, or conducted research in schools across the country including Baltimore, Boston, Cambridge, Detroit, Hawaii, Houston, Louisville, Montgomery County, New Orleans and Somerville. She was the PK-12 director of literacy for the Boston Public Schools. She serves as a literacy advisor to The Education Trust, and along with Ed Trust, she co-authored, Checking In: Do Classroom Assignments Reflect Today’s Higher Standards?, a national report that summarized an analysis of over 1800 middle school literacy assignments in English language arts, history and science. Additionally, she has written a book for teachers entitled, Interactive Writing Across Grades: A Small Practice With Big Results. Dabrowski began her career in Teach for America and earned a master’s degree at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She earned her Doctorate of Education in K-12 School Leadership at Vanderbilt University, Peabody College. 

Location of Workshop
The workshop will take place at the ISACS classroom at 55 West Wacker Drive, Suite 702, Chicago, IL. 

Directions, Parking & Public Transportation
The location is located in the heart of Chicago, with easy access to public transportation.

Click here for directions to the ISACS classroom including driving, parking and public transportation directions. Parking is available at several area garages. To secure discounted rates prior to your arrival in Chicago, visit If possible, we suggest taking public transportation.

Air Travel
Both Midway and O'Hare airports are easily accessible to the ISACS classroom. Fly into Midway (on Southwest Airlines) or into O'Hare and take the "L" (Chicago's public transportation) and be at the ISACS classroom in less than an hour.  

‚ÄčGO Airport Express (Share-a-Ride) Shuttle Service
ISACS has negotiated a special rate with GO Airport Express for ISACS members – 15% off the standard rates. Reservations MUST be made in advance and online to receive the discounted rate.  The standard rate per person to/from O’Hare is approximately $28 one-way; $49 round-trip. The standard rate per person to/from Midway is approximately $24 one-way; $40 round-trip. To receive the 15% discount off the standard rates, please click here for the Go Airport Express website to make a reservation in advance. A credit card is required and charged at the time of reservation. Airport walk-ups are not eligible for the discounted rate. Parties of two more reserving at the same time receive a discount. Please visit their website for more information.  

Hotel Accommodations
ISACS has secured discounted hotel accommodations at The Godfrey Hotel Chicago: a luxury boutique hotel with commanding southern views of the city skyline. To make a reservation, please contact The Godfrey Hotel Chicago at 312-649-2000 and make sure to identify yourself as a member with the Independent Schools Association of Central States (ISACS) and provide them with the Group Code: ISACS Writing Workshop. Credit cards are required to book all room reservations. If you would prefer to book online please click here to make your reservation. For directions to The Godfrey Hotel Chicago, which also includes walking directions to the ISACS classroom, click here

If you are looking for another option or the room block is full, please take a moment to check out the other hotels which ISACS has partnered with in the Chicago area. The hotels are within walking distance of the ISACS classroom and, as a member of ISACS, you have access to the discounted rates all year long for your professional and personal travel. Click here to find out how to make a reservation at any of the hotels and select the option that meets your travel needs. We recommend booking your hotel room early. 

If you have any difficulties booking a room at The Godfrey Hotel Chicago or any other property, please contact the ISACS office at 312-750-1190.

Registration Fee

  • $190 member fee 
  • $240 non-member fee 
  • The first person pays the full fee, each additional registrant receives a $20 discount
  • Workshop includes coffee/tea, light breakfast, lunch and refreshments.
  • Please review the Registration Confirmation information below

Registration Confirmation Communications from ISACS
Once registration for the workshop has been completed the following communications will be sent from ISACS:

  • Once registration is complete, an email will automatically be sent to the contact person on the registration confirming that registration has been completed.
  • Approximately three weeks prior to the workshop, ISACS will send a confirmation email to the registrant with details for the workshop.
  • Approximately one week prior to the workshop, ISACS will send a final confirmation email to the registrant with details for the workshop.

If you do not receive these emails prior to arriving at a workshop, please call the ISACS office at 312-750-1190. It is possible your email address was entered incorrectly OR your registration was not completed.

Cancellation Policy
Cancellations for workshops held at the ISACS classroom must be received in writing to ISACS by emailing 10 business days prior to the event to receive a refund. ISACS will determine the refund amount, if any, on a per workshop basis and may be unable to determine the refund amount until the workshop’s conclusion. At any time, registration may be transferred to another member from the same school. If a workshop has a waitlist and ISACS can identify a replacement, a full refund will be provided. ISACS reserves the right to cancel the workshop for insufficient enrollment. In this case, participants will be notified and given a full refund. 

Member Cost: $190     Non-member Cost: $170


55 West Wacker, Suite 701 · Chicago, IL 60601 · Telephone (312) 750-1190 · Fax (312) 750-1193
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