DC Area Writing Project

Helping to ensure that DC-area students have access to exemplary language and literacy instruction 

Who We Are: The District of Columbia Area Writing Project, the local site of the National Writing Project, is a professional development network for teachers. Located at Howard University, the DCAWP has been providing high quality professional development in the Washington, DC area since 1995. Our ultimate goal is to improve PK-12 students’ language and literacy proficiency by developing teachers’ writing instruction across multiple disciplines. Successful educators, who support and enhance each other’s instruction through demonstration and dialogue, are the centerpiece of DCAWP.

Vision: Our vision is to be a premier professional development network of educators in the Washington, D.C. area.

What We Believe: We believe that literacy can be a source of individual and collective empowerment and that PK-12 students develop proficiency in writing and reading when taught by competent, confident teachers who are supported in their practice.


  1. Collaboration: Collaborating with individuals, organizations, and communities lies at the heart of what we do.
  2. Community Engagement: Responding to community needs and interests and drawing upon community resources lead to work that is specific to the local community.
  3.  Innovation: Asking questions and engaging in research to answer those questions can lead to innovative strategies that advance student learning.
  4. Imagination: Imagining allows us to envision a reality that does not yet exist.
  5. Social Justice: Working toward social justice, including racial equity, is integral to creating an egalitarian society.


Director’s Welcome:

Greetings! I’m Altheria Caldera, a teacher, learner, and an activist. I’m also a past Writing Project participant (Capstone Writing Project/University of Alabama). In my role at Howard University, I serve as Assistant Professor of Reading/Language Arts and Director of the DC Area Writing Project. We are excited about the 2022 relaunch of the Washington DC Area Writing Project (DCAWP)! Since 1995, the DCAWP has provided professional development for area teachers and learning opportunities for local students. As the incoming director, I’m honored to continue this work in partnership with educators in the DC area. 

I believe strongly in the power of language and literacy to shape and define students’ lives. Competent teachers who utilize culturally sustaining and anti-racist practices are essential for students are to realize this power. Far too many students of color, English language learners, and socioeconomically disadvantaged students are denied access to equitable, liberatory literacy instruction. I aim to help change this reality by collaborating with our teachers to develop their capacity to teach writing and reading. 

This is the work to which I’m committed. I hope you’ll join me! 

Dr. Altheria Caldera
Director, DC Area Writing Project


DCAWP 2022 Summer Institute

Culturally Sustaining and Anti-Racist Practices to Cultivate Equity in Writing Instruction

July 11-15, 2022

(please read and apply)