Writers in the Schools

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Despite current public health uncertainties, the WITS program is ready to move forward and will continue to provide students with wonderful author visits. All WITS visits during the 2020/2021 academic year will be virtual, and we have developed delivery strategies to accommodate the differing aims and resources of schools across the province.

Additionally, all virtual visits in 2020/2021 will free for schools, with all costs covered by funding received by the WFNS from Arts Nova Scotia and the Nova Scotia Department of Education.

Overview

Writers in the Schools (WITS) is a program through which Nova Scotia writers visit schools to provide presentations, workshops, and readings for students of every grade. The program encourages students’ enjoyment of reading and writing and engages them in the development of literacy skills.

All WITS writers are professional writers and WFNS members and are able to cover a variety of topics, such as creative writing, research, journalism, illustration, and comic books.

WITS is our most public educational outreach program: the Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia invests more than one quarter of its resources and much of its organizational energies in bringing professional writers into Nova Scotia schools.

How do virtual visits work?

When applying for a booking, it is crucial to indicate the virtual format that is best for your students and your school’s resources.

Live Virtual Visits: Many of our writers have adapted their presentations for synchronous delivery to the classroom through video conferencing softwareThis is an excellent option for classes with access to a stable internet connection.

Writer-Created Videos: Mailed to your school on a USB, each video will be provided in the most common file formats, ensuring it is easily played on any device. To protect the intellectual property of writers, we require the USB be returned to the WFNS office. This is a better option for schools with weak or unstable internet connections

Writers in Virtual Residence: Writers will work with a class of students on an individual basis (via email feedback) on one or more writing assignments. The residency length (booked as a half day or full day) is measured in hours spent responding to the class’s questions and/or commenting on their assignments. This is an ideal strategy for junior high and high schools. 

Writers in Conversation: Facilitated by the WFNS and delivered through video conferencing software, webinars will be designed to target specific student age groups (for example, having YA authors talk specifically about writing novels for 13-18 year olds), and addressing multiple topics. Teachers interested in suggesting topics can get in touch with Linda Hudson at wits@writers.ns.ca

If you have questions about these options, please contact us on weekdays between 9:30 am and 1:00 pm.

How in-person WITS visits work
In-person WITS visits are not available during the 2020/2021 academic year.

When operating as an in-person visitation program, WITS is co-paid: WFNS covers the entirety of a writer's mileage as well as a portion of the writer's fees. The hosting school covers the remainder of the writer's fees. For a full-day visit, a school co-pays $175. For a half-day visit, a school co-pays $90.

Many WITS writers are open to suggestions and amenable to working with teachers, librarians, and principals to ensure their visits complement school curricula.

  1. Using our online booking form, applicants (including teachers, librarians, and principals) can select the writers they wish to visit their classroom or school.
  2. WFNS evaluates each application based on a variety of factors, including school location, writers' expected travel distance, and expected length of visit. In striving to ensure each school is visited by its top choice of writer, WFNS facilitates WITS visits throughout the school year until the program's annual funding has been allocated.
  3. After WFNS approval, a successful applicant contacts a WITS writer directly to arrange a visit date and time. By allowing writers and school staff the flexibility to book sessions based on mutual availability, WFNS encourages WITS visits to work in conjunction with school curricula and expedites any re-booking necessitated by illness or inclement weather.
  4. Once a visit date has been set, the successful applicant informs the WFNS of the details to ensure prompt invoicing for the visit. Schools do not co-pay writers directly: all cheques for WITS visits must be mailed to the WFNS office.

Investors and Partners

The Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia recognizes the Province of Nova Scotia’s support for our Writers in the Schools (WITS) program. We are pleased to offer this program with investments from the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development and Arts Nova Scotia. We are also grateful to Cabot Trail Writers Festival, Hackmatack Children’s Choice Book Award, and Read by the Sea’s Writing on Fire program for their recurring partnership in providing opportunities for WITS authors.

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