Structured Writing
Inspires Student Creativity

April 2015

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Article in Arizona K12 Center Newsletter

by Shannon Olinski

Although giving students detailed instruction for writing may sound like it zaps the creative process, Amber Parks from Writing with Design believes otherwise. The Mississippian turned Oklahoma resident has spent the last eight years of her career helping educators make writing easy, relevant, and doable for their students.  

During the 2014–2015 school year, Parks visited the Arizona K12 Center three times to provide training to teachers working with grades three through five. Due to glowing reviews and a high demand for this training, the longtime educator will return next year, offering opportunities to teachers working with grades three through eight.  

Parks says her trainings are worthwhile, not only because they are hands-on and minds-on, but also because they align with the Arizona College and Career Ready Standards. 

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Combining Two Passions
To Improve Education

Amber Parks | 2000 Coca-Cola Scholar | Director and Lead Consultant at The Learning Project

Amber Parks | 2000 Coca-Cola Scholar | Director and Lead Consultant at The Learning Project

Article on Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation

Amber Parks always felt like teaching was her calling. “I remember teaching my stuffed animals when I was a little girl,” she recalls. “There was never a question about what I would do.”

After graduating from Vanderbilt and the University of Oklahoma, she taught elementary school students in Spain, South Africa, Mississippi and Oklahoma. “I loved the classroom and had no intention of leaving,” she adds. Her students always excelled and consequently other teachers began to ask her for strategies and ideas. As they began to request more and more of her time, she made the decision to leave the classroom for a year to work with teachers more closely through professional development training. That was five years ago, and today the organization she founded, The Learning Project, works with teachers and students in more than 40 schools across the country.

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