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Jolene A. Borgese

Jolene’s experiences came from the fact that she was a “young, naïve teacher with little writing instruction and experience.” The remedy: she became involved in the first writing project in Pennsylvania in the summer of 1980 when she attended the six-week summer writing institute. For the next 15 years she was the co-director of the project with Dr. Robert Weiss at West Chester University. Jolene taught Writing Strategies Courses, designed the “Summer Youth Writing Project” and went off site to lead Summer Institutes in different parts of the state. This life-changing event shaped her teaching, her career and most importantly her students’ learning. She taught middle and high school for 21 years in suburban Philadelphia and earned her doctorate at Widener University where she researched what made students successful on local, state, and national writing assessments. She left the classroom to work with teachers as a staff developer, a national six traits trainer for a large educational publishing company. With a volunteer group, she traveled to Guatemala to help struggling schools. There she presented writing as a process, the six traits, and frontloading strategies to Guatemalan teachers. All were eager and excited to learn about writing and methods to help their students be better writers. Jolene found that it didn’t matter that most of the teachers were Spanish speaking and needed an interpreter to understand her; what they heard were motivating ideas, explicit instruction and the power of literacy that they could pass on to their students. Presently, Jolene has added to her repertoire literacy professor at local universities. She is active in many professional literacy organizations and is program co-chair for the Keystone State Reading Association annual conference in October, 2011.