Colloquium FAQ’s – Everything you need to know about our Colloquium this April

On Saturday, April 27, The Hillside School is hosting “Getting it Write”, a colloquium on effective writing at Moravian College. We are extremely excited for this opportunity, but we also understand that not everyone may know exactly what a colloquium is and what it entails. Therefore, we decided to put together a list of FAQ’s to provide some background information on what this thing is all about and why you should join us for this jam-packed information session. Hope to see you there!


So what’s a colloquium? According to Webster, a colloquium is an academic meeting at which experts deliver lectures on a topic or related topics and then answer questions relating to them. In this case, the faculty and staff from The Hillside School, in conjunction with Dr. Bonnie Singer, will be presenting on effective writing strategies for students who struggle with writing as well as their research findings of using consistent writing instruction rooted in the principles Dr. Singer’s EmPOWER™ writing method.


Teaching students to write has become an educational priority nationwide. It is an enormously complex process and even more so for students struggling with learning disabilities. As part of The Middle States Association of Colleges and Elementary and Secondary Schools (MSA) accreditation process, Hillside was asked to be part of their Sustaining Excellence Protocol.  This privilege is only extended to schools that have proven their effectiveness for producing high levels of student performance expected by their communities, so it’s a big deal to be asked. Hillside’s initiative, “Effective Writing Instruction”, began in 2014 – the goal being to improve student writing through consistent instruction across all grade levels.  The colloquium is the culmination of their research to date and the final step in the Sustaining Excellence Protocol. It is an honor to be selected for this program and Hillside is proud of the work and information it produced as a result.


Bonnie Singer, Ph.D. is the founder and CEO of Architects For Learning, where she provides teacher professional development and school consultation internationally and directs a staff in the Boston area that provides academic intervention, assessment, and consultation services. In partnership with Dr. Anthony Bashir, she developed EmPOWER™, a method for teaching expository writing, Brain Frames™, graphic scaffolds for language, literacy, teaching, and learning. Her primary research and numerous publications focus on the relationship between spoken and written language, cognition, spatial processing, and self-regulated learning. Thanks to the research of faculty and staff at Hillside, a partnership was formed with Dr. Singer to help support our writing initiative and teach her EmPOWER™ method. Together with Dr. Singer, Hillside embarked on a journey to improve the writing experience of all of our students and to provide strategies that instill the confidence they need to consider themselves “writers”. Over the course of the last three years, Dr. Singer has been on-site to train our teachers and help our students, and we are excited to continue to work together in the future.


Per Dr. Singer’s website, EmPOWER™ is a systematic method for teaching academic writing. With EmPOWER, students talk themselves through six steps of the writing process and, within each step, use proven strategies to problem-solve.  The EmPOWER™ steps include:

Evaluate: break down the task to determine what I have to do

make a

Plan: identify my purpose for writing and select strategies

Organize: show my thinking and organize my ideas

Work: work my ideas into well-structured text

Evaluate: assess my work

Re-work: make necessary changes

Students can use the EmPOWER™ method for any writing assignment in any grade level and any subject area.


Anyone is invited to attend this FREE event, but if you are an educational or medical professional, or are the parent of a student who struggles with writing, we think the information being presented would serve as an invaluable resource in your continuing education on the topic of writing. We’ve spent years putting this research together and want to be able to share it with others so that they too can impact the overall writing experience in a positive way.


Easy! Sign up on our Community Events Page here: