Bread Loaf Teacher Network

The Bread Loaf Teacher Network (BLTN), founded in 1992 as a core program of the Middlebury Bread Loaf School of English, is a nationally visible professional development network of teachers (current and former Bread Loaf students), working together with their students and with Bread Loaf faculty and staff to design and engage in innovative teaching and learning practices.

Building on state-of-the-art education in literature, creative expression, and the teaching of writing at the School of English, BLTN teachers prepare students to take the lead as critical thinkers, writers, creative artists, and advocates for educational and social equity and excellence.

An exceptionally diverse community, BLTN partners collaborate across classrooms, schools, districts, ages, nations, and cultures year-round, using a range of print and digital technologies and cross-site meetings to carry out inquiry-based projects that provide unprecedented opportunities for youth leadership and learning.  At the center of this work and its demonstrated success is the cultivation of teachers and students as agents of change, empowered by difference, community, and voice.

All Bread Loaf students, whether they come for just one summer in continuing graduate education or are working on an MA in English, are welcome and encouraged to join BLTN.

Watch this video to learn more about BLTN. It was created by the students in Dixie Goswami and Shel Sax's Bread Loaf class "New Media and the Teaching of Writing"

These teachers' year-round activities are supported by BreadNet, our telecommunications network, in existence since 1984, and one of the first and most successful electronic teacher networks in the nation. Bread Loaf teachers are trained in the use of BreadNet during the summer session, and then they and their students, sometimes joined by Bread Loaf faculty members, carry out cross-classroom online writing projects on literature, place-based, and other subjects during the academic year. Their students benefit enormously from this widening of the classroom, and teachers report dramatic improvement in students' writing when they are writing for an "authentic audience" of their peers at another school, or engaging in a literary discussion with a college professor.

Bread Loaf faculty and staff are available throughout the year, both online and in person, to offer technical and academic advice. The Bread Loaf publications director works with teachers who are interested in writing about their work, and Bread Loaf publishes the Bread Loaf Teacher Network Magazine.

History of the Bread Loaf Teacher Network

This network of teachers from rural, urban, and suburban schools began with funding from the Wallace Foundations (then the DeWitt Wallace-Reader's Digest Fund) in 1993. We have since received additional funding from the Annenberg Rural Challenge, the Carnegie Corporation, the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations, the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, Write to Change, the Educational Foundation of American, the Humana Foundation, the C.E. and S. Foundation, the Braitmayer Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Educational Testing Service, the Leopold Schepp Foundation, the Gates Foundation, and several state departments of education and school districts.

There are now hundreds of teachers actively engaged in networked projects involving tens of thousands of their students. Recently, BLTN teachers in Kentucky have partnered with colleagues on the Navajo Nation on a highly successful Food Literacy project that has now expanded to include a health initiative under the auspices of a grant from Partners in Health and the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control. The following video describes this groundbreaking work: