About Us

SPI's Story

In 2002, classroom teacher Erick Gordon helped a group of eighth-grade students at the NYC Lab School publish a book of "best of" Zagats-inspired reviews of New York City. When Coring the Apple rolled off the presses, a small but passionate universe of teachers and students experienced the thrill of what it meant to "go public." Inspired by his personal experience of how embedding publication in curriculum could have a profound effect on the ways students engage with the entire writing process, Erick Gordon founded the Student Press Initiative (SPI) at Teachers College, Columbia University.

Now, nearly a decade and over 100 publications later, SPI is seeing real evidence of the powerful learning that takes place when young people are given opportunities to take action in the world by making their ideas public through the written word.

Our Philosophy

The mission of Student Press Initiative at Teachers College, Columbia University is to revolutionize education by advancing teacher leadership in reading and writing instruction. SPI is part professional development, part artist-collaboration, and part not-for-profit publisher. We promote a style of classroom publication that is deeply embedded in curriculum. We work in partnership with teachers and school communities to share ideas for how to better plan and produce all-inclusive learning experiences that culminate with students 'going public' with their learning.

We believe curriculum-based publications that grow from highly specified genre studies in the classroom not only democratize students' opportunities to publish, but also provide opportunities to link content-area reading and writing skill development with the excitement of real-world learning. Through publication, we raise the bar for what, how, and why students write. Our pedagogy is rooted firmly in research, and inspired by the work of author-educators such as James Moffet, Peter Elbow, Ken Macrorie, Eliot Wigginton, and Ruth Vinz—a lineage of teachers who believe in the power of publication and the importance of student writing driven by an awareness of audience and purpose.

Our Programs

SPI projects do not follow the typical school literary magazine model, too often highlighting the success of an already-acknowledged academic elite. SPI supports and builds publication-rich school communities through: