In 2002, a group of teachers and administrators saw an opportunity to bring a new focus to writing in the Oakland Unified School District. Over eight years, they leveraged state receivership into an opportunity to introduce an interwoven system of assessments and professional development. Their goal was to increase the breadth and depth of the writing taking place in their schools. Teachers and professional developers alike reported growing in their practice as a result of going through this process. However, there were also some serious challenges to the work as organizers struggled to get buy-in at all levels of the system. The following report describes the roots and underlying beliefs of this work, the project that evolved out of these early beginnings, the writing assessment that was created, and the professional development that supported the work. In closing, the report examines both the challenges and the outcomes of the work.