National Writing Project

National LRNG Innovation Challenge Grant Recipients Selected

Teacher-led innovation elevates teaching and focuses on today's learners.

For Immediate Release


Berkeley, CA and Washington, D.C., March 10, 2016 — Community art and media making, coding and STEM, urban planning and design are just a few of the innovative programs proposed by eleven nationally recognized recipients of an LRNG Innovators Challenge Grant from the National Writing Project (NWP). The LRNG Innovators Challenge is an annual program supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and John Legend's Show Me Campaign. This year's competition challenged teacher teams to partner with educators outside of schools to create educational experiences that expand the possibilities for learning in schools.

"Teachers are becoming very savvy at thinking through how they can build on and direct students' interests toward more powerful learning," stated Elyse Eidman-Aadahl, NWP executive director. "They are using technology, partnering with institutions like libraries and museums, and taking advantage of the wealth of open educational resources available on the web. The LRNG Innovators Challenge allows us to invest directly in teachers who can develop promising approaches that can be spread across the country."

One key to this spread is that the LRNG Innovators Challenge has joined with LRNG, powered by Collective Shift. LRNG is a movement that closes the opportunity gap and transforms how young people access and experience learning and the paths they can take to success. Working together with schools, city leaders, businesses and community institutions such as libraries and museums, LRNG is building an ecosystem of learning that combines in-school, out-of-school, employer-based and online learning experiences into a seamless network that is open and inviting to all youth.

Singer/songwriter and LRNG partner John Legend said, "One of the most consistent things we hear from teachers across the nation is that teachers are ready and even eager to lead the way in creating a more powerful and equitable education system. Through LRNG Innovators, I hope to support teachers in identifying and addressing the biggest challenges they face in their classrooms. Our teachers will create our classrooms of the future—we need to lift up their voices and invest in them and their ideas."

Supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Show Me Campaign, and individual donors, the LRNG grantees will develop, pilot, and share promising teacher-powered strategies and solutions to strengthen connected and deeper learning for the widest range of young people. To learn more about LRNG, visit

A full list of grantees is provided below.

2015 LRNG Award Recipients

  • Sitka Story Lab | Island Institute and the Sitka School District, Sitka, AK
  • Greetings from East LA | East Los Angeles Renaissance Academy and Public Matters, East Los Angeles, CA
  • The Word Lab: Young Voices, Big Ideas | Santa Cruz County Office of Education Young Writers Program and the Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History, Santa Cruz, CA
  • Creating with Confidence: Design Thinking for Public Art | Warren Central High School, Herron School of Art and Design, and Arts for Learning, Indianapolis, IN
  • From Classroom To Community Spaces: Cultivating Voices That Matter Through Arts Literacy | TruArtSpeaks, Minnesota Writing Project, and the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN
  • KC Storytellers Project | Greater Kansas City Writing Project and KC Wordshop, Kansas City, MO
  • Bridging Borders: STEM Writing & Girls Tech Camps | Borderlands Writing Project,
    Las Cruces, NM
  • Playable Fashion Educators | Eyebeam and the Academy of Innovative Technology, Brooklyn, NY
  • The Workshop School Productions Project | The Workshop School, PhillyCAM and Scribe Video Center, Philadelphia, PA
  • Uncaged: How Do You Define Freedom? Connected Learning and the Juvenile Justice System | Nashville Public Library and the Woodland Hills Youth Development Center, Nashville, TN
  • Rafting Adventure for Teens (RAFT) | Addison Northwest Supervisory Union and the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum, Vergennes, VT

Through its mission, the National Writing Project (NWP) focuses the knowledge, expertise, and leadership of our nation's educators on sustained efforts to help youth become successful writers and learners. NWP supports a network of local Writing Project sites, located on nearly 200 university and college campuses, to provide high-quality professional development in schools, universities, libraries, museums, and after-school programs. Through its many successful programs and partnerships, the organization reaches 1.4 million Pre-K through college-age students in over 3,000 school districts annually. NWP envisions a future where every person is an accomplished writer, engaged learner, and active participant in a digital, interconnected world.

© 2016 National Writing Project