Innovation Goes Back to School

Teacher-Leaders return to school after summer of high-tech collaboration, connection, and professional learning.

Berkeley, CA, September 30, 2014 — Young people aren't the only ones intrigued by new technologies and how they can make learning engaging and fun. This summer, several thousand teachers worked in face-to-face and online communities to share and learn new ways to teach writing, engage colleagues, and enhance leadership skills through the National Writing Project (NWP). As a result, NWP teacher-leaders arrived at school equipped with new tools, strategies, and ideas gleaned from weeks of learning and collaborating with other teachers, librarians, and community educators participating in the Summer to Make, Play, and Connect. Through this program, they took the first step in joining a nationwide K-university professional network focused on improving the teaching of writing and learning in the digital age.

"NWP teacher-leaders work to help their students to become better writers and learners," said Dr. Elyse Eidman-Aadahl, NWP executive director. "They also develop their own skills and capacities to work with colleagues in larger efforts to improve education and the profession more broadly. It's exciting because new teacher-leaders will work alongside their NWP colleagues to lead professional development, create curriculum, study practices, and work collaboratively across all grades and disciplines."

Funded by the U.S. Department of Education, National Science Foundation, private foundations, and individual donors, the national network of NWP teacher-leaders and "Educator Innovators" will continue to work together throughout the new school year to reimagine learning, develop resources to meet college- and career-ready standards, and make the use of digital technology a central part of teaching writing in today's modern classroom.

Other news impacting teacher engagement and collaboration from NWP:

This October, NWP and its Educator Innovator partners will host activities during Connected Educator Month that will include online opportunities to share work and literacy practices from classrooms nationwide centered around the theme of "Student Agency, Voice, and the Maker Movement." A new grant award in 2014 from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation is providing partial support to the NWP and Educator Innovator; NWP's Digital Is; the YouMedia Learning Labs Network; and the LRNG Innovation Challenge.

Additionally, NWP has been awarded a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation as part of a robust, multi-network effort to support teachers across the country to connect and share promising instructional practices, research, and knowledge as they implement college- and career-ready standards such as the Common Core State Standards.

Serving all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and co-directed by local university faculty and classroom teachers, the NWP network offers teachers the opportunity to study the latest research on teaching writing and share knowledge, expertise, and effective classroom practices with one another.

"We know through research that professional development programs designed and delivered by NWP sites have a positive effect on the writing achievement of students across grade levels, schools, and contexts and we're thrilled we can work, collaborate, and support the learning of thousands of talented teachers this year," concluded Eidman-Aadahl.

To learn more, visit


September 30, 2014

Media Contact

National Writing Project