Berkeley, CA, June 30, 2020 — The National Writing Project (NWP) has received a $500,000 grant from Panda ExpressⓇ through its philanthropic arm, Panda Cares FoundationⓇ,to establish the PandaⓇ New Teacher Fellowship program. The aim of the Panda New Teacher Fellowship program is to expand the number of early-career elementary teachers committed to the profession, supported and mentored by experienced colleagues at NWP local Writing Project sites, and able to bring leadership to schools in engaging students, families, and communities in literacy learning. The Fellowship especially aims to support new teachers working in high-poverty schools.
“At Panda, we are passionate about great education and how it influences students’ growth in school and contribution in their communities, and teachers play such an important role in shaping the bright young minds of today and future leaders of tomorrow,” says Dr. Peggy Cherng, Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Panda Express. “We are honored to be partnering with NWP on this initiative that will not only set up students in underserved communities for success but also provide the support and essential resources for early-career teachers to thrive in the classrooms.”
Sustained access to strong communities of practice and effective teacher networks can help to improve the capacities of new teachers to support children’s literacy learning and build strong supportive relationships among schools, communities, and families. Through a network of diverse local Writing Project sites in seven states, this program will create a networked professional development community for approximately 100 early-career grade k-5 teachers.
"We are very pleased to be able to initiate this important effort across the NWP network with the generous support of Panda Express," said Elyse Eidman-Aadahl, NWP executive director. "This is a vital time to make sure that all teachers get the support they need to best support the families and communities they serve.” The Panda Cares New Teacher Fellowship Program is focused on supporting and retaining early-career teachers and helping them develop as leaders in the profession.