National Writing Project

National Writing Project Receives MacArthur Grant

Grant Will Support New "Digital Is" Technology Program

For Immediate Release


Berkeley, CA, February 3, 2009—The National Writing Project (NWP), a professional development network that serves teachers of writing at all grade levels and in all subjects, is the recipient of a $300,000 grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, as part of the foundation’s digital media and learning initiative.

The grant will help support NWP’s program, “Digital Is,” a national effort to create and disseminate resources and learning opportunities for teachers as they develop effective practices for teaching writing and new media literacies.  As part of the year-long grant, NWP will also connect with other national organizations working to support young people in using new digital technologies.

“Today’s young people are using a range of digital tools to compose and create in utterly new ways,” said Sharon J. Washington, executive director of the National Writing Project. “It is a game-changing moment for teachers of writing. The very notion of what it means to write is shifting, and educators are faced with adapting their teaching practices to integrate new technologies while redefining writing and learning for the 21st century. We are honored that the MacArthur Foundation is supporting our efforts in this exciting area.”

The nearly 200 sites that make up the National Writing Project network are hosted by universities and colleges across the country. In addition to developing a leadership cadre of local teachers through invitational summer institutes, NWP sites design and deliver customized professional development programs for local schools, districts, and higher education institutions.

Since the early 1990s, NWP teacher-leaders have been at the forefront of exploring the implications of new digital tools for the teaching of writing. Through “Digital Is,” the NWP aims to create a hub for a broad range of teacher communities to access resources and knowledge for the growing field of digital writing.


The National Writing Project is the most significant coordinated effort to improve writing in America. NWP sites, located on more than 200 university and college campuses, serve over 135,000 participants annually.  NWP continues to add new sites each year with the goal of placing the writing project within reach of every teacher in America.  Through its professional development model, NWP develops the leadership, programs, and research needed for teachers to help students become successful writers and learners. For more information, visit

The MacArthur Foundation supports creative people and effective institutions committed to building a more just, verdant, and peaceful world. In addition to selecting the MacArthur Fellows, the Foundation works to defend human rights, advance global conservation and security, make cities better places, and understand how technology is affecting children and society. MacArthur's $50-million digital media and learning initiative seeks to gain a better understanding of how digital technologies are changing how young people learn, play, socialize, exercise judgment, and engage in civic life. More information is available at or