National Writing Project

Letters to the Next President: The Video Campaign Encourages Teen Filmmakers to Address Obama Administration

Pearson Foundation and National Writing Project Launch New Project

For Immediate Release


Berkeley, CA, February 3, 2009Letters to the Next President: The Video Campaign, sponsored by the Pearson Foundation and the National Writing Project (NWP), encourages filmmakers ages 13–18, with the support of their teachers, to voice their points of view by creating and sharing digital videos about the issues they want President Obama and his new administration to address.

The video campaign extends the popular Letters to the Next President letter-writing campaign launched in 2008 by NWP and Google Docs, which engaged over 6,500 high school and middle school students across the United States, as well as the hundreds of teachers and mentors who guided them. Students identified topics that reflected their specific personal, regional, and age-related interests, and with the help of Google Docs published their work online for their peers, parents, and the public on the Letters to the Next President: Writing Our Future website:

The new initiative is open to all young people whose teachers register their class to participate. Full registration and publication guidelines can be found at In early April, participating teachers will be able to upload their students’ videos and publish them for the global community. The complete collection of student work will be posted at and

In conjunction with Letters to the Next President: The Video Campaign, the Pearson Foundation announced that NWP has joined the Digital Arts Alliance, a consortium that promotes digital arts K–12 education through fully funded and staffed programs delivered directly to schools and community centers nationwide. As part of this collaboration, the two organizations have launched Profiles in Practice: Digital Storytelling, a website focused on the experiences of leading teacher-consultants in the NWP network who use digital storytelling to approach literacy and 21st century learning. The Pearson Foundation is the founding partner in the Digital Arts Alliance, and part of Pearson, the international education and information company. 

“In extending this program, in partnership with the Pearson Foundation, we hope to capitalize on the interest of teachers and students who have already participated in the Letters to the Next President campaign,” said Dr. Sharon J. Washington, executive director of NWP. “Students who take part in the video campaign have the chance to explore letters written by their peers and to use these documents to spark their continued reflection on the important issues facing the United States. In the process, they will come to see the benefit of strong writing skills—and the relation of these skills to new modes of multimedia production.”

Mark Nieker, president of the Pearson Foundation, added, “The Digital Arts Alliance encourages teachers to invite their students to share their ideas in the classroom using the digital and mobile technologies students make use of every day. Letters to the Next President: The Video Campaign recognizes that digital video has become a key method of discourse on important issues of our time. Programs like this make a connection between the desire among young people to express themselves and the persuasive writing skills necessary to craft a compelling argument.”


About the Pearson Foundation
The Pearson Foundation extends Pearson’s (NYSE: PSO) commitment to education by partnering with leading nonprofit, civic, and business organizations to provide financial, organizational, and publishing assistance across the globe. The Foundation aims to make a difference by sponsoring innovative educational programs and extending its educational expertise to help in classrooms and in local communities. More information on the Pearson Foundation can be found at

About the National Writing Project
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

About the Digital Arts Alliance
Each year, the Digital Arts Alliance makes it possible for more than 15,000 students and their teachers to experience firsthand how laptop computers, video production equipment, and the latest mobile-phone technologies are changing the ways young people can organize, present, and share information and issues that matter to them. Alliance members believe that using technologies to enhance personal expression creates an expanded kind of literacy, often referred to as 21st century literacy, which people—especially young people—already use in their everyday lives.

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