National Writing Project

Collaboration in Afterschool = Engagement in Learning

Briefing Explores How Afterschool and Community Partnerships Support Student Success

For Immediate Release


Berkeley, CA, September 19, 2012 — Afterschool programs can play a vital role in connecting schools and communities while preparing youth for success. They do this by helping schools move beyond the constraints of the traditional schoolday and embracing the surrounding community and capitalizing on the resources, assets, and perspectives of organizations and individuals outside the school.

Preparing youth for success in tomorrow's workforce is important not only to our nation's schools, but also to communities, policymakers, and businesses. Afterschool programs, which keep kids safe, help working families, and inspire learning, do a tremendous amount to help young people develop the skills needed for the 21st century workplace.

On Capitol Hill today, a panel of education experts and corporate leaders gathered to discuss how to create and maintain successful partnerships that improve student engagement in learning. The congressional briefing sponsored by the Senate Afterschool Caucus, and held in conjunction with the Afterschool Alliance featured remarks from: Dr. Sharon J. Washington, Executive Director, National Writing Project; Dr. Diane Waff, Director, Philadelphia Writing Project, Pennsylvania; Jen Rinehart, Vice President, Policy and Research, Afterschool Alliance; Elizabeth Colby, Afterschool Director, Newfound Area School District, New Hampshire; Patricia Rodgers, Youth Advocate, Bristol, New Hampshire; and Regina Schofield, Director, Corporate Engagement & Education Outreach, Battelle.

All of today's speakers highlighted that quality programs for young people beyond the school day that involve strong partnerships between schools, community-based organizations, and corporations help young people master 21st century skills, give them positive educational experiences, and prepare them for college and careers.

Sharon Washington, Executive Director of National Writing Project, added, "Local Writing Project sites represent the kind of organization that stands ready to work with young people in the afterschool and summer learning arenas. All across the country, local Writing Projects provide a range of programs for young writers and media makers, particularly during the summer months."


The National Writing Project (NWP) is a nationwide network of educators working together to improve the teaching of writing in the nation’s schools and in other settings. NWP provides high-quality professional development programs to teachers in a variety of disciplines and at all levels, from early childhood through university. Through its nearly 200 university-based sites serving all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, the National Writing Project develops the leadership, programs, and research needed for teachers to help students become successful writers and learners. For more information, visit