National Writing Project

Innovation Goes Back to School

Teachers Spend Summer Making, Connecting, and Learning

For Immediate Release


Berkeley, CA, September 15, 2013 — Young people aren't the only ones intrigued by new technologies and eager to put them to use to make learning more engaging in their classrooms. This summer several thousand teachers worked in face-to-face and online communities to learn new ways to teach writing, engage colleagues, and enhance leadership skills through their participation in the National Writing Project (NWP). Upon returning to the classroom this fall, NWP teacher-leaders arrive equipped with a multitude of tools, strategies, and ideas gleaned from weeks of learning together with other teachers, librarians, and community educators participating in the Summer of Making and Connecting. Through their participation, these educators 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.

Funded by the U.S. Department of Education, National Science Foundation, private foundations, and individual donors, this summer's NWP learning opportunities focused on educators supporting and teaching other educators to learn new ways to teach writing. There was a particular emphasis on reimagining classrooms to support creativity and innovation as part of NWP's new Educator Innovator initiative, launched at the Department of Education's Reimagining Education Summit.

Kevin Hodgson, a middle school teacher from Western Massachusetts and a leader in facilitating Educator Innovator's summer work, said, "Being involved in teaching communities in the summer reminds me that my professional circles of support go beyond my classroom walls and beyond even my school."

Following this summer of activities, the national network of NWP teacher-leaders and "educator innovators" will continue to work together 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 their 21st century classrooms. In October, NWP and range of partners will host Educator Innovator activities during Connected Educator Month that will include online opportunities to share work and literacy practices from classrooms nationwide.

"Every day, NWP teachers support their students to become better writers and learners," said Dr. Sharon J. Washington, NWP Executive Director. "Through professional dedication and innovate practice, these educators will also be better equipped to help colleagues transform learning in their classrooms."

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.

National research studies have shown 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. To learn more, visit


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