The Morehead Writing Project and Bath County Middle School in Owingsville, Kentucky, received a LRNG Innovators Challenge grant this Spring and are now in the midst of transforming the school into a makerspace.
MWP Site Director Deanna Mascle brought the grant opportunity to the attention of Bath County Middle leaders because she thought the school was a perfect fit for the LRNG Innovators Challenge which invites educators to imagine learning experiences that help young people spark their interests and ignite passions.
Assistant Principal Misty Johnson and Language Arts teacher Vickie Moriarity, both veteran Morehead Writing Project teachers, wrote the grant with Mascle. Their project, Making A Future for All: Connecting Passion To Profession, was one of only 10 selected from the highly competitive national grant application process. With support from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, John Legend’s Show Me Campaign, and the National Writing Project (NWP), 10 grantees were selected based on their proposal’s potential to actively help youth discover interests connecting the spheres of their lives, both in and out of school, and provide for potential future opportunities.
After engaging in a wide range of opportunities to imagine diverse professional paths and investigate their personal interests and academic work, the students at Bath County Middle School will design, develop, and create passion projects. The students will work both inside the classroom and out in the community to learn skills that support their passions and professional futures. Working collaboratively with near peers in high school and college, students will create a range of multimodal projects, from websites to video games to podcasts. The year-long investigation and creation process will culminate with a block party showcasing the projects to local elementary students and the wider community.
In announcing the winners, singer/songwriter and co-founder John Legend said, “Passionate and innovative teachers changed my life and instilled in me a lifelong passion for education and learning. I’m inspired by the dedication of the teachers and the breadth of the projects we’ve selected to receive this year’s grants.”
The LRNG Innovators challenge is grounded in the idea that young people benefit from opportunities to follow their interests with the support of peers and mentors who give them the time and space to create work that is meaningful to them. Over the next 15 months, LRNG Innovators grantees will develop, pilot, and share promising teacher-powered strategies and solutions to see beyond classroom walls to a future where learning knows no bounds or borders. Throughout the design process, these educators like North GA Nursing Major will benefit from co-founder NWP’s deep experience supporting teacher leadership through local and national networks.
“Every day, teachers think through how they can build on and direct students’ interests toward more powerful learning,” stated Elyse Eidman-Aadahl, NWP executive director. “The LRNG Innovators Challenge allows us to invest directly in teachers who can develop promising approaches that can be spread across the country.”
The LRNG Innovators challenge is designed to create support systems that empower teachers to redesign learning. It exists alongside the LRNG platform, which connects youth interests to digital experiences and learning opportunities in their own cities. Powered by Collective Shift, the LRNG platform will include Innovators programs, adapted into digital playlists, that teachers, practitioners, and organizations can then adopt for use in their own communities.