Central Catholic High School is one of fourteen schools across the nation to be awarded an LRNG Innovation Challenge Grant from the National Writing Project (NWP) to develop, pilot, and share promising strategies to strengthen connected and deeper learning. The LRNG Innovation Challenge is a new program sponsored in partnership with the MacArthur Foundation and John Legend’s Show Me Campaign.

Central Catholic High School Engineering teacher, Dr. Michelle Parker, received a $25,000 Innovation Challenge Grant from the National Writing Project (NWP) to expand learning time and space and establish a regional micro-network focused on science, engineering, design, and communications. This program will give students the opportunity to envision and develop software applications and physical products for people with disabilities. They will then engage in the design process inherent in engineering during a “hack-a-thon,” then test their product in the marketplace.

“The overall aim is to create an attitude of empathy, excitement, and passionate learning. Where science, engineering, creativity, and caring intersect” stated Parker.

Central Catholic will act as project host working along with neighbors Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh. Also, participating is a local tech company with an interactive Story Adventure for students and teachers from the Clairton School District, The Ellis School, The Environmental Charter School, Faulk School, Oakland Catholic High School, and the Pittsburgh Public School System’s SCITech.

Additionally, Dr. Parker has been asked to present the MacArthur foundation proposal at the National Writing Project annual meeting in Washington, DC on Friday March 27, 2015.

Dr. Parker said, “It is an honor to represent the school and showcase the magnificence of our teachers and the administration which support us. Central Catholic provides an ethos which facilitates critical thinking, inquiry, creativity and engagement.”

LRNG is a new initiative that invests in forward-looking schools and teachers to design innovative projects that take advantage of new technology to support students’ creativity.

“The LRNG partners were impressed by Central Catholic High School because of their teacher-led commitment to ensuring that young people become the problem solvers of the future”, stated NWP executive director, Elyse Eidman-Aadahl. “We are pleased to support their innovation and sharing their story with schools across the country.”

Funded by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Show Me Campaign, and individual donors, the LRNG grantees will develop, pilot and share promising teacher-powered strategies and solutions to strengthen connected and deeper learning for the widest range of young people. To learn more about LRNG and the grantees, visit here.

Through its mission, the National Writing Project focuses the knowledge, expertise, and leadership of our nation’s educators on sustained efforts to improve writing and learning. Writing in its many forms is the signature means of communication in the 21st century. The NWP envisions a future where every person is an accomplished writer, engaged learner, and active participant in a digital, interconnected world. Located on nearly 200 university and college campuses, NWP works in partnership with K-12 schools, libraries, museums, after-school programs, and local Writing Project sites to provide high-quality, sustained professional development for 100,000 teachers a year. Through its many successful programs and partnerships, the organization reaches 1.4 million Pre-K through college-age students in over 3,000 schools districts annually.