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Connected Learning research demonstrates that all young people benefit from opportunities to follow their interests alongside the support of peers and mentors who give them the time and space to create work that is meaningful to them. How can educators support, showcase, and celebrate the powerful work that youth create when they have opportunities to explore interests and ideas that are valuable to them and their communities?
LRNG Innovators is launching a new challenge, inviting educators to design ways that youth can share their work with authentic audiences, build real-world connections, and have impact on issues that matter most to them. The challenge seeks proposals for programs, curricula, or projects that connect youth interests to larger networks, mentors, and/or forums where they can share their work and amplify their message.
Some designs that educators have developed include:
- In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, students, schools, and grade levels collaborate to explore news literacy by becoming journalists themselves, publishing their work in places and spaces that are accessible and meaningful to their intended audiences and purposes.
- In Charlottesville, Virginia, teachers work in cross-disciplinary teams across high schools to support students in creating their own memorials while leading dialogues about who gets memorialized and why in the midst of national conversations about monuments and white supremacist violence in their own community.
- In Bastrop, Texas, early elementary teachers work together across a district to support young writers in expressing themselves authentically and share their work with their families and then in public spaces, including an outdoor gazebo, an website, and the public library.
- In New York City, New York, middle school students are supported in their academic work through a youth participatory research process to learn more about and take action around issues in their school and community that they deeply care about.
- In St. Louis, Missouri, school and community storytelling partnerships support youth to create together and build community across historically entrenched racial and class divides.
The possibilities are endless.
Proposals should be led by teams of PreK-12 teachers, and will benefit from collaboration between other educators and community leaders who work with youth in learning-centered institutions like museums, libraries, and afterschool programs. LRNG Innovators Challenge grants are $20,000 each; grants cannot be awarded to individuals, for-profit companies, or organizations not based in the United States.
Important dates for the LRNG Innovators Challenge 2019 include:
- Applications due: March 13, 2019 11:59 p.m. PT
- Awards announced: May 1, 2019
- Period of performance: June 1, 2019 through August 31, 2020
- Final report due: September 30, 2020