Letters to the Next President 2.0

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Letters to the Next President 2.0 is a reboot of the large scale youth participation project sponsored by the National Writing Project and Google during the 2008 election. In 2008 over 10,000 young people from across 800 schools took up the challenge of identifying, researching, and writing publicly about issues that mattered to them, their families, and their communities. With support from teachers and mentors, the resulting websites, news coverage, and publications brought the voices of young people into the public discourse and invited young people around the country to write letters to the future president about their concerns, hopes, and perspectives. Now in 2016, NWP and KQED are partnering to open up the Letters to the Next President writing and publishing experience to a next generation of young people and the educators who work with them—but this time to do so with the expanded array of tools and technologies young people have at their disposal.

It’s all new. It’s L2P 2.0.

L2P 2.0 invites middle and high school students to choose an issue and create a letter in text, video, audio, code or other multimedia formats. They can then post this letter to a national publishing platform, interact with letters from other learners across the country, and explore diverse viewpoints. The platform also hosts a wealth of resources for teachers with ideas to help students create letters in a variety of formats, as well as links to election-related curriculum and information.

The L2P 2.0 website seeks to empower teens to research, write and make media letters. From immigration policy to the environment, education to health care, young people have a space to share their perspectives with peers and a global community of interested followers. In addition to elevating the level of civic discourse, examining election issues also builds key research and writing skills along with boosting media literacy and critical thinking.

“Letters to the Next President 2.0 has been developed by educators who understand that civic engagement is valuable in its own right,” said Elyse Eidman-Aadahl, executive director of NWP. “When we give students a platform to speak out on issues, we provide them with a powerful and authentic purpose for learning, writing and media making. The initiative provides a wealth of resources and support for educators, in school and beyond, and thanks to the power and reach of digital publishing, it provides the nation with a real-time window to what teens care about.”

To participate in L2P 2.0, educators or adult mentors need to create an account and then invite students to register. The website is currently accepting student submissions until Election Day on Nov. 8. The letters are available to the public now through the next president’s first 100 days of office.

To view the letters or learn more about the project, visit the L2P 2.0 site.

How L2P 2.0 Works

L2P 2.0 starts by supporting teachers and mentors thinking about how to engage their students in the coming election. Throughout the Spring and Summer 2016, L2P 2.0 will gather a wide range of partners to provide resources, host live conversations, and point to technology tools that educators can use with the young people they work with. The L2P 2.0 monthly bulletins, as well as the Letters to the Next President 2.0 website, is the educator’s guide to what is coming up. All are encouraged to participate and we welcome your contributions to the community discussions on social media. You’ll find them through the hashtag #2nextprez.

Then, after the conventions conclude and candidates are chosen, our attention turns to the young people (13–18). What do the young people in our communities want to say to the next President of the United States?

In late July, L2P 2.0 will launch the Letters to the Next President showcase site where young people 13–18 will be invited to publish their writing or multimedia work to share their perspectives on issues and topics most important to them with readers from around the country. This site will be open for publication by youth up until election day, and will remain open to promote and highlight youth voice and work into the inaugural year.

Ways to Participate

A growing list of non-partisan educational partners are committed to providing you with learning opportunities and resources. You are invited to join too. Here’s how:

  • Encourage others to sign up to receive monthly bulletins that will highlight upcoming opportunities and will feature a set of resources;
  • Follow @2nextprez on Twitter and Like the project page on Facebook;
  • Share what you and your students are working on via social media using the hashtag #2nextprez;
  • Connect with colleagues via L2P 2.0-related opportunities and resources.

How to Contribute

L2P 2.0 is an open learning opportunity for young people curated by its hosts and partner organizations. Partners are not selected based on opinions or political standing, and donations will have no influence on the resources, curriculum, or opportunities that are featured.

If your organization is interested in being a partner, contact nextprez@nwp.org.

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