The new decade is here . . . and we're feeling sentimental.

We’re diving headfirst into 2020, but not without a backward glance at the past year. 2019 was full of opportunity, growth, and new milestones for WriteBoston, and we want to share them with you one more time.

1. Our student-led podcast aired for the first time.

Entirely planned and produced by our Teens in Print student editors, The After School podcast premiered on December 18, 2019. Here’s what student editor Nathan has to say on the project: “The After School is our hilariously informative podcast discussing news issues and ideas that are relevant to today’s youth. This first episode features stories from our school lives, news updates, and a discussion of why we’re at Teens in Print and why other teens should join us.”

Listen to the first episode, “Feels,” here.

2. Our Professional Development team successfully completed a 3-year partnership with Chelsea middle schools.

Chelsea teacher Roxy standing in library

WriteBoston instructional coaches entered the Chelsea public middle schools three years ago to strengthen literacy instruction alongside teachers, literacy coaches, and school leadership across the district.

After strategy-based workshops, “coach the coach” sessions, and thought-partnering with leadership, we closed out the collaboration in June with strong structures in place for Chelsea to continue the work we embarked on together.

Here’s what educators in Chelsea had to say about the partnership:

“The professional development we have received from [WriteBoston] over the years has been a game changer for our literacy department . . . we have maximized the learning minutes in all classrooms—students spend more time reading, writing, and discussing complex texts.”

“[My WriteBoston coach] and I share a core belief that students have great intellectual and reflective abilities when pushed to use them. She encouraged me to bring more meta-awareness of group dynamics to the lessons, with students being the observers and interpreters of their own data. This small suggestion totally shifted the way we approached our final discussions.”

“[Our WriteBoston coach] understands the many different phases of an educator’s journey, which has enabled me to provide better support for my teachers, whether they are in their first year or fifteenth year of their career.

3. We celebrated 15 years of Teens in Print. 🎉

students smiling and celebrating their articles

TiP celebrated a 15-year anniversary at Bella Luna Restaurant, bringing former and current TiPsters together to talk about the staying power of the skills they learned in the program. An alumna of TiP’s class of 2004 said, “Teens in Print put me in this new setting . . . not everyone looked like me or spoke the same languages as me, but we were able to have a conversation . . . and build almost a family. I think that’s important especially right before you go to college.”

4. Sarah was named a HubWeek Change Maker.

HubWeek identified Sarah (our Executive Director) as a Change Maker of 2019! She sat down with Lindsay Gearheart to talk about how WriteBoston makes a difference and what the future looks like for youth literacy in Boston.

Sarah: “Boston’s business and political spheres need more diverse voices. Across all our programming, we aim to propel talented, diverse youth into leadership positions.”

Read the full interview here.

5. TiP published a “Can’t Miss List” of teen-approved winter hotspots.

Our Teens in Print student journalists published a list of teen-friendly winter activities. (Spoiler alert: it includes two chocolate-related destinations.)

Read the full list of teen-approved hotspots here.

6. Prudential's story dispensers featured teen writing.

Prudential Center’s free story dispensers were loaded with their first local stories last year, written by none other than our Teens in Print youth journalists. During the early months of 2019, the teens’ stories were circulated heavily in the dispensers, and passersby who needed a dose of entertainment enjoyed student-written articles about monsoon season in Somalia, the history of the chopstick, and the diversity of students’ lunches.

Read more about the launch here.

7. Student journalist Jacob christened himself the “Lois Lane” of Teens in Print.

Jacob stumbled across our summer journalism program three years ago and has since become a vital part of Teens in Print’s student editorial board. In early 2019, Jacob reflected on his journey with Teens in Print, and we’re proud to report that he’s come even further in the year since. Now a senior at Boston Arts Academy, Jacob still on the TiP e-board and recently helped his fellow students produce a podcast.

Read his reflection here.

8. We premiered our first professional video. (Thank you, CTP.)

Our first organizational video, generously filmed and produced by digital marketing agency CTP Boston, debuted in May. It features current and former Teens in Print student journalists and local educators who have partnered with WriteBoston.

Watch the video here.

9. Powerful writers shared insight at our annual fundraiser.

Boston-based authors Danielle Allen, Joshua Foer, Meredith Goldstein, and Marjan Kamali joined our Pros&Conversation panel to talk about their passions, publications, and hopes for the next generation of writers. The conversation was guided by budding young journalists Tiffany and Jacob, who have pretty impressive publication records themselves. And TiPster Mariella delivered a keynote about the power of writing that we’ll never forget.

Read event highlights here.

10. Our last year at the Writing Center produced astounding results.

Writing Center - Tutor with Student

Our last year of running a Writing Center at Boston International Newcomers Academy was bittersweet, but we couldn’t be prouder of what we accomplished. In 2018-19, volunteers and staff provided 3,051 tutorials to 354 high schoolers, and 90% of writing center regulars (students who attended 3+ times) felt their writing had improved as a result. We’re still at the high school providing instructional support to teachers, and we’ve already redirected our energy from this closure into expanding and fine-tuning our other programs.

Read reflections from a staffer here.

11. Summer journalism students traveled far and wide to feel out future job options.

We embarked on our largest career exploration event ever: 3 days, 10 companies, and tons of career-track options. Students traveled across the city to different host sites and spent the day trying out different professions. Our gracious host companies represented industries from PR and marketing to health and biotech.

Read a recap here.

12. Business cards flew between teens and professionals at a summer networking breakfast.

Teens in our Summer Journalism Institute joined Boston professionals at a speed-networking event this August. Our students made valuable connections with 30 professionals from diverse industries, aided by business cards the teens designed themselves.

View photos of the students in action here.

13. New recruits joined our staff.

Scarlett, Jasmine, Elvis, and Annie headshots

WriteBoston swelled its ranks with four new staff members this year. Each new recruit has brought their passion, energy, and expertise to the table:

  • Scarlett Tannetta, Writing and Instructional Coach
  • Jasmine Heyward, Teens in Print Senior Associate
  • Elvis Alvarado, Commonwealth Corps Youth Program Associate
  • Annie Kelley, Commonwealth Corps Youth Program Associate

Read their bios here.

14. We kicked off the school year with 15 school and nonprofit partners . . .

teacher pointing to a whiteboard and smiling

. . . and crossed state lines to reach teachers in Vermont.

WriteBoston headed back to school this September with 15 school and nonprofit partners. These collaborations allow us to offer literacy services to students and educators across the community. Partners include schools in Boston, Chelsea, Everett, and Salem—and for the first time ever, we crossed state lines to provide professional development to public school teachers in Burlington, Vermont!

15. We remodeled Teens in Print.

Teens in Print isn’t just for students who identify as strong writers, or students with the most flexible after-school schedules. Through our years of experience with students, we’ve found that joining TiP isn’t always easy for teens who have jobs or who don’t feel ready to write for a citywide audience. To make TiP more accessible, we implemented some changes this year: expanded programming time, stipends for regular contributors, and tiered programming levels that work for all student writers, from rookie journalists to seasoned pros. So far, it’s been a success—this cohort of young journalists is the largest and most diverse that TiP has seen in years.

Read up on the new model here.

16. The Power of Good podcast dove into literacy with our Executive Director, Sarah.

Sarah Poulter, WriteBoston’s Executive Director, talked student literacy with Jake Murray on The Power of Good podcast. They explored how WriteBoston’s professional development impacts teachers and school leaders, and marveled at the way our young journalists fearlessly confront tough issues in the Teens in Print newspaper.

Listen to the full episode here.

17. You donated over 100 items to motivate our young writers.

Student smiling with

Writing is hard work! To encourage our young journalists to keep at it, we launched a campaign to collect motivational items for new TiPsters. Our supporters didn’t disappointsince the campaign launched, you’ve sent over 100 in-kind contributions for young writers.

(We’re still collecting items for the second half of the school year: if you’re feeling generous, visit our Amazon wish list to shop for our students!)

19. We tallied our impact . . . and were blown away by how much you helped us achieve.

We counted and calculated, heard stories from the students and teachers we serve, and put it all together in WriteBoston’s 2019 Annual Report. The takeaway? You helped us achieve a great deal. WriteBoston’s programs for students and educators reached over 12,000 young people last school year, and we’re ready to build on those numbers in the years to come.

Explore the impact we’ve made together.

And much, much more.

With your help, we achieved a lot in 2019. Here’s to the new decade, together in this mission.