Our partners have transformed their approach to student literacy and writing. Since 2002, we have partnered with more than 30 schools, districts, and nonprofit organizations—ultimately reaching over 15,000 students and educators. Download the full list of WriteBoston’s historical partnerships.

Boston Community Leadership Academy

Partnership: 2002 – 2015

At Boston Community Leadership Academy (BCLA), teachers and administrators alike credit WriteBoston with helping to transform the school’s approach to professional development.

Kelly Knopf-Goldner, a WriteBoston coach, works on-site with teachers two days a week. BCLA educators say that Ms. Knopf-Goldner, or “Ms. K-G” as she is affectionately known, has brought coherence and focus to teachers’ professional growth and classroom instruction.

Said Headmaster Brett Dickens, “Before WriteBoston, I always found professional development to be discouraging for teachers – too many presenters with no credibility and no follow-up. Now, with Kelly, the professional development is institutionalized, planned, teacher-driven, and sustained.”

Download the full school profile (PDF)

Chelsea Public Schools

Partnership: 2015 – present

“How do we build capacity to support all of our students in grappling with complex reading and writing?  What does this look like at every level of a school district: for teachers, coaches, and administrators?”

After six months with a WriteBoston coach supporting teachers at Wright Academy, the Chelsea Public Schools decided to think bigger. Why not transform literacy instruction across Chelsea’s three middle schools, so that every student has access to aligned and strong instruction?

District leaders knew it couldn’t happen overnight. More than that, transformation would require understanding and buy-in at every level: students, teachers, coaches, administrators, and district leaders.

Together, the Chelsea Public Schools and WriteBoston designed a three-year plan to support:

  • Teachers: In all three middle schools, English Language Arts and ELL teachers receive weekly coaching support from a WriteBoston coach and trainings focused on specific strategies for giving students greater access to complex text and ideas. The WriteBoston coach supports whatever stage of development teachers find themselves, with a focus on helping them implement purposeful strategies that deepen student learning.
  • Coaches: WriteBoston coaching occurs in tandem with the work of the Chelsea coaches in each school building, providing authentic modeling and a welcome sounding board for the complex work of coaching. In recognition of the complexity of classroom coaching and often dearth of training for coaches, Chelsea coaches also participate in a WriteBoston workshop series on coaching focused on problems of practice, content area expertise, and the tools of the trade—for example, structuring effective meetings and managing difficult conversations.
  • Principals and District Leaders: Quarterly professional development helps leaders align their evaluations with the coaching work. Monthly “step back” meetings with the WriteBoston and Chelsea coaches, regular co-observation, and “learning walks” provide opportunities for productive reflection, alignment, and ultimately, improvement in student learning.

Initial feedback has been excellent. As one district coach wrote: “When I heard we had another trainer this year, I was less than thrilled. However, this is one training (and trainer) I actually learned from and walked away with immediate action steps, plans, ideas and resources to test out literally the next day. I look forward to more.”

Download the full partnership profile. (PDF)

City Year Boston

Partnership: 2015 – present

“What literacy tools, strategies, and knowledge do City Year corps members need to support school communities and impact the students they serve?”

Nearly 200 City Year corps members work in 20+ Boston Public schools — reaching over 1,000 students each year. Corps members, young and passionate, often have little prior experience in urban education. To help them navigate their complex work in schools, City Year provides ongoing, targeted training to every corps member. When literacy was identified as a central area of need, City Year Boston called WriteBoston’s Director of Programming and Training, Jessie Gerson.

Together, WriteBoston and City Year developed a series of workshops based on 1) core literacy practices and 2) feedback from Corps members on mission-critical areas. This has grown into a robust training curriculum focused on topics ranging from relationship building and classroom management to one-on-one conferring strategies that push student thinking.

Support doesn’t ended with workshops, however. To help corps members as they try out strategies in their own schools, WriteBoston conducts observations at school sites, hosts office hours for corps members, and provides thought partnering with City Year leadership.

Feedback from Corps Members has been glowing. Over nine training sessions, more than 99% of the over 130 responding volunteers rated the trainings as “excellent” or “good,” with a vast majority – four-fifths – giving the highest rating, “excellent.”

One corps member said, “I’m walking away from this feeling reinvigorated and inspired to do better for my students.”

Read more about the partnership.

Five District Partnership

Partnership: 2015 – present

“What does good “grade-level” writing look like? How do we assess it, and how does that assessment guide instruction? How do we scale and align great instruction happening in one classroom to multiple classrooms, schools, and districts?”

The Five District Partnership is an innovative joint education effort among the districts of Chelsea, Everett, Malden, Revere, and Winthrop to improve instruction and academic achievement. Born after research showed a high rate of mobility among students within the five districts, the collaborative has already made incredible progress.

WriteBoston’s relationship with the Five District Partnership (5DP) started small–with a series of summer workshops for teachers–but quickly expanded. To meet areas of critical need in literacy, the innovative collaborative is taking on some big questions:

  • What are our expectations for sophisticated, academic, grade-level writing, and how do we ensure that these expectations are aligned across classrooms, schools, and districts?
  • How do we meaningfully assess student writing and use those assessments to guide our instruction?
  • How do we help teachers, coaches, and administrators develop a toolkit of knowledge and strategies that allow them to respond powerfully and thoughtfully to student need?

With these guiding questions, WriteBoston and the 5DP have launched a two-year project to design, pilot, and bring to scale argument-based writing assessments in middle schools across all five districts.

Funded by the Cummings Foundation, this project will impact an estimated 10,000 students. The work is spearheaded by a WriteBoston facilitator and a working group of coaches and teacher leaders from across five districts, who will continue to shepherd this important work after the end of the two-year partnership.

Cove Davis, the 5DP’s Executive Administrator for Curriculum and Development, said of the partnership: “WriteBoston has been one of our key professional development partners. Facilitators from WriteBoston are dynamic, experienced, and responsive to the needs of teachers. We look forward to collaborating with WriteBoston in the future.”

Greater Lawrence Technical School

Partnership: 2011 – 2014

Teachers at Greater Lawrence Technical School admit that they were somewhat skeptical at first about working with a WriteBoston coach. Many of them recalled frustrating past experiences with “expert consultants,” whose support was not tailored to their needs and rarely resulted in any meaningful change in their teaching practices. When Rebecca Steinitz began working with the faculty in the fall of 2011, she knew she had to deliver professional development that was relevant, customized, and actionable.

Two years later, teachers and administrators alike report that their work with WriteBoston has had a profound impact on teaching practice and on the overall culture of the school. Student writing has grown dramatically, in terms of both volume and quality. Teachers now hold students to high expectations for literacy, writing, and critical thinking, not only in English classes but increasingly in other academic subjects and in vocational classes as well.

Download the full school profile (PDF)