Our last Writing Center has closed, but its values live on.

In June 2019, following deep consideration, WriteBoston made the difficult decision to close our last Writing Center, located at Boston International Newcomers Academy (BINcA).

At their heart, our Writing Centers were designed to respond to students’ need for one-on-one writing support. When our first Writing Center opened in 2007, few services existed in Boston to provide this critical resource. Over 12 years, WriteBoston Writing Centers served 10 Boston Public Schools and thousands of high schoolers. In the last 5 years alone, the Writing Center at BINcA conducted more than 7,000 one-on-one tutorials with students. As school headmaster Tony King said:

“The WriteBoston Writing Center has served as an incredible resource to students and teachers. The power of the tutoring model resulted in students making strides in their writing that would not have been otherwise possible.”

Tony King, Headmaster, Boston International Newcomers Academy

A lot has changed since our first Writing Center opened its doors. The value of 1:1 writing support has become more deeply engrained in the Boston community, and more organizations and services have grown to fill this need.

This growth is incredibly exciting, and we are proud to be part of a larger movement to ensure that every young person in our community has access to programs that allow them to grow as writers, readers, and deep thinkers.

Adapting to the Changing Literacy Landscape

In light of this shift in the nonprofit landscape, WriteBoston has made it a priority to collaborate with other organizations to amplify rather than duplicate services. To this end, over a two-year phase-out, WriteBoston transitioned our one-on-one student writing support at BINcA to 826 Boston, a local branch of a national literacy organization. WriteBoston will continue to serve BINcA, among other public schools, by providing professional development support to teachers.

We will now take the lessons learned from our Writing Centers into our next chapter of work. This closure allows us to reinvests our efforts in WriteBoston’s two core programs—teacher professional development and youth journalism—and has motivated us to explore innovative ways to braid the expertise of these programs more closely together.

New Practices, Enduring Principles

Though we will not open additional Writing Centers, our Teens in Print student journalism program will uphold the program’s values and continue engaging students in one-on-one writing tutorials and mentoring. Moreover, improvements to the Teens in Print program model will ensure that more students receive individualized writing support than ever before in the program’s history.

Writing Center Tutor and Student College Help

This year, Teens in Print will more than double its number of weekly program sessions. Meetings will be held at four locations across Boston, including two public schools. This combination of greater accessibility and a new, incentive-based program model offers a clearer pathway for students to join TiP, take on leadership roles, earn stipends for their writing, and connect to caring adult mentors.

Another service we’re amplifying is college writing support—an initiative we piloted last year in response to the many students who sought our help with their college essays. This year, we’ll embed college prep work into our standing TiP programming and offer 1:1 meetings and group workshops for students grappling with the college application process. These services echo the Writing Center’s philosophy—prioritizing student-driven, process-based, and collaborative 1:1 tutoring—but are not tied to a school building, providing students with broader access to these supports.

Now more than ever, WriteBoston is committed to providing low-barrier opportunities for students to seek one-on-one mentorship and writing support. We look forward to a next chapter of programming and to continuing our mission of building the powerful writing and literacy skills of youth.

Celebrating the Writing Centers’ Successes

Below, we share some of the achievements of our final year tutoring students at BINcA. To learn more about the Writing Center in its final year, read a blog post from Alex Georgiadis, our former Writing Center Coordinator. Before leaving the organization in June to pursue a graduate degree in social work, Alex reflected on the lessons she learned working with the dedicated students, teachers, and tutors of the BINcA Writing Center.

7,264

1:1 Writing Center tutorials were provided to BINcA students in the last five years

10

Boston public high schools have hosted WriteBoston Writing Centers since 2007

374

BINcA students benefited from the Writing Center in the 2018-19 school year