WriteBoston is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit literacy organization that serves students, schools, districts, and educational organizations across Massachusetts.

Through a combination of professional development and youth programming, we elevate the core writing skills of youth in the Commonwealth. Above all, we believe that student voice matters and skillful writing is a gateway to college and career success.

WriteBoston promotes deep learning through writing. We offer training and coaching for teachers, along with writing opportunities for students, built on the premise that powerful thinking and writing are inseparable.

WriteBoston believes that writing is essential to student achievement. We believe all young people can be flexible, thoughtful communicators and problem solvers when writing is embedded in daily learning.

The early years

In 2002, the late Mayor Thomas Menino and faculty at Harvard’s School of Education saw a problem. Low scores on the English portion of the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) suggested that Boston Public School students weren’t writing.

Jake Murray and Rick Weissbourd from the Harvard Children’s Initiative created the initial outline for WriteBoston. Then they hired our first employee: Betty Southwick, who served as Executive Director for 14 years.

In those early years, WriteBoston brought critical attention to youth writing. We coached teachers in three schools, sponsored teen poetry slams, and organized author visits to classrooms. Over time, the depth of our work increased. We launched the Teens in Print newspaper with The Boston Globe. We developed student writing centers in local high schools. Our professional development spread to more schools and districts beyond Boston. We partnered with other youth organizations to improve literacy outside of traditional classrooms.


Nearly two decades later, WriteBoston has developed an effective coaching model, published thousands of young people, and provided direct writing support to thousands more. Today, we provide high-quality professional development and coaching to educators across Massachusetts. We engage Boston students in our after-school and summer journalism programs and publish their work for a wide audience. And we maintain our core belief: that student voice matters, and skillful writing is a gateway to college and career success.

Fostering student success by focusing on a core skill: writing.

Over 5,000 teachers and students strengthened their skills with WriteBoston last year.
Read about our impact.