Our 2020 Annual Report

July 1, 2019 to June 30, 2020

Writing is versatility.

From planning and drafting to publication, writing makes things happen. An op-ed can advocate for change and hold those in power accountable. A personal essay can lead to self-reflection and build connections between peers. Writing helps us develop critical thinking skills, process our own experiences, and build empathy across distance.

WriteBoston exists to help young people tap into their communication skills. We work with students and educators to ensure that the next generation has the communication skills they need to build the futures they want.

In the past year, WriteBoston programming has impacted...


students, through after-school and summer programming, workshops, college readiness support, and publication


educators, including teachers, teacher leaders and school coaches, school partners, and school support staff


students, indirectly reached through the ripple effects of programming

A smiling student holding the Teens in Print newspaper with their story featured on the cover
Writing is advocacy.

Teens in Print is our citywide youth journalism program.

Our after-school program and summer journalism institute teach students communication skills through a journalistic lens. Students craft writing and multimedia content about topics that they’re passionate about and learn to be responsible consumers of mass media. Through the power of publication, students can share their ideas and experiences, join the public discourse around community- and nation-wide issues, and build a portfolio of work that prepares them for college and career opportunities.

This year, for the first time ever, we offered student writers stipends for their participation in the after-school program. By paying our journalists, we make Teens in Print accessible to more students and reward our writers for their hard work. We also continued to build Teens in Print’s reach through classroom workshops, a new February vacation event focused on resumes and interviewing, and one-on-one college essay mentorship for teens.


articles published, including COVID-19 perspective pieces


of students felt more prepared for future jobs


of students learned skills that would help them in school

Explore student and alumni perspectives.

Click the image to read more.

How did Teens in Print respond to COVID-19?

Click through the tabs to learn more.

When students were sent home in March, Teens in Print continued its after-school programming online. Students met virtually with writing mentors and continued to work on articles for the newspaper. At the same time, we wanted to give students a space to discuss the pandemic as it unfolded. Many students chose to write additional perspective pieces during this time, describing the impact of COVID-19 on their lives in a series of short-form pieces. Click here to explore the perspective series.

Teens in Print’s spring programming set the roadmap for our first virtual Summer Journalism Institute. The program was designed to retain a safe, collaborative environment for students in an online space. The six-week paid experience employed a modular format; students chose to explore different writing and multimedia genres each week. For the 2020-21 school year, we’ll continue to adapt this model for our after-school program, which will be held virtually until it’s safe for us to gather in the newsroom.

smiling student

Making a college decision during quarantine creates a unique sense of stress

By Malia McClerklin, published March 27, 2020

As a senior in high school, these weeks of quarantine are happening at a very inconvenient time in my life. In my head, I had the idea that after receiving all of my college acceptance letters, I would revisit each campus to get another feel for the school before making my final decision. Obviously, that idea is canceled now. But, the college decision letters keep arriving one after the other.

Explore more student perspective pieces
Writing is critical thinking.

Our professional development program offers customized support for educators. 

Teachers matter more than any other school-based factor for student success, and we believe that by working with educators and school leaders, we can improve the classroom experience for more students. Our coaches are former educators with deep knowledge around instructional practice and teaching literacy. We partner at the classroom, school, and district level to support lasting growth.

This year, 14 schools and organizations partnered with our team across Boston and Gateway City school districts including Chelsea, Everett, and Salem. We also crossed state lines to offer our first ever out-of-state workshop series to teachers in the Burlington, Vermont, public schools.


partner schools and organizations worked with our team this year


of teachers had over 5 years of classroom experience


of educators reported that coaching helped them better serve all their students

Explore teacher perspectives.

Click the image to read more.

How did our professional development program respond to COVID-19?

Click through the tabs to learn more.

When school buildings were shuttered in March and learning went virtual, WriteBoston’s instructional coaching moved online, too. Coaches kept connections with partner schools and offered support from afar. Teachers were asked to reinvent their practice nearly overnight and move their teaching to a virtual context. Since then, we’ve strived to connect educators to helpful tech tools, create opportunities for teachers to practice new methods of virtual instruction, and share success stories from district to district. The coaching team published a weekly newsletter that covered a variety of remote learning topics, from best practices for remote and socioemotional learning to helping students manage their new schedules.

In May, we began planning a summer workshop series that would be free to educators and cover a variety of topics as teachers prepared for an uncertain fall semester. Topics included planning in the midst of uncertainty, building classroom community online, and balancing empathy with high expectations. We plan to continue offering a similar workshop series to Gateway City educators through the 2020-21 school year.

Mike Berger is a third-year computer programming and web development teacher at Madison Park Technical Vocational High School. Below he shares how he has worked with his WriteBoston coach, Kelly.

photo of smiling teacher

My WriteBoston coach, Kelly Knopf-Goldner, has been an amazing mentor throughout my teaching experience. She has encouraged rigor, quality and scaffolding. The first question out of her mouth is always “What is your goal?”

As we switched to online-learning, she emphasized that same thinking. We jointly came to understand that Maslow is correct: until our students have food, shelter and feel safe, they cannot learn. Our first goal must be to make them feel safe and supported. Only once they feel safe and relatively comfortable can they begin to tackle content. 

One thing Kelly helped me put together was a set of learning criteria I would try to measure as the students work online. We hope to measure these attributes to see what actually works and to change my curriculum to fit my student’s needs.

The other amazing thing Kelly did for me was gather and distill the wisdom of other teachers she works with and expert teaching advice from around the country. One of the most important things she told me was that I was not alone: All teachers are having problems with students’ lack of engagement and feedback. Her reassurance allowed me to step back, breathe, and look at the bigger picture.

For 12 weeks, our coaches sent out a weekly “Coaching Connection” newsletter to teachers. They shared tech tips for virtual classrooms, success stories from the field, and anchored everything in “Five Criteria for Online Learning.”

Explore the newsletters
teens in print students
Writing is collaboration.

Our partners challenge us to think strategically, help us extend our impact, and ultimately make us a better organization. In the last year, we’ve collaborated with schools and districts, youth-serving organizations, and companies across Massachusetts to reach more students and educators.

Click through the tabs to read more.

Writing Center Student reading a book
Writing is growth.

What's next for WriteBoston?

This school year has been an immense challenge. It’s made us think creatively, reconsider our values, and recommit to our mission. No matter the format, we’re here to support students and teachers, and we’re learning alongside them to meet their changing needs.

Virtual programming allows us to do new and exciting things—like bring teachers together from across the state, and visit a partner classroom with just one click. It’s likely that some of the changes we’ve made are here to stay, whether we’re back in the classroom this year or next.

The pandemic and growing Black Lives Matter movement have drawn greater attention to the inequities in our schools and cities. We’re committed to centering racial justice and equity in our work with students and teachers, and in our own workplace. WriteBoston’s staff co-wrote a racial justice statement in June where we began interrogating our practices and outlining the steps we need to take to become an anti-racist organization. We’ll continue to update you on our progress and encourage you to hold us accountable.

Our finances

The following charts represent funds raised and used on operating activities during FY20. In addition, WriteBoston has restricted funds for FY21 of $225K and Board designated reserves of $276K.


Contributions & Grants | $610,910 56%
Fee for Service | $226,300 21%
In-Kind | $160,715 15%
Special Events | $90,873 8%


Program Services | $772,135 76%
Fundraising | $146,841 14%
General & Administrative | $103,488 10%

Thanks to our community, we maintained financial stability in FY20 despite deep uncertainty. After we canceled our annual spring fundraiser, donors stepped up to raise over $90K for programming. WriteBoston received Payroll Protection Program (PPP) loan funds under the CARES act. We expect that the funds will be fully forgiven by the Small Business Administration in FY21. We continue to practice careful oversight and stewardship of our financial resources and the gifts of our community.

Thank you!

Thank you to our community of students, educators, partners, and supporters.

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