Writers’ Room Program
A dedicated classroom within a Boston Public School building, the 826 Boston Writers' Room Program can catalyze a culture of creativity and writing for an entire school.Photo by Gretjen Helene Photography
Each 826 Boston Writers’ Room delivers long-term, meaningful change in the lives of students, serving students during and after the school day with individualized attention that improves writing skills and provides a space for creative self-expression. With a focus on publishing, improving writing skills, and project-based learning, the Writers’ Room uses trained volunteer tutors and full-time dedicated staff to unlock students’ full potential. Over the course of a school year, the Writers’ Room will serve every student in the school through whole-class visits, individual writing assistance, and/or after-school extracurricular activities. In 2013, 826 Boston opened its first Writers’ Room, a fully-staffed program modeled on the university writing center and embedded within a public school, at the John D. O’Bryant School of Math and Science. Since then, 826 Boston has opened four additional Writers’ Rooms at Boston Public Schools with offerings such as tutoring and mentoring, writing support, clubs and activities, and publishing projects.
826 Boston plans to open at least one additional Writers’ Room in a partner Boston Public School each year from 2017 through 2021. To find out more about hosting a Writers’ Room, please contact us.
Located at the John D. O’Bryant School of Math and Science and lead by Coordinator Heather Nelson, 826 Boston’s Writers’ Room is a collaborative project with Northeastern University’s Writing Program. With Northeastern’s help, the Writers’ Room provides classroom support for writing assignments throughout the school day, in addition to holding after-school activities and clubs ranging from a slam poetry team to a student-run literary journal, Rubix.
826 Boston opened its second Writers’ Room in September of 2016 at the Jeremiah E. Burke High School in Dorchester and is led by Coordinator Gabriella Balza. Support from the Calderwood Writing Initiative, the Boston Globe Foundation, Clipper Ship Foundation, Liberty Mutual Education Initiative, the Ludcke Foundation, State Street Foundation, and the Wellington Management Foundation made this project possible. In addition to whole-class visits and drop-in writing assistance, the Writers’ Room at the Burke has offered extracurricular activities such as a slam poetry team.
The 826 Boston Writers’ Room at the Boston Teachers Union (BTU) School launched in September 2017 and is led by Coordinator Isata Jalloh and supported by Massachusetts Service Alliance Commonwealth Corps member Matt Loreti. The BTU was the first 826 Boston Writers’ Room in an elementary/middle school, which allows 826 Boston to work with about 300 students per year at an earlier stage to inspire creativity, improve writing skills, and support teachers in their important work. In 2018-2019, students from the BTU Writers’ Room were featured speakers at a local poetry event at Haley House and at 826 Boston’s Books for Breakfast fundraiser.
826 Boston opened its fourth Writers’ Room and the first at a school serving the needs of a predominantly English Language Learner population at Boston International Newcomers Academy in September 2018. Having partnered with the school and the entire graduating class of BINcA in 2017-2018 on the publication, Like the Sun in Dark Spaces, 826 Boston is thrilled to be able to continue serving this incredible community. Every student at Boston International Newcomers Academy (BINcA) in Dorchester arrived in this country within the past four years. Coordinator Richie Wheelock, supported by Massachusetts Service Alliance Commonwealth Corps member Durane West are dedicated to cultivating community with teachers and students at Boston International Newcomers Academy.
The Blanca Burgos 826 Boston Writers’ Room at the Rafael Hernández School in Roxbury is our most recent addition to our family of programs in Boston Public Schools and our first Writers’ Room in a dual-language school. Named for Blanca Burgos, a talented writer and beloved educator in the Hernández community who passed in Spring 2018, the room is led by Alison Kronstadt. The Rafael Hernández School hosts a student population consisting of 62% English Language Learners who participate in a curriculum that is taught in both English and Spanish.