Oct 13, 2014

A new program at Kennedy High that has community volunteers providing free, one-one-one writing instruction to students is starting Friday.

The highly-touted WriterCoach Connection program recruits and trains community volunteers — including parents, lawyers, university students, retired educators and writers  — to help students on their writing assignments and help them gain confidence in the craft.

The program, which has received support from teachers and the West Contra Costa Unified School District, began its third year at Richmond High last week, as we reported last month. We learned just last week that the start date for the Kennedy High program is Friday.

Fifty-five volunteers are expected to guide Kennedy High 10th graders in the Law Academy and another English class.

Another 100 volunteers are supporting Richmond High teachers and students in the Engineering and Law Academies and English Language Development (ELD) classrooms.

Kathleen Hallam, the writing coach coordinator for Kennedy High, said she is excited about what’s to come given Richmond’s “goldmine of people who want to contribute to their community.”

“As someone who has been coordinating coaching at a number of schools for a long time, I am very impressed with and excited by the enthusiasm and commitment of the volunteers who will be starting up this Friday,” Hallam said.

Hallam also praised Kennedy’s teachers for giving up valuable curriculum time to give their students the one-on-one writing support.

More than 150 trained volunteers, including parents, lawyers, college students, retired educators, writers and other professionals, are expected to devote more than 1,000 hours to Richmond students this year, program officials said.

WriterCoach Connection has served more than 25,000 middle and high school students at 11 East Bay schools since 2001, making it the largest continuing Bay Area program dedicated to school writing support.

For additional information about WriterCoach Connection, visit the organization’s website at www.writercoachconnection.org


  1. Thanks for helping to spread the word about the growth of WriterCoach Connection in Richmond! We have been so pleased with the enthusiastic Richmond volunteers who want to support the young people in their community. After their first coaching days, new coaches have been pleased to report that they have a great time when they’re coaching.

    We could still use a few more coaches at both Richmond schools, and there is one more training scheduled this fall. It’s not too late to join us!

    Thanks again, Mike, for your great reporting of important local news (including WriterCoaching)!
    Karen Larson
    Site Coordinator, Richmond High School
    WriterCoach Connection

    Karen Larson | Oct 17th, 2014
  2. We’re so pleased to have been able to expand our writer-coach program in West Contra Costa County, from El Cerrito High five years ago, then to what is now Korematsu Middle School in El Cerrito, then to Richmond High three years ago, and now to Kennedy High this year. We’ve found that when you scratch in inch below the surface in Richmond, you uncover an incredibly rich and vibrant community.

    The City of Richmond has proven to us to be a highly effective partner in addressing social issues. We were fortunate to collaborate with the City of Richmond to secure the Bloomberg Philanthropies Cities of Service grant that enabled us to bring our writer coaches to Richmond High and Kennedy. Our hats are off to City of Richmond Chief Service Officer Rochelle Monk, City Manager Bill Lindsay, and Mayor Gayle McGlaughlin for their inspiring leadership in advancing writing support for Richmond students.

    Robert Menzimer
    Executive Director
    Community Alliance for Learning

    Robert Menzimer | Oct 18th, 2014
  3. Mike,

    That’s for the nice coverage of the WCC program in Richmond.

    Being a writing coach AND an editor, I wanted to point out that “highly touted” should not be hyphenated (highly and other -ly adverbs) are fine without. Real common error.

    Best, EW

    Elizabeth Whipple | Oct 18th, 2014
  4. I am a serial abuser of hyphenation. Thank you for your kind words!

    Mike Aldax | Oct 19th, 2014

About the Author

Mike Aldax is the editor of the Richmond Standard. He has 13 years of journalism experience, most recently as a reporter for the San Francisco Examiner. He previously held roles as reporter and editor at Bay City News, Napa Valley Register, Garden Island Newspaper in Kaua’i, and the Queens Courier in New York City.