Members of the Richmond community gathered on Wednesday for a ribbon-cutting ceremony at RHS to honor the commitment made by 77 volunteer coaches, Richmond High School teachers and administration, and the West Contra Costa school district to improving crucial communication skills needed for success in school, career, and life.
Richmond Mayor Gayle McLaughlin, school superintendent Dr. Bruce Harter, and Richmond High Principal Julio Franco were joined in comments with Terri Waller, District Director, Office of Senator Loni Hancock; Damian Alarcon, Field Representative/Constituent Services, Office of Congressman George Miller; and Tom Waller, Richmond Chamber of Commerce. Richmond High School Assistant Principal Kibby Kleiman and WCCUSD Board Member Antonio Medrano also attended the event.
Executive Director Robert Menzimer and Richmond Volunteer Coordinator Shelli Fried were joined by WriterCoach Connection founder Mary Lee Cole, several members of the Community Alliance for Learning board and advisory board, and many WCC coaches from Richmond, El Cerrito, and other locations. Richmond Site Coordinator Karen Larson attended in spirit, as she and a dozen coaches were busy coaching during the celebration!
At Richmond High, trained coaches are serving 156 ELD Level 4 students in 5 classes, grades 9-12. Each student in full attendance will receive 14-16 individual coaching sessions.
Bob Menzimer shares a key insight about this proven program: “By bringing community volunteers into the schools as trained writer coaches, we widen the perspectives of both coaches and students. Volunteers experience the reality of contemporary public education and the positive impact they can have on it. Students feel the benefit of positive adult feedback and gain a deeper understanding of community. Both students and volunteers benefit from a cross-generational exchange of ideas and experience.”
Superintendent Harter says: “WriterCoach Connection works. Student writing achievement goes up, teachers get much-needed relief with the extra individual attention to students, community members bond with their schools as they walk the hallways with their students and sit with them to help develop more effective writing and deeper critical thinking. Everyone wins, and we need more of it.”
Many thanks to the Richmond Chamber of Commerce for sponsoring the event today and for their critical support as we opened the volunteer opportunity to caring community members who are now coaching RHS students.