Writing program seeks volunteer coaches

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Writing coaches of Montana has announced that Rita Braun will lead the writing coaches program in Whitefish and Columbia Falls for the 2019-20 school year.

Brian Schott launched the program in Whitefish in 2015 as a project of the The Whitefish Education Foundation, in cooperation with Writing Coaches of Montana. Last year, Schott worked with Jen Robbins to launch the program in Columbia Falls, with a grant from the Steele-Reece Foundation.

Last year the two school districts conducted more than 850 coaching sessions using 105 volunteer coaches. They have a target of 1,100 individual coaching sessions for the 2019–20 school year, and more coaches are needed.

Coaches come from all backgrounds and do not need to have a formal writing background. The most important qualifications are to believe good writing is an essential skill and the ability to engage young people in a positive manner.

“In a world increasingly full of emoji’s and rapid-fire texts, I find writing coaching important work for our youth,” says Braun. “Helping students think critically and then express those thoughts in clear and concise writing helps prepare them for any career or life pursuit.”

Coaches meet with middle school and high school students to help them improve their writing with the goal of helping students become confident, competent writers while calling on their ability to think critically.

Writing coaches work one-on-one with students, coaching them through first and second drafts of writing assignments. Coaching schedules are flexible. Coaches sign up only when they have time and commit to only two class periods at a time.

Professional training will be offered to interested coaches on Monday, Nov. 4, 2019, from 6-8:30 p.m. at Whitefish High School. Community members interested in learning more about the program and to sign up as a volunteer in the Flathead Valley can contact Rita at rita@writingcoachesofmontana.org, call her at 406-314-3751, or visit writingcoachesofmontana.org.

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