826 National

An Effective Practice


826 National is a non-profit organization focused on student writing, tutoring, and publishing. It is based in San Francisco, California with eight regional chapters in New York, Los Angeles, Ann Arbor, Chicago, Seattle, Boston, and Washington, DC.

826 National provides free volunteer-supported after-school tutoring programs five days a week, and caters to students of all skill levels. Student publishing opportunities exist through the creation of student newspapers, books, and magazines. In addition, each chapter partners annually with a teacher and students from a low-income school to produce a professionally made, student-created book. Writing seminar and workshop field trips are held four days a week in 826 chapter locations, and all culminate with the student creating an original piece of work. In-school programs are focused on sending tutors into the classroom to offer one-on-one help with school projects, homework, or essays. The organization also provides teacher support and support services for students for whom English is a second language.

The organization utilizes project-based learning, a teaching model which focuses on developing programs that culminate in a finished project such as a book, film, or newspaper. This encourages collaboration between students, instructors and peers, fosters creative decision-making, and promotes ownership over the learning process. Project-based learning also places great emphasis in having the student participate in projects that they are truly interested in, resulting in an experience that they take pride in and that is meaningful to them.

Goal / Mission

The goal of 826 National is to help students (ages six to eighteen) develop their writing skills and help teachers to get their classes excited about writing.

Results / Accomplishments

In 2009-2010, 826 National served 23,942 students and 591 teachers, and was supported by 4,741 volunteers. According to the 826 National website, all (100%) teachers involved with in-schools projects felt their students were engaged in the project and that the program was a good resource for teachers. Most students (91%) who participated in in-schools projects reported being proud of their work.

Of the students who participated in after-school tutoring, 95% said they felt comfortable asking their tutors for homework help and enjoyed working with them. Nearly all (96%) parents of students who participated in after-school tutoring reported that their students completed all of their homework while at 826, whereas only 66% of parents reported their students completing all of their homework at home. Almost all (99%) teachers who participated in field trips felt they were a valuable learning opportunity.

Approximately half (51%) of the students participating in 826 activities improved their scores on the Test of Written Language (TOWL) writing assessment after participating in 826 programs.

About this Promising Practice

Primary Contact
Mariama Lockington, Programs and Administrative Coordinator
826 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
415-642-5905 x204
Education / Literacy
Education / School Resources
Education / Student Performance K-12
826 National
Date of implementation
Geographic Type
Chapters in CA, NY, IL, WA, MI, MA, DC
For more details
Target Audience
Children, Teens
Additional Audience