Since 2007 ForWords has developed a literacy-based program with a focus on reading, writing, technology and the arts.


In its short history ForWords has been recognized for its unique vision and approach to developing literacy skills: Gail Siegel, Founder and Executive Director of ForWords, was awarded the prestigious Jefferson Award in 2012 and ForWords was given the Canal Alliance 30th Anniversary Leadership Award.

Community Building

ForWords works with the students in the greater Bay Area community and collaborates with local educators, artists, local businesses, community organizations and neighbors. ForWords hosts celebrations of student work, inviting local families, civic leaders, and local organization. In addition, ForWords provides field trips and excursions for students and families to local cultural sights and events such as the DeYoung Museum and the premier of Gary Soto’s In and Out of the Shadows. ForWords hosted a neighborhood celebration of the Canal Area’s first community mural created by our students – “True Colors.” We hosted the premiere of “I’m Gonna be Myself,” a student created movie about gender roles and stereotyping at the Rafael Theatre in San Rafael where families, local educators, community leaders and our students joined together to celebrate the student creation.

Student Progress

ForWords uses a “portfolio” evaluation to access student progress. This portfolio is managed and analyzed by an independent systems’ evaluation team. The ForWords portfolio consists of student and teacher pre- and post-project surveys, student and teacher interviews, student work samples, teacher project tracker, and statistics regarding number of students served, number of projects completed, and work accomplished.

Our students significantly increase their reading, writing, analyzing, and presenting skills. Their growth is also reflected in their publications, ability to present in public, write across curricula, and discuss with greater clarity and effectiveness various school subject.

ForWords’ Success

1,500+ students served

1,750+ hours of 1:1 teacher/student work

1,250+ hours of teacher training; 175+ hours in-service training for 50 staff

12 University of California Bay Area Writing Project Teacher Consultants

1 University of California Bay Area Math Project Teacher Consultant

1 digital arts teacher

25 publications of student writing

15 Cds/Dvds of student work

1 student created full length documentary movie

Community projects including the first community mural in the Canal area of San Rafael

20 student created and performed plays

18 student presentations including before city commissions

60 computers, 16 ipads & 25 digital & video cameras purchased

20+ student and family field trips