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High school writing centers

I'd like to introduce Kayla into our peer-centered discussion. She's posting under my identity because she will be here only fleetingly. We would love to hear any of your comments! Here she is:

Hi! My name is Kayla Sinclair. I am a sophomore at Meridian High School in Idaho and I am part of the TRiO Upward Bound program. TRiO is a program helping first-generation college students with low income get into college and get the job they want.
One thing TRiO does is a five-week summer program where the students stay on Boise State University campus for five weeks. While we're here, we take two classes and do a lot of activities, including service-learning projects. Some students are doing internships instead of their second class. My internship is at the BSU Writing Center.
Since I've been working at the center, I've been thinking that it would be really nice, not to mention really useful, to have a writing center at Meridian High. I am working on an article to put into my school newspaper this coming year to persuade students and staff of the necessity of a high school writing center so I'm asking you for any information or advice you might have on anything I could, or should, include in my article. Thank you!

Comments

  1. I've seen some discussion of high school writing centers in the Writing Lab Newsletter, although I have nothing specific that comes to mind.

    I would suggest maybe collect some first-person testimonials - from tutors, the director, students, or even profs who appreciate the work of the WC. That way various views and reasons can make it into your article in a fairly quick manner.

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  2. Hi, Kayla!

    There were two links that I thought you might find helpful, especially if you want to promote a writing center at your high school; I think both could help formulate and clarify pro-writing center arguments.

    1) http://projects.uwc.utexas.edu/praxis/?q=node/40

    2) http://projects.uwc.utexas.edu/praxis/?q=node/91

    There's a lot of discussion on the WCenter mailing list, too, and if you'd like, please feel free to shoot me an e-mail privately (michelle@masto.com) and I could pass on a similar message to that mailing list and have folks contact you directly with advice.

    I think that many of the concerns that high school administrators are concerned about include funding, and who would tutor (teachers? parents? AP students?).

    For your school paper, I'm not sure how much space you'll have for your own article, but you may consider making specific arguments about how this will help students with weaker writing skills become stronger writers, and therefore more successful college students, but any specific facts or figures you can include would also be very persuasive.

    I don't know BSU's student population, but if you have any first generation college students who have been helped by the BSU WC, then those would be excellent testimonials to include as well (especially if you can compare your own high school's student population: How many would be first generation college students, what their struggles might be, how the WC would help them, etc.).

    Good luck!

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  3. Kayla:
    I am a teacher/director of a high school writing/peer tutoring center. Because of the needs of a diverse student population, we've branched out to tutor in other subjects as well. Writing is still our primary subject for tutoring, however. It has been a great success and in this last year we had over 1,900 contacts with students. I am happy to give you whatever information that you'd like to get started...everything from how our schedule works to materials we use to train students.

    You also might want to contact Richard Kent at the University of Rhode Island...he has written a book on starting high school writing centers.

    You can contact me at dtastor@rjuhsd.us . Also you might want to check out these links:
    http://guest.portaportal.com/wcenters

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