English department creates writing center

Emily Busch

Students line up at the desks of teachers Ms. Kari Koshiol and Ms. Anna Overbo for last minute help on any day before an essay is due. Teachers, like students, are very busy before and after school. “Students come in and try to find five minutes to talk about their essay, but in reality they don’t have time to talk and neither do I,” said Ms. Koshiol, an English teacher.

Ms. Overbo knows exactly how Ms. Koshiol feels. “I want to help them, I want to reward them for taking the initiative to come talk to me, but I don’t have time,” said Ms. Overbo.

Located just inside the library by the entrance, the new Writing Center––still in a trial stage to see if it will be used by students––is designed to give students one-on-one help from both teachers and students, at any hour of the day. This way students can receive help when they have time and without interrupting their busy teachers.

The Writing Center is modeled after writing centers that are common in colleges and will hopefully help students to improve their writing. “The main reason for designing the Writing Center is that one-on-one conferences are the best way for students to learn,” said Mr. Jason Wallestad, head of the English department.

Because the Writing Center is staffed by English teachers, replacing their hall duty, the school did not need to spend additional money on starting the Writing Center. “Hopefully in the future we can have a full-time writing coordinator,” said Mr. Wallestad.

The original plan was to staff the writing center with teachers during classes so students could go during their free hours. One challenge for the English Department is that students do not have enough time to go to the Writing Center during school. “Approximately 80 percent of students do not have a free hour and would not be able to go to the writing center during the day,” said Mr. Wallestad.

The English department wants to bring in volunteers to work before and after school so that students who do not have a free hour can get help too. “We are hoping to bring in some of the best writers from last year’s AP Comp class,” said Mr. Wallestad. The students would volunteer at the table before and after school.