Since the first year of Poland Regional High School’s existence Ms. Lori Gunn has had the idea of forming a writing center that will help students improve their writing skills. Finally, with the help of some motivated students, the time has come to embark on this idea.

Ms. Gunn developed this idea based on her previous experiences at Mt. Ararat High School. The writing center at Mt. Ararat is a major part of the writing curriculum, and is run by the English teachers. Based upon this, Ms. Gunn wanted to find a way to have students act as the peer tutors, as opposed to English teachers. Ms. Gunn feels that if students can help their peers talk about and improve their writing, then this idea will rub off onto them as well.

PRHS’s writing center will be modeled closely after Noble High School’s center. The goal of the writing center is to “create more of a culture of writing,” as Ms. Gunn said. It will also be an opportunity for students to gain more skill and confidence in their writing.

Students should learn how to be more self-directed as far as receiving help from the center when they need it. Ms. Gunn is hoping that the center can be available every block so that students can come and conference with a writing consultant whenever they need to. Teachers will also be able to sign out consultants to their classrooms.

The writing center is not limited to only humanities papers. Students who need help with science labs or research papers are welcome as well. Ms. Gunn, Ms. Beckee George, Mr. David Bernier and a group of Poland’s future writing consultants took a trip to Noble High to observe its three-year-old writing center. They found it very successful; the student consultants at Noble knew a lot about writing, and were very helpful.

The future writing consultants of Poland High’s writing center were recommended by their teachers based upon their own writing skills, and their ability to talk about their writing.

These students are Dayna Pelletier, Chelsea Pelletier, Courtney Weber, Jen Greely, Ian Beaule, Amanda Johnson, Ashley Marquis, Jen Shostak, and Melanie Frank. These students will be able to earn either co-curricular or community service credit. If any other students are interested in becoming a writing consultant, and you are comfortable about your writing skills and your ability to communicate about writing, then you can either talk to Ms. Gunn or your humanities teachers.

Two hopes for the future are to be able to serve our middle school as well, and to have a class specifically designed to train students to be writing consultants, while improving their own writing skills as well. Noble has such a class that feeds into its writing center, and “Keeps it well greased,” according to Ms. Gunn.

Currently Poland Regional’s learning center is undergoing a makeover, and soon it will consist of two major components – math consultants and writing consultants. A goal for the future is to also have consultants for science and foreign language as well.

Training for Poland’s writing consultants begins on Nov. 20, and the writing center should be up and ready during the second week of December. Ms. Gunn would love to have teachers encourage students to use the writing center. “If students ask for help frequently it will be awesome because then the writing center will succeed, and Ms. Gunn would be pumped,” says future tutor Ian Beaule. Use it, students, use it!


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