Writing Center Opens its Doors

Catherine Kane, Editor-in-Chief

From left to right: Ms. Cymerman, Jou Barzdukas, Shaan Bhaskar, Benita Xavier, Lauren Santoro, Dara Kearney, Laura Troung, Vin Watts, Marisa Phillips, Catherine Kane, Rose Anderson. Not pictured: Kazi Tawshif, Ms. Gibbons | Photo via FCHS Twitter

After months of preparation and training, the new Writing Center is now open. As one of the last FCPS high schools without a Writing Center, the launch is being celebrated by teachers and administrators school-wide. 

Program sponsors and English teachers Ms. Elizabeth Cymerman and Ms. Elizabeth Gibbons founded the program in hopes of empowering students to build ability and confidence in their writing. 

Eleven volunteer tutors staff the Writing Center; they were selected after an extensive application and interview process. Over the course of two weeks, the peer tutors received training on tutoring pedagogy and strategies to support tutees on specific assignments as well as their overall writing goals. Tutor Marisa Phillips (12) emphasized that the Writing Center is “not a copy editing service” and the tutoring process is collaborative and “tutee-focused and steered.” The Writing Center uses minimalist tutoring, a question and answer based format that prompts students to identify areas of improvement in their own writing. 

Prior to the launch, the tutors worked with ESOL students in preparing for the Workkeys exam, with 38 out of the 40 students passing. 

English administrator Mr. Peter Lake and department chair Mrs. Rachel Olarinde attended the launch and applauded the program sponsors and students’ efforts. 

Students can sign up to receive passes to Room 252 for tutoring sessions.