Writing Center

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SPSG Writing Center Mission Statement

The mission of the Writing Center is to help students become better writers, improving the formulation and effective expression of their ideas. The Center is an encouraging setting for students to talk with trained peer coaches about their writing, both academic and creative. The Writing Center and its programs will allow girls to discover the joy of the writing process. Thus, the Writing Center will support SPSG's mission to educate "girls in a supportive ... environment" and create "independent and confident" writers.

What happens in a Writing Center conference?

A writing conference allows a student writer to elicit feedback at any stage of her writing from initial brainstorming to polishing or revising a final draft. A student may come to the Writing Center for help with formulating, clarifying, and organizing ideas for a writing assignment. A Peer Coach emphasizes the “big picture” elements of writing first—structure, content, focus, style—and only after addressing these elements does she worry about the finer details of grammar and spelling.

Unlike an editor, Peer Coaches are interested in helping to create great writers, not just great writing. We focus on the process, rather than the product, so that the student writers leave a session knowing how to improve their own work. Peer Coaches work collaboratively with the student writers, facilitating the writing process through discussion and questioning, rather than dictating the process by inserting their own ideas. Though we give helpful feedback, we encourage the writer to develop her own writing style, and always leave the responsibility for the final product with student herself. At no time will the Peer Coach take over authorship of the paper, and each writer takes ownership of her own work. All procedures conducted by the Writing Center will be in accordance with the SPSG Honor Code.

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How do we choose our Peer Coaches?

Teachers must nominate a student to apply for a position on the Peer Coaching team. Each girl who applies must submit a 1-2 page essay explaining why she should be accepted into the Peer Coaching program, and provide two teacher recommendations. After that, Mrs. Erdman, the Writing Center Director, in conjunction with a team of teachers, selects those who will continue on to the training process. 

Before she can coach her fellow students, each Peer Coach must complete a rigorous, full-day training program and tour an outside Writing Center. She must also go through a supervised provisional period, where she can hone her skills as a coach, before she is permitted to see clients on her own. This ensures that she has both the experience and the confidence to give helpful feedback while still allowing the client to have ownership of the work.

In addition to the intensive training in the fall, each Peer Coach receives on-going guidance and development opportunities, which help her address specific problems in sessions and improve her coaching technique.

How to book an appointment in the Writing Center

Contact the Writing Center at thewritingcenter@spsfg.org to make an appointment with one of the coaches.

We also have walk-in hours available from 12-3 pm on Mondays, 9:20-11:05 and noon-1:25 on Tuesdays, and on Fridays from 8:30-9:15, 10:20-11:05, and noon-1:25.