The CJ Community Writing Center opened its doors mid-January to assist, collaborate and motivate student and adult writers of all skill levels with whatever writing task is at hand. English teachers eager to engage writers outside the classroom with an extra helping of support and tutelage are making themselves available so that others can gain confidence in and appreciation for the art of writing.
Implemented by teacher Greg Mueller and fellow members of the English department, the center—located in room 126—is open daily for drop-in visits during school hours as well as Wednesdays after school from 3 to 4 p.m.
“It’s been a passion of mine for a while and we’ve talked about it within the department since last school year,” said Mueller. He encourages students to use the space as a safe environment to build confidence and hone their writing skills.
“This is a place for student-writers to come and have a conversation about improving their writing.”
Tutors will serve students of all levels looking for guidance on writing assignments across all subjects at every step of the process including discovery, prewriting, outlining, drafting and revision. In addition, the Writing Center opens new avenues for dialogue amongst teachers by also providing faculty and staff members help with everything from constructing assignments and creating rubrics to writing letters of recommendation and submitting grants.
A member of the Writing Center staff, English teacher Erin Ketch knows a thing or two about writing, and winning, grants. In November she applied for the Gerald L. Turner Educational Endowment, a $1,000 grant sponsored by the Dayton Foundation. The grant was awarded to CJ in January, and funds have gone towards furnishing room 126 as well as purchasing writing materials, desk equipment and decor.
The Turner Educational Endowment, according to daytonfoundation.org, was established in 2005 and “provides grants to English teachers at designated high schools for supplies and program expenses not otherwise provided for in their school budget.” In her six years at the school, Ketch has won the grant twice for CJ students.
“It is important to us that students have a writing center they feel welcomed to come to,” she said. “If we can make it somewhere they want to be, they’ll be more likely to stop in.”
Although students are encouraged to take advantage of everything the center offers, Mueller warns it will not be a “fix-it shop” for editing and proofreading, but rather a place to foster continued learning through discussion and collaboration.
“Don’t be shy,” he advised students. “We’re here to help.”