New Writing Center at Plymouth Whitemarsh High School

March 21, 2012 8:46:57 AM PDT
Students are helping students make the grade at a Montgomery County High School. Action News reporter Katherine Scott shows us how the student-run writing center at Plymouth Whitemarsh High School works."I need help with a history project."

And 10th grader Samantha Carlomagno knew exactly where to go - the student-run writing center that launched at Plymouth Whitemarsh High School in October. The writing fellows are peer tutors, carefully selected to help their classmates in all different subjects.

Leigh Brosof\Peer Tutor: "Colleges keep saying there's a huge gap between high school and college writing, and I think we're really closing that gap."

School staff began researching the idea several years ago. Peer tutors underwent a rigorous application process, then extensive training.

Leigh Brosof: "We learn how to interact with students, how we should sit, our body language, our facial, the different types of leading questions to make the students come up with the ideas on their own."

Kim Geiger\English Teacher: "We wanted something innovative, something progressive, where students could take control of the writing process and feel a sense of autonomy."

Writing Centers run by students might be commonplace at colleges, but not so in high schools. In fact, these tutors say they are one of two student run high school programs in the region selected to present at the Mid-Atlantic Writing Center Association's annual conference at Shippensburg University at the end of the month,

Ari Carroll\Senior: "We have some data of our own, and some things that we found work and don't work. We're going to try to share that with the colleges and other high schools."

This is just the first year, and it's growing. They're already up to 12 peer tutors and have conducted around 800 student consultations

Peer tutors say classmates feel less pressure around them since the focus isn't on their grade, but bolstering their skills.

Lauren Ravitch\Peer Tutor: "We are making them into better writers and not just fixing one assignment. We're fixing problems for the future."

In Plymouth Meeting, Katherine Scott, Chanenl 6 Action News.