Welcome (back) to the Writing Center! I am so excited to work with you this year, my first full year as Writing Center director. Being a Writing Center tutor will be different from any other course you have had. Your work here is like a job, where your co-workers rely on you to help create a caring, welcoming community, and the people we tutor rely on you to provide prompt, encouraging feedback that affirms their brilliance and helps them find and honor their own voice. What we do here also goes beyond just individual tutoring sessions. We have the opportunity to work together this year to close resource gaps, celebrate student voices, and advocate for important changes in our school and with our community.
We have four core values that guide our work: growth mindset, funds of knowledge, shared vulnerability, and community collaboration. You can learn more about how we define these terms below and in our equity and access statements.
Check out our video for more information on Writing Center if you haven’t already.
This year, our tutoring will take three forms:
- Face-to-face tutoring with individual students or small groups in the Writing Center. Students can drop in with anything they’re working on–school-related or not–at any stage of the writing process and get affirmation and support.
- Face-to-face tutoring with individual students or small groups in classrooms by teacher invitation.
- Asynchronous OWL tutoring where students send us their work and we offer growth-oriented, supportive feedback through Google comments or videos and write a short email in return.
We’ll spend parts of our Skytime working together to develop strategies to provide student-centered tutoring across any of these forms using our core values of growth mindset, funds of knowledge, shared vulnerability, and community collaboration as a guide.
In the Writing Center, your primary role is tutoring students and working to hone your tutoring skills through reading, reflection and discussion. However, you also will have the opportunity to do your own writing and pursue a badge project. You will make choices about what you learn and how you share your learning with others. You will have the opportunity to work on projects that are meaningful to you, and you will learn important skills such as how to set personal goals, create meaningful projects and reflect on your learning. Your voice and perspective are important and can make a difference in the Writing Center world and beyond; your teacher and peers in the Writing Center are here to help support you in your work to transform our school and community spaces to be less harmful, more fair, and increasingly responsive to students’ needs.
Each week, there will be one or two assignments as well as on-going writing in our Writer’s Notebooks. There should be little/no work that cannot be accomplished during your Writing Center hour. The syllabus and all assignments will be posted in Schoology. If you are struggling with an assignment or deadline, reach out to me so that we can work together for your success.
- Sacred Writing Time–3 Days a Week (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday)
- Reflection Thursdays–reflect on the tutoring work you have done this week.
- Feedback Fridays–share work/get feedback on what you are working on from Ms. Feliks and your fellow tutors.
Assignment 1 (Week One): Tutor Video Introduction + Reading & Reflecting
- Choose a reading and write a reflection on what you read.
- Create a video Flipgrid video introducing yourself to those you may tutor.
Assignment 2 (Week Two): Writing Autobiography OR Statement of Purpose + Getting Started Meeting (Tutoring Goals)
- Create a reading autobiography (new tutors) OR a statement of purpose (returning tutors).
- Set tutoring goals and meet with Ms. Feliks to discuss these goals.
Assignment 3 (Week Three): Badge Project Plan + Meeting
- Begin planning
Assignment 4 (Week Four): Reading + Reflecting–Building Context
- Readings from Course pack
Assignment 5 (Week Five): Project Check in + Reflection
Assignment 6 (Week Six): Mid-term Tutoring Check-in + Reflection
- Students review their reflection journals + confer with Ms. Feliks using journals as evidence.
Assignment 7 (Week 7 + 8) Project Check-in + Reflection
Assignment 8 (Week 9 + 10) Project Check-in + Reflection
Assignment 12 (Week 12) Final Portfolio & Self-Assessment Meeting (Mastery)
Writing/Writing Process Work–due by week 10
- Writing Assignment: Blog Post (Non-fiction Writing)
- Writing Assignment: Creative Writing
- Participate in a Tutoring Session + Reflect on it in the reflection journal.
One of the core values of Writing Center is having growth mindset. In order to grow, we have to make mistakes and focus on learning, not scores. To facilitate growth, we will follow a labor-based grading system.
What this means is that you’ll spend a lot of time goal setting, assessing yourself, working through my feedback and peer feedback to see what works for you. This course values the labor you put into the learning, which leads to new skills. While this kind of learning is self-directed, it’s also important that we seek each other out as resources.
All weekly assignments will be labeled as “process” in the gradebook, and they will be graded based on completion. At the end of the trimester, you will complete a portfolio and do a grading conference with me and self assess for your Mastery grade, using the rubric below as a guideline.
Final Mastery Portfolio
Has completed ALL the labor of the course (0-1 missing process assignments).
Has excelled at the tutoring goals in the tutoring rubric. Presents compelling evidence of this in the final portfolio through reflection on the trimester’s tutoring.
Has completed MOST of the labor of the course (2 missing assignments)
Has met the tutoring goals in the tutoring rubric. Presents adequate evidence of this in the final portfolio through reflection on the trimester’s tutoring.
Has completed the SOME the labor of the course (3-4 missing assignments)
Has met some of the tutoring goals in the tutoring rubric. Presents some evidence of this in the final portfolio through reflection on the trimester’s tutoring.
Has completed the about HALF the labor of the course (5+ missing assignments) Has met at least one of the tutoring goals in the tutoring rubric. Evidence in the final portfolio may be incomplete or missing.
Transformative Justice and Conflict Resolution
“It’s not punishment that gets us to safety. It’s accountability.”
–Danielle Sered, Common Justice
We are a large group of people doing important work inside of a complex network of systems, which means sometimes conflict will arise. Conflict doesn’t have to be negative, especially if we collectively, in community, to improve our ability to make it generative. As adrienne maree brown writes, “I want us to get excellent at being in conflict.” This goal, which requires substantial commitment from everyone in our community, requires us to think differently about how we disagree, how we seek accountability outside traditionally oppressive systems, how we apologize, and, ultimately, how we imagine and take steps toward reducing harm both now and in the future and personal and systemic levels. Transformative justice requires us to address harm at the roots without replicating unhealthy, non-generative ways of holding one another accountable.
Throughout our time together in Writing Center, we will work toward generative conflict and transformative justice by resisting our desire for retribution while centering the safety of those who have been harmed, by learning how to apologize and how to seek understanding, by learning how to be accountable and holding space for individuals and systems to grow, and by learning to look beyond just the individual to root causes of harm.