Writing Center Launches Apprentice Program

A love of writing was all it took for Danse Mobray ’26 to sign up for the Writing Center’s new apprentice tutor program.

“I wanted to share my joy for writing with students by supporting them and helping them grow as writers,” she said.

In fact, after going through a serious vetting process (prior Writing Center visits, a writing sample, teacher recommendations and ongoing training), Mobray is already on the job.

“A student came into the Writing Center with a very bare-bones draft of an English assignment,” she explained. “Together we came up with a clear thesis statement, worked on grammatical errors and brainstormed ideas to add to the piece. He left confident in his piece of writing, and ready for the next steps.”

In the five years that Lisa Green, Writing Center director and upper school English teacher, has been at the helm, onboarding apprentice tutors to the staff of close to 30 juniors and seniors is what the growing program needed. 

“This year we decided to bring in second semester sophomores as a way to energize and expand the staff, and a way to give the juniors more time to take on leadership roles while the seniors can ease their transition to the end of the school year,” Green said.

The Center is a peer-to-peer resource available for writing support in both divisions and in any discipline from English and history to lab reports, public speaking and creative writing. Green says, “It runs the gamut but generally we see more students for essays and personal narratives.”

Also new this year: The Middle School is taking advantage of Writing Center support for the first time during their new X-band period. Senior Clara Nalle, a tutor since her junior year, has enjoyed working with students across grade levels.

“Recently I helped a middle schooler with his sentence structure and grammar. We worked with his previous writing assignments and some of my old writing until he had some solid revision methods to use,” Nalle said. “I liked working with him because he reminded me a lot of my younger self as a student so I felt I was able to help him.“

Green says it’s important for prospective tutors to be strong writers, and “They should also have the personal qualities that make for effective tutors: warmth, good listening skills, kindness, patience, open mindedness. Those qualities are important and we try to cultivate that.”

Though tutoring, Aron Tucker ’24 has shared his love of English with younger students and is encouraged by the new apprentice program: “It gives new tutors a great way to be introduced to the norms of the Writing Center, as well as helps the older tutor refresh their skills in tutoring and being tutored. It creates a stronger community among the tutors, allowing questions and suggestions to be more permissible.”

Viva Topper-Kroog ’26, a new apprentice tutor, is ready to help fellow classmates. “I believe writing is a lifelong skill that is hard to get right but is learned through practice, making mistakes and getting some help,” she said. “So, learning from a young age, and from your peers who have to do the same assignments as you, I think is the best place to start in terms of beginning your ‘career’ as a writer.”

Click here for more information or to schedule an appointment with the Writing Center.

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