Writing Center

A Student-Staffed Writing Resource

SSFS Upper School Peer-to-Peer Writing CenterThe goal of the Writing Center is to strengthen the culture of writing at Sandy Spring Friends School. Since its opening in 2010, the Writing Center has provided peer tutoring service for Upper School students. In individual tutoring sessions, trained Writing Tutors help students fulfill their writing goals, whether in academic assignments, personal writing, or creative pursuits. It is the belief of the Writing Center that writing does not happen in the vacuum of an English class; rather, success in writing is central to success in college and in adult life. The Writing Center seeks to foster independence among SSFS students, so mastering the process of writing is emphasized over perfecting the product. In other words, we hope to improve the writer, not just the paper. Therefore, tutors do not simply proofread or edit papers; they teach writers how to spot and correct errors more effectively. In addition, tutors are trained in non-directive advising methods, which ultimately leave all choices to the writer.

Building a Culture of Writing

In addition to tutoring, the Writing Center seeks to become the home of writing on campus. Throughout the academic year, the Writing Center will host several events designed to pique students' interest in writing, celebrate the craft and practice of writing, and assist organizations devoted to promoting writing in underserved populations.

Events and initiatives have included:

  • Scrabble-Boggle Tournaments, Writing Retreats, and Assemblies in connection with Free Minds Book Club
  • Journalism in the Twenty-First Century: A Panel Discussion with David Millikin of Agence France-Presse and Kevin Merida and Steve Hendrix of the Washington Post
  • Black History DC Writers' Tour
  • Literary and Cinematic Halloween Costume Contest
  • Virtual "Read-Out" Videos in Celebration of Banned Books Week
  • Writing for a Cause: A Political and Social-Change Writing Workshop with Mike Russo of United States Public Interest Research Group (USPIRG), Kathryn Poindexter of Stone’s Phones, and Pedro Morillas of Fenton Communications
  • Food and Wine Writing Panel with catered reception, featuring Sally Swift of The Splendid Table, Michael Franz of Wine Review Online, and cookbook author David Hagedorn
  • Author Talk and Signing with Todd Moss, author of The Golden Hour
  • Author Talk and Signing with Tracy Chevalier, author of Girl With a Pearl Earring and many others
  • Sports Journalism Panel with Mike Wise and Jason Reid of ESPN and Liz Clarke of Washington Post

Contact the Director

Ariel Voorhees teaches Upper School English and directs the Writing Center. Please contact her at ariel.voorhees@ssfs.org.