Creating a Writing Center at Bishop Moore Catholic High School

Michelle Alford
Chapter Adviser
Bishop Thomas J. Grady Chapter
Bishop Moore Catholic High School, Orlando, FL

In August of 2014, the Bishop Thomas J. Grady Chapter of the National English Honor Society (NEHS) put into action a plan created over the summer: the Bishop Moore Writing Center. This plan was prepared by Michelle Alford, the NEHS Advisor, and the administrative team of Bishop Moore Catholic High School. They were aided by a team of students from NEHS, including Chapter President Aidan Valente and Writing Center Supervisors Joseph Davis, Ernesto Sabogal, and Emma Timmel. Our goal was to address the writing needs of all Bishop Moore Catholic High School (BMCHS) students in all content-area courses. Our vision was to create a comfortable working environment that students of all ranges of abilities would seek out.

Bishop Moore--Michelle Alford, Deanna Choma, Ashley Moses, and Carl Ty-r1

Advisor Michelle Alford with current Supervisors Deanna Choma, Ashley Moses, and Carl Ty

With this purpose in mind, to equip students, regardless of their ability level, to become more proficient writers in a welcoming, professional, positive environment, we created the Writing Center Handbook, which outlines the purpose, regulations, and structure of the Writing Center. At the first faculty and staff meeting of the year, Alford introduced the initiative. NEHS members applied to become the first tutors in the Center and went through a strenuous training process. In September of 2014, we opened the doors of the BMCHS Writing Center.

Writing Center Operations

Bishop Moore 18.2The Writing Center, open from 2:45-3:30 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays in the Bishop Moore Technology Lab (TEAL A),  is open to all students. Tutees either can make appointments through an online appointment scheduler or walk in if a tutor is available. When a tutee enters our doors, they are greeted by our Supervisors with a smile. They sign in and then are directed to one of the waiting tutors who help them with brainstorming, organization, formatting, and grammatical questions. We have helped with English research papers, college application essays, written history test responses, formatting scientific lab reports, and many other student writing issues. Our tutors have iPads and touch-screen display units as well as the ability to write on the glass walls and whiteboards to help with the process. In the 2014-2015 school year, we helped over 300 students with their writing.

Bishop Moore 9.2Our tutors are all BMCHS NEHS members in good standing who earn participation points for their service. Their applications require a piece of writing and their English teacher’s recommendation. They also either attend one of several set training days or shadow our veteran tutors at least twice. Additionally, we have quarterly staff meetings to address any issues or offer additional training.

This year, we will be expanding our hours to include Monday afternoons. In the future, we have plans to include a Grammar Lab and to invite guest speakers for special seminars. We will continue our collaboration with the teachers of content areas and hope to expand our ability to help with Science labs and APA formatting.

The BMCHS NEHS members hope you are inspired to establish a writing center of your own. Send your successes, ideas, or questions to alfordm@bishopmoore.org.


More writing center NEHS chapter event ideas can be found at  National English Honor Society Noteworthy Chapter Activities.

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