Our Writing Center Director, Associate Directors, doctoral fellows, faculty, and consultants are actively engaged in a variety of service activities.
The High School for Community Leadership
For several years First-Year Writing faculty have been meeting with high school faculty at the nearby High School for Community Leadership, visiting students from the high school on a semi-weekly basis, as well as holding sessions with those students on our campus. The goal is to introduce students to a college-level writing environment, introducing them to the variety of writing projects and they might encounter in college.
St. John’s Bread and Life Soup Kitchen and Community Center in Brooklyn
The English Department of St. John's College sponsors visits twice-a-month where Writing Consultants lead writing/literacy workshops for Bread and Life guests. In most cases, these workshops center on fostering an outlet for the guests’ voices, which can often go unnoticed. We hope this type of writing—along with our other practical employment-related writing exercises—will empower the guests to move forward in their lives and deal with their hardships and hurdles. Among many other projects, we plan to upload guests’ writing and art projects online and hope to sponsor readings on campus and at Bread and Life.
Nazareth High School in Brooklyn
Writing Center staff, led by doctoral candidate Kerri Mulqueen and Writing Center Associate Directors Thomas Philipose and Chris Leary, have been working with faculty and students from Nazareth Regional High School in Brooklyn to launch a student-staffed high school writing center on the premises of the East Flatbush school. Involvement has included one-on-one and group training both on the St. John's Queens campus and at the high school facility. Our Writing Center consultants have been working with high school students to understand the principals of peer tutoring. Cooperation between the two schools is ongoing with St. John's providing mentorship and materials for the burgeoning high school writing center.
Law Enforcement and Public Safety (LEAPS) High School in Queens
Writing Consultants hosted students, teachers, and administrators from LEAPS for collaborative workshops geared towards mentoring these high school seniors in their college application process. The workshops are also planned to expose the seniors to writing center work and mentoring so the LEAPS students can start their own program for AP and honors students to mentor underclassmen and other students in their school. The program started when a St. John’s Writing Consultant, and LEAPS alumnus, contacted his former high school teacher to see if we could lend our services. The teacher, also an assistant principal, jumped at the idea since she found many of her students don’t apply to college because they are daunted by the process.
Frank Sinatra High School for the Performing Arts in Queens
Our Writing Center has initiated meetings with administrators and teachers at FSHS in order to plan a ‘writing program/major’ to mirror the school’s other arts programs. FSHS administrators observed St. John’s writing workshops and also hope to create their own self-sustained writing center in the future.
The Mary Louis Academy in Queens
Writing Center directors have hosted meetings with administrators and teachers from TMLA in order to start a dialogue on improving writing pedagogy and programs across the curriculum. We also plan to work with TMLA to tweak their already existing tutoring program into a more extensive mentoring program.
St. John's Preparatory School in Queens
Lately our Writing Center consultants have been working with high school students at St. John's Prep about their writing projects, particularly college application letters and essays for literature and history courses. And since St. John’s Preparatory School is interested in having peer mentoring and workshopping assume a larger role throughout the different academic disciplines, our e-tutoring relationship with St. John's Prep students is intended not only to help them improve as writers, but to introduce students and faculty to some of our methods of peer mentoring.
Henry Street Settlement in Manhattan
Students from a Learning Community that involved Discover New York and Eng1000C recently participated in a partnership with high school seniors enrolled in the “Expanded Horizons” college preparation program at the Henry Street Settlement, a not-for-profit community organization located on Manhattan’s lower east side. Together with tutors from the Staten Island Writing Center, students from both organizations worked collaboratively on the college application essay and personal narrative, the transition to college, and various issues relating to technology. We established a social networking website where students could communicate with one another, arrange events and topics, and collaborate on their work and progress. This partnership emerged from the provost’s Learning Communities initiative, expanded to include elements of Academic Service-Learning, and drew on the resources and creative pedagogies of both Discover New York and First Year Writing. David Farley, one of our First-Year Writing faculty, was instrumental in developing this relationship with the Henry St. project.