15th Annual Secondary Schools Writing Center Conference: Fall 2023 

Date: November 3, 2023, 8:30 am – 12:00 pm

Location: UConn Student Union-2110 Hillside Road Storrs, CT 06269

The theme for this conference is: Making Space

This year, we’re turning our attention to the physical and digital spaces that compose our writing center landscapes. We invite you to consider where you are, where you’ve come from, and the terrain your center is currently navigating: what trails are you blazing, and what does the view look like from your center?

Questions and inquiries? Please contact our graduate assistant at uconnwc.hsoutreach@gmail.com

Register for the conference is now closed.


Please check out this article to learn about our 15-year history of working with schools to start and sustain peer writing centers.



Our last annual conference held on October 17, 2022 was a success! Our theme was “Write Now,” we explored the current culture of writing centers and how we can be more accessible, equity-centered, and sustainable. In order to continue this work, our presenters have allowed us to share their materials that you may view in order to support your own Writing Center. Stay tuned for next year’s conference!

In the spirit of accessibility, here is a small sample of the presentations/workshops offered at our 2022 Fall Conference!

Rockville High School’s Presentation led by Victoria Nordlund

Rockville High School tutors present on student buy-in and sustainability


Trauma-Informed Teaching Presentation by Julia Ward

Writing Center alumnus Juia Ward presents

A Right to Their Own Language: Centering Access, Inclusion, and Linguistic Justice in Writing Center Spaces By Jess Gallagher and Marya Hayat

Writing Center alumnus Jess Gallagher presents



Respecting Dialects and Multilingualism in the Writing Center by Eunice Kim and Robert Zatryb

Tutor Eunice Kim and Graduate Assistant Robert Zatryb

Outreach Partnerships (Spring 2024)

Typically, The University Writing Center picks one or two schools to work with extensively throughout the year to pilot a new writing center. This year instead, we are offering in-house retreats at our center on Thursdays and after-school visits to yours. We are also piloting a new project that will offer Hartford English teachers specialized group workshops. The chart below details our three different formats for outreach this year. Of course, this list is not exhaustive and our outreach coordinator communicates and collaborates with each school beforehand. Interested? Fill out this form and/or contact uconnwc.hsoutreach@gmail.com

In-House Retreat School Visits Hartford Workshops
Where? UConn’s Library Your school UConn Hartford Writing Center
Who is it for? students/teachers students/teachers teachers
What does it include?
  • 3-4 hours of team building, information, and workshops.
  • Tour of our space in action
  • 90 minutes-2 hours after school (shorter or longer based on school)
90 minutes-2 hours after school 
Sample Workshop topics to choose from

(these can all be requested in any of the three formats)

  • Tutoring Basics
  • The Foundations of a Writing Center
  • Tutoring Writers, Not Editing Papers
  • Higher Order Tutoring Strategies
  • Respecting Multilingualism and Dialects
  • How to Give Feedback
    • Trauma-Informed Tutoring 
    • Linguistic Justice and Anti-Racist Writing Center practices 
    • Multimodality
      • asynchronous/online tutoring
    • Recruitment and Community
    • Writing Center practicum
    • How to Start from Scratch
    • Why Your School Needs a Writing Center
    • Marketing and Building Interests
    • Foundational Pedagogy
    • How to teach a practicum

      Connecticut Secondary School Writing Center Network

      Part of the reason that public land grant universities like UConn were founded was to serve their state and regional communities. The University Writing Center carries on that spirit of service through our collaborations with Connecticut middle and high schools.  In partnership with the Connecticut Writing Project http://www.cwp.uconn.edu/and several area schools, we work to launch and sustain writing centers that value writing across the curriculum, focus on each writer’s development, recognize the benefits of peer-to-peer tutoring, and understand writing as a complex, interactive process.

      Click on the image below to go to an interactive map of schools that have been involved with UConn as partners and/or conference participants.


      Not all of the schools marked by pins currently have active writing centers (some, for example, have only attended our conference) but all have played some part of an emerging regional network.


      The blue and purple pins represent UConn partner schools.
      The red pins represent schools that have attended our annual conference with teachers and students.
      The yellow pins represent schools that have attended our annual conference with teachers only.


      Students in a breakout session during our annual conference discuss tutoring strategies.
      Students in a breakout session during our annual conference discuss tutoring strategies.

      How to Get Involved

      If interested in learning more about peer-run writing centers, we invite you to attend our annual  Secondary School Writing Centers Conference, which is open to all who are involved in our growing network or who want to learn more about it.

      Another opportunity to consider when looking to learn more about peer tutoring and our growing network is participating in the Connecticut Writing Project’s Summer Institute: http://cwp.uconn.edu/summer-institute/.

      Attending the Summer Institute is not a prerequisite for involvement, but we have found that teachers who attend this paid summer professional development program are usually in a better position to start and sustain a writing center.



      CREC Opening
      Two students work together at the CREC Two Rivers Middle School Writing Center that we helped get started.


      Our History

      Our first community outreach work was initiated, appropriately enough, by an undergraduate tutor who wanted to bring one-on-one tutoring in academic and creative writing to her own former high school, Hartford Public.   To learn more about that experience, please see this article in Reflections: https://reflectionsjournal.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/Re-assessing-Sustainability.pdf

      Starting in 2007 we shifted our emphasis from having UConn students deliver tutoring to HPHS to working with schools to assist them in founding their own faculty-led but peer-driven writing centers. At that time the Connecticut Writing Project (CWP) http://www.cwp.uconn.edu/ became a partner in the project.

      As part of our partnership program, we are currently working with Ellington High School to open their writing center.

      We have worked closely with:

      • Windham High School
      • Ashford School
      • Griswold
      • E.O. Smith High School, Storrs, CT.
      • East Hartford High School
      • Bolton High School
      • Public Safety Academy, Enfield, CT
      • Manchester High School
      • Woodstock Academy
      • Two Rivers Magnet Middle School (East Hartford)
      • Rockville High School
      • Sports and Medical Sciences Academy (Hartford)
      • Mansfield Middle School
      Connecticut teachers gather at the Secondary School Writing Centers Conference hosted by UConn each October to talk about planning and implementing peer tutoring.
      Connecticut teachers gather at the Secondary School Writing Centers Conference hosted by UConn each October to talk about planning and implementing peer tutoring.

      Visiting Our Writing Center

      We extend an invitation to any school that wishes to visit our campus Writing Center. See our space, observe a session, and speak with our tutors!

      Learning More

      If you want to learn more about student-staffed writing centers, here are some places to start: