We are pleased to announce the details for our 16th annual Secondary Schools Writing Center Conference! 

  • Date: September 27th, 2024 
  • Time: 8:30 am – 12:00 pm 
  • Location: UConn Student Union Ballroom—Room 330, 2110 Hillside Road, Storrs, CT 06269 

This year’s theme is Building Bridges Together!

“Building Bridges Together” means approaching writing and writing centers as collaborative work. This year’s theme acknowledges the richness that comes from bringing together people from different backgrounds and perspectives. We aim to facilitate meaningful exchanges and collaborations, and we invite participants to come ready to explore new pathways for connection and community building–join us as we craft narratives, connect voices, and build bridges that span across Connecticut and beyond!

We encourage you to Submit a Presentation Proposal–we will be accepting proposals until Friday, September 13th.


Registration for this year opens August 1st and closes when we reach capacity or on September 20th–whichever comes first! This year, we are introducing a $100 registration fee per school. Financial assistance is available as needed. 

Questions and inquiries? Please contact us at wcoutreach@uconn.edu


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

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 wcoutreach@uconn.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:

      Our 15th Annual Secondary School Outreach Conference was held in November, 2023.

      The theme of our 2023 conference was “Making Space.” This year, we turned our attention to the physical and digital spaces that compose our writing center landscapes. The conference included presentations by UConn tutors as well as local high school writing centers. 


      A view of the main conference room taken from the stage. Nearly two hundred students and teachers are seated at round tables.


      A large roll of white paper is taped down to a conference table. Students have written suggestions for promoting their centers out in a variety of marker colors. Suggestions include: social media accounts, morning announcements, posters in the hall. Not all the writing is legible.



      After viewing a video made by Simsbury High School promoting their writing center, students collaboratively brainstormed ideas for encouraging other students to visit their centers.



      Two UConn tutors leading an origami lesson with a group of high school students. The current step in the origami lesson is displayed on a screen behind the tutors. Students are following along with a variety of brightly colored paper.




      Chelcy Htoo and Sarah Bertekap capped their presentation on curating collaborative writing center spaces with an origami lesson and demonstration.




      A group of twenty-five teachers and administrators seated around a large rectangular table engaged in conversation. Colorful folders are scattered across the table.


      Tom Deans, Jason Courtmanche, and Chris Todd led a group of teachers in an “Administrator’s Corner” session.




      Four people are seated at a long table on the main stage. They each hold microphones and are looking out at the crowd.




      Current UConn tutors Sara Ali, Cawley DiStephan, and Erin Appleson, and UConn Alumni Dalton Hawie hosted a tutoring Q&A panel for secondary school tutors.