New MD math and writing centers offer additional resources to students

Talia Winiarsky, Contributing Writer

This year, the Middle Division (MD) has new writing and math centers to help MD students with their schoolwork and expand their skills outside of the classroom.

The centers are both located in Pforzheimer Hall so that MD students can easily access them throughout the day.

MD English teacher Morgan Yarosh directs the writing center, which helps students with any academic work that involves writing. It was created because Yarosh noticed that students often saw writing as a fixed product instead of a process, she said. The goal of the center is to help students become more familiar with the fundamentals of writing and to be comfortable taking risks with their work. Head of School Dr. Tom Kelly also saw a need for the center, and was crucial in the creation, Yarosh said.

“The need was for writing to become something that is not intimidating, but to be something that students can experiment and be successful with, while also learning from their mistakes,” she said.

Currently, Yarosh and MD history teacher John Eckels run the center, which is open B and C periods, some D and E periods, and I periods. As demand for the center increases, Yarosh plans on staffing the center more extensively, perhaps by using Upper Division (UD) students.

Yarosh and Eckels each work both individually with a student as well as in group sessions if they prefer. Sometimes classes come to the center, or Yarosh visits a class to work them, she said. Sixth and seventh graders have been mostly using the center for help with their English class assignments, Yarosh said.

Eighth graders have also come in for help with assignments, and have been getting involved with existing school publications, such as the MD current events publication, The HM Journal, and even starting new MD publications, such an arts and fashion magazine, Yarosh said, which the center can help them with. The center also helps students seek out opportunities to publish their writing in blogs or national publications and enter creative writing contests, she said.

Tucker Harris (6) likes to go to the center to strengthen his English assignments and to complete his homework in a quiet environment, he said.

MD math teacher Lynne Hirschhorn directs the new math center, which was created to supply additional instruction.  Students who have questions about homework, need help preparing for an assessment, or want to try extra challenge problems can drop in during open sessions or schedule an appointment at center on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays.

“The center is a good environment for those who need further explanation on a topic discussed in class, and for those who wish to explore a more challenging math question,” Hirschhorn said.

The center offers incentives for students who can solve the weekly challenge problem, which is posted on the window of the center for all students to try to solve, she said.

On Wednesdays, UD students aid Hirschhorn. Tyler Jonas (12) is one of the UD students who helps lead the math center. “I think all students should take advantage of this new program,” Jonas said. “I wish that the center was available when I was a Middle Division student.”

Katie Beckler (6) she expects to see more students use the center in the future because it is a good resource for all MD students, she said.

“The goal is for our students to have success with their math studies and to enjoy the process along the way,” Hirschhorn said.