Students in graduation
New Freshman Writing Seminar Introduced for the Fall Term


September 2020

In the age of text and LOL, developing writing fundamentals is more essential than ever. The importance of teaching students became evident to Kitta MacPherson when she taught journalism to undergraduates at Rutgers- Newark, and later, to students at St. Benedict’s Prep.

MacPherson approached Associate Headmaster for Academics Michelle Tuorto, Ph.D. H’16, and in 2019, introduced a grammar and composition class for juniors and seniors. The evidence-based curriculum integrated grammar lessons within the context of writing, a strategy that helps students elevate their thinking and communicate more effectively.

To better prepare Gray Bees for the demands of upper level courses, English Department faculty decided to emphasize writing fundamentals earlier. Work on a new Freshman Writing Seminar began before the quarantine. When St. Benedict’s transitioned to distance learning, faculty continued to collaborate virtually until all the details were finalized.

The seminar started this fall. Since existing faculty members will teach sections in the fall and spring, the curriculum enhancement can be introduced without any new hires.

“We have put so much thought into this and so many good minds on it, our kids are going to be in for something really great,”  MacPherson emphasized. “The goal is to be the place that teaches writing so well, people come and want to learn our secrets.”