The Writing Studio, staffed by Loomis Chaffee students and faculty, has become a go-to resource for support and inspiration with writing projects.
Writing at Loomis Chaffee
The Process and the Product
Decade after decade, Loomis Chaffee graduates find that their writing skills far exceed those of many of their peers, no matter what major and career they pursue. With a longstanding emphasis on superior writing, Loomis Chaffee will teach you not only how to write well, but also how to understand the science of good writing. Our English Department faculty lead these efforts with a four-year writing program, the heart of which is the Sophomore Writing Workshop, which meets once a week for the full year.
The emphasis on good writing does not stop at the threshold to English classrooms, either. In the sciences, you will learn to write cogent lab reports. In history courses, you will develop extensive research papers. In social science classes; philosophy, religion, and psychology electives; and foreign language sections alike, you will compose essays, personal reflections, and narratives. A director of writing works with all departments to identify the writing competencies that we want all of our students to attain by the time they graduate and coordinates programs of instruction needed to meet these goals across the curriculum.
Since her fresh-out-of-college arrival on the Island in 1981, Sally has taught English, coached boys cross country and distance track, and served as dorm resident or affiliate. In her tenure, she has taught classes at the freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior levels, including senior electives in Creative Writing, Journalism, Contemporary Literature, Shakespeare, Short Story, and Satire; and in the interdisciplinary course Desegregation & Democracy in South Africa. While on academic exchange with Scotch College in Melbourne, Australia, she taught year-long courses in writing and Australian and British literature to both middle and upper school boys.
In addition to directing the Writing Initiatives program, Sally, a student-council-selected Teacher of the Year, currently teaches the year-long CL Advanced Junior English Seminar class and heads the recently-launched Writing Studio. Sally’s most recent on-going education has come by way of Bard College’s Institute for Writing and Thinking. Earning both her BA (in English) and her MALS from Wesleyan University, Sally also holds a degree in counseling from St. Joseph University.
Sally’s early education came in classrooms in the United States and the South Pacific, at a Quaker Friends kindergarten in Swarthmore, PA; a public elementary school in sub-urban Germantown, PA; a city primary school in Suva, Fiji; a progressive middle school in Laguna Beach, CA; and at British-influenced grammar and high schools in Nuku’alofa, Tonga. She matriculated with National Honor Society and Experienced-Based Career Education certificates from Portland High School in Portland, CT.
Sally and husband Peter are proud parents of Loomis Chaffee graduates Miles ’10 and Tate ’14.
The LC Writing Studio offers inspiration and support for LC writers — students and faculty alike — across the curriculum as they work to communicate their ideas, arguments, discoveries, and voices. Believing that engaging an audience of readers during the writing process promotes “skilled and discerning minds,” the trained staff members of the Writing Studio offer non-evaluative feedback and guidance to writers in any stage of work. Staff members support writers as they craft works that evince not only robust writing skills, but also robust thinking skills. The Writing Studio staff serve not in lieu of, but in addition to, students’ own teachers as resources, with the students setting their agendas for their Studio sessions, and holding sole command of the pen.
Agenda items might include, but are not limited to the generating of idea, sharing of drafts, expansion of critical thinking, and review of relevant writing skills.
Launched by the LC Writing Initiative, the Island’s Creative Writing & Arts publication the Loom, and the Katherine Brush Library’s spoken-word “Out Loud” group, and complementing the Emerging Artists program, the Emerging Writers Program invites passionate writers of all inspirations to submit proposals for independent development of writing portfolios.
Students determine the genres, lengths, and formatting of their works, with portfolio pieces ranging from opening chapters of novels, to collections of haiku, to short stories, to one-act-play scripts, to assorted character sketches, to op-ed pieces, to personal essays, and to myriad other forms.
Writers whose proposals are selected work on their pieces independently and in conference with one another over the summer, then submit their portfolios in September for jurying and exhibition. Portfolio submissions may include pieces written for summer writing camps and programs.
Last year, sixteen students completed and submitted portfolios and had works selected for joint Emerging Artists/Emerging Writers exhibition in the Richmond Art Center, with many also invited by the jury to submit their works to the National Scholastic Art & Writing competition.
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Loomis student writers earned Scholastic Art & Writing Awards from the Alliance for Young Artists and Writers, a nonprofit organization devoted to developing the talents of young people.
Loomis Chaffee students and faculty members read aloud from their original writing at the LC Authors Out Loud event held during a Community Arts Celebration in the Richmond Arts Center on Tuesday, January 10.
"Writing workshop will carry you through college," said Kassidi, addressing some of the seniors' concerns about the challenging workload at the next level. "You are ahead of the game by far."