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New chapter for young writers

Brown School to launch all-inclusive writing center for kids, adults

Brown School Writing Center instructor Annu Subramanian, left, stands with eighth-grader Zaina Siraj, who is working on a book for young Muslim girls.

Brown School Writing Center instructor Annu Subramanian, left, stands with eighth-grader Zaina Siraj, who is working on a book for young Muslim girls. Submitted photo by Susan Bardack

— In the age of “LOL” and “:)” some might argue the art of writing is being erased, but one school is focusing on the importance of the pen, or the keyboard, as a life skill.

Brown School, a non-sectarian independent school in Schenectady, is preparing to launch a community writing center for all students throughout the Capital District. Initial efforts will focus on serving area students, with its teacher Annu Subramanian leading the effort, but Head of School Patti Vitale said she hopes to expand the program to also include adults looking to sharpen or enhance their skills.

“I think it is very important for Brown School to be a part of the community,” Vitale said. “I want us to expand our ways and be more of a school to the community and not just here Monday through Friday from eight to three.”

The Brown School Writing Center will open this summer and offer programs including preparation for standardized testing, college admissions and other writing courses. Also, the center could help someone learning English as a second language.

“Communication is a very important of a student’s ability to be independent in society,” Subramanian said. “We can take them up and build their skills, so they can present their thoughts and skills and proposals in a better way, whether it is a job or a college course, they can shine.”

Allowing students to be confident in their writing allows them to be more successful not only in high school and college but throughout life, she said.

Vitale said the school still teaches elementary students how to write business letters even though the technology landscape is changing forms of communication. She said there is a “certain skill” that goes along with emailing, too.

Subramanian said sometimes there are students wanting to try out or excel in creative writing, so offering a mentoring program through the center would allow students the opportunity.

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