Discover and Develop Your Voice

Compose, Critique, Collaborate

The Waring Writing Program is intended to help students develop and discover an authentic, personal voice, through learning the fundamentals for effective writing of poetry, stories, dialogues, plays, and personal essays. Regardless of the genre, they write every week of their Waring career, and by doing so develop both imagination and self-knowledge as well as the skills of writing. The Writing Program helps our students to speak personally and memorably at Convocation and Graduation every year. More important still, it helps them to develop "inner resources" and the skills of writing that they otherwise might never have discovered.

Waring's Latest Le Temps Retrouvé


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Jill Sullivan

Writing Department Chair

Writing, like any discipline, is partly a matter of habit, so regular writing habits are established from the start. The classes meet twice a week. A student learns quickly that work is not written only for the teacher; instead, writing is presented to, and critiqued by both peers and instructors. Audience, in fact, is at the center of the Waring Writing Program. Over time, the writing class audience becomes sophisticated in their critical comments; writers, in turn, increasingly understand how their work affects the audience. Whether a student has just entered Core (Grades 6 and 7) Program or is about to complete the senior year at Waring, writing classes are workshops: students write, critique each other, revise, polish, and create portfolios.

Waring students are often recognized for the excellence of their work. Our students are frequent prize winners at the Beverly Public Library Teen Poetry Contest each year. Every year, in March, Waring holds a Young Writers Conference, drawing published authors from around the country and high school writers from the Boston area, including some of our own students.

  • Grades 6, 7, & 8
    In Core (Grades 6 and 7) and Group 1 (Grade 8), classes typically have between nine and eleven students. They are taught by junior and senior student Teaching Assistants (TAs), under the direct supervision of adult writing teachers, who meet with them frequently to discuss both pedagogy and students. We do this for a number of reasons, but most essentially because we find that the TAs promote enthusiasm for, and knowledge of, the Writing Program immediately, as well as foster strong and beneficial relationships between younger students and older students. As Writing TAs, the juniors and seniors are "culture-bearers:" that is, they carry the long-established Waring writing culture to our next generation of students.
  • Grades 9 & 10
    Groups 2 and 3 (Grades 9 and 10) are taught together, in sections no larger than twelve. Either a genre approach is used, with times during the year devoted to such topics as fiction, poetry, and personal essay, or a thematic approach is used, with assignments built around particular themes developed by writing teachers. In both cases, the classes are conducted as writing workshops.
  • Grades 11 & 12
    In Group 4 and 5 (Grades 11 and 12) students choose their writing classes, which are semester-long and focus on a particular topic. In recent years, the offerings have included Fiction, Poetry, Personal Essay, Playwriting, Screenplay Writing, and Le Temps Retrouvé, the school newspaper. On occasion, under the supervision of a Waring faculty member, students do an independent study on a particular writing topic that they wish to explore in depth.