The Community Literacy Program, begun in 1992, is one of UW’s longest-running community-based learning opportunities. Over 1000 students have participated in CLP, and many have gone on to careers in teaching and school administration; to careers in medical, policy, non-profit and legal fields related to children and education; and to lives as engaged leaders and community members. Community Literacy Program is not only rewarding, it fulfills several UW requirements: English 298 may be used toward either the “C” (composition) or “W” (additional writing) requirement. English 491 (C/NC internship credit) documents time in “high needs” classrooms required for application to teacher education programs, and may be used toward the field work or elective requirements in the Education, Learning and Society Minor.
Sociology students might be particularly interested in Community Literacy Program if they are considering careers in teaching or community-based literacy, want to work with “high needs” K-5 students and support them in seeing themselves as authors, believe literacy is a form of social action and want to put that belief into tangible form, or are looking for an opportunity to pursue field-based research in a small interactive learning community here on campus.
The Community Literacy Program (faculty.washington.edu/esoneill/clp) is unique among many UW programs working with K-12 students in combining a 5 credit faculty-led seminar on campus (English 298A) with Internship placements (English 491C) at a single long-time public partner school, Olympic Hills Elementary in Seattle’s Lake City neighborhood. Olympic Hills provides an outstanding opportunity for UW students interested in working with multilingual students (over 30 home languages are spoken in this school) who face socioeconomic structural barriers (over 75% of students qualify for free/reduced price lunches). As the just-retired principal of this school put it, “The Community Literacy students are full members of our school community by the second week of the quarter…. It is a pleasure to see how insightful they are, and how dedicated to the educational process they become. Elizabeth is caring and candid in working with her students and with me throughout each quarter so that we can collaborate on solving problems. Normal situational challenges become tools for learning for her students, as well as ours. The benefits to our students are enormous. Our faculty has come to depend on the Community Literacy students as true partners in teaching.”
To get more information and request add codes, students should contact Community Literacy Program director Dr. Elizabeth Simmons-O’Neill, firstname.lastname@example.org.