Supporting Year-Round Literacy
Throughout this month, we have highlighted our summer learning partnerships in the USF/ Heart To Heart/ Mo’MAGIC Summer Literacy program and the Summer Academy Program. In this week’s blog, we hear from our Director of Engage San Francisco, Karin Cotterman, about the literacy initiative our Center works on year round.
Since its formal launch in 2014, Engage San Francisco has focused on building meaningful relationships with individuals, schools, nonprofits, and service providers in the Western Addition/Fillmore neighborhood in service of our two key goals:
- Contribute to and support a vibrant, thriving community for children, youth and families and the Western Addition
- Enhance student learning and faculty research in the Jesuit tradition with key connections to the University of San Francisco’s Mission and Vision 2028
Commitment to Education Equity
Our partnerships with local schools and out-of school time service providers are critical to supporting literacy and love of learning. The USF School of Education is a instrumental partner as we continue to develop our shared, long-term commitment to provide year-round literacy and learning support. This commitment to addressing education equity show up in various concrete ways:
Commitment to high quality tutors who have a critical analysis
During the academic year our tutors are thoughtfully prepared to work with educators and support ongoing literacy efforts. In addition to content in education equity and the historical context of the Fillmore, ESF Literacy Program Manager Dresden Frazier Smith has revised and expanded tutor preparation to include a focus on cultural humility by employing antiracism, empathy, and love in their work as tutors. ESF Literacy tutors also take a required course, TEC 401, taught by Dr. Onllwyn Dixon, that includes a focus on literacy techniques and unpacking one’s assumptions about identities, learning, and community.
Year-round support that benefits community
For over 15 years, Dr. Helen Maniates has used a collaborative leadership model to co-lead the USF/ Heart To Heart/ Mo’MAGIC Summer Literacy program. She and our partner sites adeptly pivoted to on-line teaching this summer to support children, some of whom have attended the summer program since they entered school.
This summer we launched a new summer program, the Summer Academy Program, co-created with Dr. Imène Ghernati and colleagues at Gateway Middle School where educators who have returned to USF to further their education worked as summer school teachers at Gateway.
Our year-round literacy efforts are one way we have committed to support USF to “keep showing up” in the Fillmore. Literacy and Education Equity programming works in tandem to educate USF community members on the history of the Fillmore and uplift community voices in that process. In addition to this, we also:
- Partner with faculty and students to capture the biographies of African American leaders;
- Work with Athletics to provide access to on campus games so families can enjoy campus;
- Celebrate our partnerships by recognizing the labor of our co-educators;
- Participate in national conversations about issues of equity that are fundamental to place-based work.
- And continue to connect faculty who teach Community Engaged Learning courses with Fillmore partners.
The University of San Francisco and the Fillmore have been connected since we moved to this neighborhood after the1906 fire. As the oldest university in San Francisco (est.1855), we have an obligation and responsibility to share resources and recognize the wisdom in community as we inspire and prepare students at USF to pursue lives and careers of ethical public service and the common good. As we continue to build relationships we weave alumni, faculty, staff, students and community together and further solidify that we are inextricably linked with the fabric of San Francisco.