A Year of Literacy Highlights

This week’s blog previews Engage San Francisco (ESF) Literacy’s Year End Report detailing the program’s impact on their partner schools for the 2020-21 academic year. Literacy Program Coordinator, Dresden Frazier-Smith, and Data Science Graduate Assistant, Cassidy Newberry, assess how tutors work with students and support teachers. Read the highlights of Engage San Francisco Literacy’s year and how it remains committed to education in a virtual setting.

Engage San Francisco Literacy, under the McCarthy Center, partnered with three sites this year, Prince Hall Afterschool Program, Rosa Parks Elementary, and Dr. William L. Cobb Elementary to offer virtual tutoring. For San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) partners, tutors worked as teaching assistants providing support to teachers in their online classrooms and chaperoning breakout rooms to increase individualized attention to the children.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the ESF Literacy program pivoted to online in order to stay connected to the community.  It worked closely with the Prince Hall after school program to ensure that their staff were proficient in Zoom and able to deliver an entirely online after school curriculum. Tutors were placed into breakout rooms with children to work one-on-one for   homework and reading. ESF tutors worked as teaching assistants overseen by primary teachers in their online classrooms and chaperones in breakout rooms to provide individualized attention to the children.

Cultural Humility Curriculum

In Fall, the tutors participated in 6+ hour cultural humility curriculum, meeting as a cohort and  completing independent work in preparation. This curriculum prompted tutors to evaluate their role in the Western Addition community and identify how they can enact the McCarthy Center’s values and practice cultural humility by employing antiracism, empathy, and love in their work as tutors.

By the end of the course, tutors were able to identify how to enact the LTMC values and mission in their work as literacy tutors, evaluate the history of oppression in the Western Addition as it relates to the current state of the community, identify antiracist practices to enact in their work, create an actionable definition of empathy to use in their work with children, identify how to enter the community in a culturally humble manner, and identify how to they can employ love as an act of social justice.

Community Speaker Series

In Spring, three McCarthy Center staff members were invited to talk about the Center’s mission and how it is executed. LTMC staff members provided the tutors with a dynamic look at our history as a center and the ways in which we approach community engagement.

Additionally, three community members taught tutors about their work in community. The community guest educators provided a wealth of community-grown knowledge and expertise. Dr. Sheryl Davis, Director of the Human Rights Commission, walked tutors through her journey to the Human Rights Commission, highlighting the ways in which advocacy has defined her professional career. Neva Walker, of Coleman Advocates, touched on the core aspects of community organizing and the power that community holds to exact transformational change at the systemic level. Lastly, Darren Kawaii, Principal of Rosa Parks Elementary, dispelled the idea that children are going to be “behind” post-pandemic, and instead offered the statement that “all learning is learning” and the kids have been and will continue learning.

Read the entire literacy report here.

Engage SF LiteracyHuman Rights CommissionPrince HallRafiki Coalition

Leo T. McCarthy Center • September 14, 2021

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