Enhancing Youth Literacy: Service in K-12 Settings

Instructor Name: 
Zapoura Newton-Calvert
Course Description: 

The Enhancing Youth Literacy Capstone has been partnering with local schools and educational organizations since Fall 2002 to support literacy learning in Title I schools (K-8) and alternative school settings (grades 9-12) in the forms of math, science, reading, and critical thinking. The course is a forum for student learning on social responsibility and ethical reasoning in the context of the public education system (local and national) and the intersection between child development and social structures, social justice, and public policy (local and national). 

The overarching goal of this course is to invite students into a community of practice as community members, voters, parents/family members, future teachers, and/or advocates for children and education.  Students serve as mentors and/or tutors or teachers in small group settings, classrooms, or one-on-one.  Community partners currently include the following:


  • James John School (K-5) SUN Program: M-Th, afterschool program
  • Parkrose High School SUN Program & Tutoring Center: M-Th, afternoon school hours and afterschool tutoring
  • Portland Youth Builders Tutoring: M-Th, 8:00-3:00, flexible hours
  • NW Housing Alternatives Youth Programming at Springwater Commons (preschool & elementary students), Wednesdays 2:00-5:00




    Course Goals

    As members of the Enhancing Youth Literacy learning community, students will

    1. Become familiar with key issues in local education, national education, and education policy.
    2. Identify processes, core concepts, and modes of action and engagement relevant to the key issues in education discussed in class.
    3. Empower themselves and each other to apply knowledge in those key issues as informed action in the community.
    4. Apply these civic engagement skills within hands-on community partner placement experiences and beyond (either within education or other key social justice issues impacting our community).

    Through the course goals and outcomes, students will engage deeply with learning in the four key University Studies goals: inquiry and critical thinking, communication, diversity of human experience, and ethics and social responsibility.