OMA&D Academic Counseling Services

Community Literacy Program

CLP flyer 2014

Are you a UW student interested in helping public school students succeed?  Getting real world experience to deepen your learning and advance your academic and career goals?  Completing classroom hours for the Education, Learning and Society Minor or for application to a Masters in Teaching program?  Improving your research, writing, and collaborative learning and presentation skills?  Are you looking for an opportunity (in the words of Paul Farmer) to “use what you learn to transform yourself and your community”?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, the Community Literacy Program may be just what you’re looking for.

Community Literacy Program (CLP) links English 298A with English 491C (Internship), combining an on-campus seminar with volunteer work in a partner public school. A program flyer is attached and you’ll find more information below and at  There are no prerequisites for either English 298A or English 491C.  Students at all levels of their UW work and from all majors are welcome, and the CLP director often continues working with CLP students in future quarters on independent studies and leadership opportunities.

*Contact the CLP Director Elizabeth Simmons-O’Neill with questions and for add codes at*

In English 298A students meet twice weekly on campus (MW 11:30-1:20) in a seminar focused on learning effective teaching and tutoring methods, exploring some central challenges and opportunities for public education, supporting K-12 students in developing their skill and confidence as writers, and using writing and presentation to inquire into, develop and communicate your thinking about these issues.  English 298 is an Interdisciplinary Writing Course which may be used toward either the “C” (composition) or the “W” (additional writing) requirement. Students may take up to three IWP courses, so you can register for Community Literacy Program even if you’ve previously taken other IWP or “Composition” courses at UW.

In English 491C (Internship; C/NC), you will put what you learn on campus into action, volunteering (4 hours a week, on a schedule you arrange) at a CLP partner public school. Community Literacy Program partners are “high needs” K-12 programs that work closely with the CLP director to create a strong learning community for everyone involved.

For add codes and with questions: contact CLP Director Elizabeth Simmons-O’Neill,




Here are comments from a few recent Community Literacy Programs students and public school partners:

“I’m writing from my first teaching job to thank you for introducing me to many foundational concepts and ideas in education, for sparking my passion for teaching, and for providing me with many practical lesson ideas as well.” — CLP student

“The combination of classroom experience and a wide variety of reflections really pulled everything together and made it feel extremely meaningful. It made me fully aware of what and how I was learning, and the effect it was having on my work in the partner school classrooms.” — CLP student

“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.” — CLP partner school Principal

“Since coming to the U.S., I have been afraid of taking English class because English is not my first language.  With this service learning class, I feel a lot more confidence in learning English.  By having the opportunity to work with bilingual students, I share their experience and I learn with them.” — CLP student

“The career-related writing sequence was so beneficial. We used the skills, knowledge and experience we learned from CLP and applied them to our future careers and/or further education. It was so helpful to learn how to use skills gained via this course instead of thinking it was just another course @ UW.” –- CLP student

“CLP was truly an unparallelled success in my learning here at UW. Never have I experienced a wider range of issues, attitudes, beliefs and people. My new found appreciation for and understanding of education and society stems directly from my experience with CLP and the help, guidance and motivation of Elizabeth.” — CLP student

“I wish I’d known about the CLP reader when I switched from an expensive private school. It covers much of what every new teacher to the school district should read: journal articles and information on school testing, classroom issues, diversity, economic and health issues, students of poverty and much more. It has taken me thirty years working with a wide variety of students and avidly reading about educational issues to work as effectively as I do, and Dr. Simmons-O’Neill has distilled that reading and experience into the CLP class and its reader, sending out students who are strong and effective helpers in the classroom.” – CLP Partner School Librarian


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