Each year, College Spark Washington funds programs across Washington state that help low-income students become college-ready, transition successfully to college, and earn their degrees. For 2015-2017, the UW English department was selected to receive a $150,000 College Spark grant to extend its outreach and community partnership work, in this case by collaborating with high school English teachers to develop 10th and 11th grade curricula that prepares low income students for success in UW in the High School English courses.
Led by English department professor Anis Bawarshi, UW in the High School director Tim Stetter, and English department graduate students Jaclyn Fiscus, Olivia Hernandez, and Roger Chao, this project works in partnership with teachers at four Washington high schools: Franklin, Granger, Manson, and Othello. Through site visits, workshops, and the sharing of resources, grant partners have collaboratively developed and implemented a supplementary curriculum to address three main challenges students and teachers face in preparing for college-level writing: 1) Developing a shared vocabulary about reading and writing that students will be able to use to reflect on, monitor, and assess their own learning; 2) Creating opportunities for students to develop a more specific understanding of what college writing classes are and how what they are learning in 10th and 11th grade English classes provides building blocks towards college writing; and 3) Building student confidence and addressing the emotional aspects of writing development.
In summer 2017 the grant team will analyze data from student surveys and reflection papers in order to assess the impact of the supplementary curriculum and share findings with local organizations and at national conferences. The English department congratulates our grant team and thanks them heartily for their good work in the community.