The second presentation as part of the CSU Department of English speaker series, “the Literacies of Contemporary Civic Life,” was given by Mark Gomez, Patricia Hanson, and Katie Rainge-Briggs. They co-founded the Schools for Community Action in South Central Los Angeles and are all current classroom teachers. Their talk, “Schools for Community Action: Addressing the Lived Realities of Inner-City Youth,” covered their classroom strategies and integrated school design model.

Antero Garcia had this to say about the presentation, “we had an awesome turnout at our second event as part of the Literacies of Contemporary Civic Life speaker series at CSU. Mark Gomez, Patricia Hanson, and Katie Rainge-Briggs shared their powerful work at the Schools for Community Action. They had an interactive presentation that involved researching issues local to Fort Collins and presenting elevator pitches for sustainable change. The work was engaging and a fun change of pace from the traditional academic mode of presentation. Their presentation can be viewed below (though if you find the small-group activity a bit dizzying, I encourage you to skip to around minute 44 when they do some larger wrap-up in a traditional format).”

Here’s a video of this presentation.

English Department Communications Intern Brianna Wilkins attended the presentation, and has this to share:

The lively sounds coming from inside of Clark A205 were a bit a bit of a shock, as I prepared myself to enter the room of full of educators and students interested in learning about civic literacy. One would think that at 5:30 pm, people would be tired after a long day of school and work, but everyone was as vibrant as ever, anticipating the presenters for the evening. The Speaker Series on February 18, 2014, featured three teachers from Los Angeles, California.

Hanson, Rainge-Briggs and Gomez
Hanson, Rainge-Briggs and Gomez

The teachers who presented are Mark Gomez, Patricia Rainge and Katie Rainge – Briggs, all teach at three different schools that are situated together on one property. Gomez teaches at the Critical Design and Gaming School, also known as DAGS; there the primary focus is on transforming the community. Hanson is a teacher at the Community Health Advocates School, which goes by CHAS for short; there they partner with local organizations such as the St. John’s Clinic, focusing on ways to make the community a better place to live. Rainge – Briggs teaches at the Responsible Indigenous Social Entrepreneurial School, better known as RISE; they focus more on professional development amongst minorities. Students at all three schools are involved in hands on learning activities in their classes, which allow them to work together as a team in a learning environment that encourages them to think outside of the box.

There had to be at least 60 people in attendance on Tuesday, and the majority were students who were eager to learn about the different learning methods that were being presented. They focused on teaching us about civic literacy by focusing on three categories; design & land use, economic development or re-development and community health. Instead of just talking at us the entire time, they came up with a neat group activity that had us interacting with each other. In groups of 4-6 people, we had to search the room for hidden QR codes, and then scan them to see what they were about. From there we went on to discuss the ways in which we could persuade parents, teachers, and community members to get involved with students by using the information that was presented from the QR codes.

It was great to see everyone interact, and come together to brainstorm ideas that could promote the advancement of students, mainly in urban neighborhoods. I know that I enjoyed being active, and meeting different people who are just as excited about as I am about educating the youth; if you feel the same way then you should definitely join the fun. It’s not too late to attend; there are two more speaker series left, one on March 4th, and the other on the 11th. This series will not only engage your mind, but it will allow you to see education and teaching in ways that you’ve never thought possible.

~Brianna Wilkins

More about this series: Throughout the spring semester the department will host nationally recognized literacies-based researchers and educators to discuss how literacy and youth civic participation intersect from varying, interdisciplinary perspectives. The speakers will be presenting their work and engaging in dialogue from 5:30-6:30, followed by a brief reception. These events are free and open to the public. All of the speakers will be presenting at the CSU campus in Clark A 205.