City Year Literacy Month: Spotlight on City Year’s Site Literacy Capacity Program

Improving the literacy skills of the students with whom we work is essential to ending the drop out crisis.  How do we improve literacy skills for students who may need to see multiple years’ growth in a short time? We must have a well-trained staff able to guide and train our corps members to use their time effectively with students to implement research-based interventions.

So, how does City Year ensure that our staff and Corps Members are ready for this important and challenging work?

The Site Literacy Capacity Program (SLCP)!

The SLCP is a Wal-Mart sponsored program that strengthens City Year’s literacy capabilities. Through the guidance and support of Regional Literacy Trainers (RLTs), the program develops a team of internal literacy leaders among staff at each City Year location called Site Literacy Leads (SLLs). The RLTs are literacy experts from across the country who work closely with the SLLs at each City Year location to provide literacy training and technical assistance.

We would like to introduce you to this talented team:


What was your background prior to your RLT position?

Lynette Herring-Harris, Midwest Regional Literacy Trainer: I have spent over 30 years serving public schools and students from the elementary to the university level.

Dr. Jacqueline Zeig, Southeast Regional Literacy Trainer: Formerly a Lecturer at the University of Florida and Director of America Reads (federally work-study program that provides tutoring to at-risk youth), State-level reading professional development coordinator for Florida, teacher.

Dr. Sheelah M. Sweeny, Northeast Regional Literacy Trainer: Prior to joining PCG Education as an educational consultant I was an assistant professor at Northeastern University.

Why is literacy an important life skill?

Lynette Herring-Harris: For me, literacy is important because it provides us with the skills we need to be developers of our own knowledge, partners in dialogues about our own lives, and the authors of our own learning. When I read, my sense of the world and my place in it change.

Dr. Jacqueline Zeig: In the 21st century, now more than ever, literacy permeates our everyday life. Literacy involves reading, writing, speaking, viewing, listening, and thinking. Literacy, in this sense, allows us to communicate in multiple and varied ways to learn, express, entertain, excite and grow as individuals.

Dr. Sheelah M. Sweeny: Literacy is the foundation of all communication, and in this digital age it is more important than ever for all people to have the skills necessary to function in a literacy dense environment. That means people need to be able to read critically in order to fully understand what others are saying and to write effectively in order to communicate their message.

What do you hope to accomplish this year as an RLT?

Lynette Herring-Harris: My goal for the upcoming year is to build meaningful working relationships with SLLs as we build the capacity of their site’s staff and corps members to provide effective Tier 1 and Tier 2 instruction.

Dr. Jacqueline Zeig: My goal for this year is to take all the data that we have collected around the context of the sites, observations, corps member feedback, staff input to support sites in developing a strategic training plan for the remainder of this year and begin setting long term goals for next year.

Dr. Sheelah M. Sweeny: During this first year of the SLCP, I want to work with SLLs to create a heightened awareness of the importance of literacy instruction at each City Year site I support. I’ve been working with each site to understand the way in which corps members are utilized in the schools and have tailored my support to fit the needs of each site.

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