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Inventive Literacy Strategies Help CISC Tackle Coronavirus (Part 2)

by School's Out Washington | | Posted under Best Starts for Kids OST, BSK Spotlight Grantee

Learn about the great work that Chinese Information Services has historically done by reading Part 1, written before the coronavirus pandemic. 

Chinese Information Service Center (CISC) employs many strategies to support newly-arrived families. For youth, this looks like sharing myriad opportunities to explore what life is like in the US. Students learn how to make muffins, tacos, and Korean food. They take field trips to Microsoft and the Pacific Science Center. They learn about the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and about the political history of Seattle’s Chinatown and Chinese-American culture. Parents participate in these cultural immersion events, and also attend parenting workshops which help them navigate social services and identify the difference between the school systems in China and the US. The remarkable academic results CISC fosters year after year are possible because of their dedication to engaging the whole family, and centering their shared Chinese culture.  

This holistic cultural enrichment benefits the English literacy of youth served by CISC, and ensures that their families are engaged in both the learning process and in the services provided by the organization. But the coronavirus pandemic requires an unprecedented effort to intentionally support whole families-- how is CISC responding to this crisis?


Personalized tutelage: Bi-lingual reading specialist helps to empower a student in reading before the group reading session with her classmates.

By increasing their services! All of the learning that they've done over the many years of supporting young people has influenced a quick, adaptive strategy to continue to engage their kids. Since the Stay at Home order eliminated the possibility for in-person literacy programming, the organization has moved to virtual sessions like many other providers. Remarkably, they serve more youth for more days a week for more hours for more weeks of the year. Not only is the volume of programming a triumph, but the content remains as impactful and expertly-crafted as ever. CISC provides weekly individual as well as group tutoring, weekly at-home packets, and maintains their weekly STEM programming and monthly cultural activities. This rapid and responsive change in youth programming is not the only bright spot for the organization right now—they are also serving as a hub of family support by providing basic needs, facilitating conversations between schools and families, and providing resources to families to help address kids’ social emotional needs as they deal with the stress and upheaval of quarantine. Whether it’s finding creative strategies to meet a student’s unique needs in learning English or serving their community during a global crisis, CISC demonstrates creativity, compassion, and confidence in all that they do. 

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