Seattle Public Schools

Family Resource Hub

Early Literacy Collaborative

Early Literacy Collaborative

Literacy is more than reading at school, but home- and community-based knowledge grounded in culture, history, and language. This is a learning practice that crystalizes when students, families, educators, and leaders are integrated together in the work. This effort centers family and student knowledge uplifting insights on sustaining Black boy joy in literacy. This on-going imitative informs professional learning and measurement for the district’s early literacy strategy.

Join us

Families of Black boys at Emerson, and Olympic Hills and Wing Luke elementary schools are invited to co-create this leadership space. Here we invoke Dr. King’s “beloved community” an environment where we build relationships around stories and celebrate the diversity of the Black experience. The Office of African American Male Achievement (AAMA) and the University of Washington, College of Education have partnered in the expansion of this literacy initiative to the 2022-23 and 2023-24 academic years.

What to expect

Designing from the experiences of families and students is a means to shift power and bring about instructional change benefiting students, educators, families and our school system. Participating families receive a stipend for their time and expertise across a range of meeting structures:

  1. Families and students gather to design around home-based practices that nurture student identity and literacy development
  2. Educators learn from families and students about home-based literacy practices, then design lesson plans based and share back for feedback.
  3. Facilitators and analysts support systemwide learning (e.g., developing a professional development or creating new routines to sustain parent connections and influence).

What we are learning so far

This effort has co-created a definition of literacy, surfaced home-based literacy practices, and brought educators into conversation with parents’ practices and hopes for their students’ literacy and schooling experiences. Sessions with families and students include: (a) culturally grounded teaching and learning about Black culture, history and language, (b) increased opportunities to learn with and from Black educators and communities, (c) identity affirming content and conditions, and (d) steady communication between family and teachers.

“I’m really excited to bring these lessons [from families] into next year’s professional learning plans… All these ideas that have surfaced, I’m really appreciating them, and documenting them for myself so I can communicate with others. Thank you!” –Educator at Emerson.

For more information and school-based tools, check out our educator resource and the full research report from 2021-22 co-design cycle at Emerson and Olympic Hills. For any inquiries, please email Dr. Sefanit Habtom at