MARLENE SALAS AND CHAPMAN PRESIDENT JAMES DOTI AT THE KLEIN YOUTH SCHOLARS LUNCHEON, ONE OF THE MULTIPLE EVENTS THAT OSBORN HELPS FACILITATE.
By Olivia Siegel
It’s no surprise that Chapman professors load themselves with work outside of their classes. Professors Jan Osborn and Noah Golden have been working tirelessly to increase the education level of young students in the OC community.
Osborn, linguistics and humanomics professor, dedicates her time outside of her classes to strengthening the community around Chapman by increasing levels of literacy.
Osborn has done a vast amount of work with the students of Orange High School, creating programs that bring those students onto the Chapman campus, an area that seems so segregated from the High School, yet shares the same space within Orange.
“Orange High is our neighbor and we’re in their community. It’s so important to welcome them to campus. It’s a title one school, with lots of socio-economic needs,” said Osborn. “I’ve been working with Orange High the entire time we’ve been here. I think it’s the kind of work we need to do, if we’re walled off, a vacuum, it’s not good for us or for the community.”
Osborn began her desire to work with Orange High after working as a K-12 teacher. Her experience in a low socio-economic environment triggered her need to continue that work, even when she moved on to the collegiate level.
“Being a public school teacher changed my life. When I came to Chapman, I only came knowing I couldn’t turn my back on that; it’s too important. I think it’s important that universities turn to people that might not automatically think that there is a place for them,” she said.
And creating a place is exactly what Osborn does. Her programs work with students of Orange High to create events on Chapman’s campus as a place for their extended learning.
Every spring Chapman holds a creative writing workshop, inviting the students to campus to work with professors, providing them with opportunities outside of the high school.
“We like having all grades in the workshop, but the thing is, it’s all voluntary, they get no credit. They want to learn. We can offer that, and we want to learn from them, and through that we learn about our community and it’s needs and strengths when we work with these kids,” said Osborn. “They’re a strength to us. They come because they’re hungry to learn and they just need an invitation.”
Osborn is also planning for the students to come explore the Esscelet Art collection on the 4th floor of Beckman Hall, allowing the more artistic students to have an experience at Chapman as well.
“Suddenly we’re doing a better job of having all parts of the university reaching out. We’re not going to Orange High to think that ‘oh we’re fabulous.’ We’re a community; we’re a partnership both students benefit from,” she said.
Osborn also partners with local community colleges around Chapman including Santa Ana College, Santiago Canyon College and Citrus College. The students are invited to Chapman’s campus through the Orange County Literacy Society. About once a month well-known authors come to meet with the students in an intimate session to engage in conversation about their work. Each student is given a free book, free transportation, and a free lunch.
“For some of these students, it’s the first book they’ve ever owned outside of a textbook,” said Osborn.
The work Osborn is doing is undoubtedly strengthening Chapman’s community and the Orange community as a whole, making more connections between the two schools that are unnecessarily segregated.
Although Osborn has made a massive impact on these students – she could use some help. If you are interested in working with the students within the OC Literacy Society, or Orange High, contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org
A GROUP OF STUDENTS FROM THE OC LITERARY SOCIETY WITH AUTHOR NANCY HORAN.
Golden, in his first year at Chapman, is also busy teaching social construction of differences within the IES department at Chapman. He got his start in education working in K-12 for 15 years. Golden worked at a second chance high school in Bronx, NY called Schomburg Satellite Academy. His experience within the school opened up a world to him that he had never prior seen.
“The school acted as a second chance school for whatever reason the students weren’t successful in their first or second high school,” said Golden. “Because of family issues, issues with law, whether they were arrested, sometimes gay or lesbian students and were harassed in former schools. Most of students were tired of being treated like a number. There was a real disconnect in their previous schools between the school and themselves as a student.”
Golden’s work at Schomburg created the sense in him that made him strive to teach about social change, especially within education. He then began his work as a literacy coach for students that needed the extra hand outside of the classroom.
PROFESSOR NOAH GOLDEN SPEAKING AT THE WALK IN MY SHOES CONFERENCE.
Only in his first year at Chapman, and he is already involved in partnerships with other professors. Golden is currently working with Professor Quaylan Allen on the “Walk in My Shoes” conference.
It is a youth conference held at UC Irvine this year. Young students from local high schools and their teachers come to the conference as a way to discuss the school to prison pipeline.
“Schools are in some way set up so there are connections from institutions of schools to prison institutions. It’s a metaphor of the connection being a pipeline, we need to interrupt pushing students into prisons, and push them into their own dreams,” Golden said.
Students of color are in particular subject into prevalent stereotypes that prevent them from becoming who they could be. Funding for prisons has gone up much more than funding for schools the past several years.
“If you create more space for prisons, then they’re going to find ways to fill them,” he said.
The issue that Golden and Allen are trying to present is fighting the zero tolerance rule. Schools often punish kids, especially those of color, for making one mistake, seeing them as ‘problem students’ and feeling that they must be given severe punishment after one infraction. Police officers have been seen in schools implicating this rule, taking students out in handcuffs for mouthing off to their teachers.
Golden hopes to raise awareness about this issue, to work with teachers to discuss ways to stop the pipeline- helping students to follow their dreams, and decrease the growing population of young people within prisons.