Connecting the Dots: EAP & ERWC

Why the Work that Early Assessment Program (EAP) Coordinators Do Is So Relevant to ERWC and its Stakeholders

By Faye Wong

Let us start with a little history of ERWC and EAP.  It all began in the early 2000’s when the California State University (CSU) recognized that first-time students were “lacking” college readiness to be successful. In 2003 with the support of the CSU Chancellor’s Office, a contingent of CSU faculty, high school teachers, and high school administrators began developing and creating the first ERWC instructional modules. The CSU Center for the Advancement of Reading and Writing soon joined the project in order to provide administrative support for implementing and evaluating the pilot curriculum.

In October 2003, the CSU made the Early Assessment Program (EAP) a reality. EAP is a collaborative effort between the California State University (CSU), the California Department of Education (CDE), and the State Board of Education (SBE). The EAP educates and collaborates with districts and high school administrators, counselors, students, and parents on college readiness, academic preparation, and promoting the connection and importance of ERWC and 4th year quantitative reasoning math.

While the CSU has evolved over the years to become a student-ready university system that rejects deficit views of learning and learners, the goal of EAP has remained the same: to provide all entering CSU students with the opportunity and support needed to be successful in college-level coursework.

“Good academic preparation in high school is paramount for the success of a student in college, especially during their first year. It heavily influences college persistence, engagement, success, and ultimately timely graduation for students.”

Lesley Davidson-Boyd, Ph.D.
Associate Vice President
Academic Success & Undergraduate Advising
California State University, San Bernardino

A Small Glimpse into the Work that EAP Coordinators Do Behind-the-Scenes that Helps Make ERWC Happen 

All 23 CSU EAP coordinators work tirelessly promoting the ERWC curriculum and workshops that are offered in each region. EAP coordinators are the backbone/cornerstone for ERWC information/resources and workshops for districts and high schools. We provide the direct link for districts and high schools as they move towards adopting ERWC and student success. 

“EAP coordinators play a vital role both on campus and in the K-12 arena disseminating information on ERWC and other CSU initiatives that focus on student success. They are crucial in creating a pipeline of college bound students who will thrive at the CSU.”

Jyothi Bathina, Ph.D.
CSU Center for the Advancement of Reading and Writing (CAR/W)

EAP coordinators can also work in partnership with the ERWC County Office of Education (COE) Regional Leads, except for LA County CSU campuses, to host ERWC workshops. Each region’s collaboration is unique, depending on the amount of involvement EAP coordinators and County Regional Leads have. 

For instance, in my region, CSU San Bernardino (Inland Empire), an agreement was made with the COE as to who will set-up workshop dates with high school districts and trainers, find locations to host workshops, determine main contacts for questions and concerns, promote ERWC workshops, and recruit English teachers to attend the professional learning sessions. From there, planning with the workshop trainers for each day of the workshop begins. 

Handouts and materials need to be confirmed and made ready for each workshop day. On the day of each workshop, arrival time is 1-2 hours earlier. This early arrival time will ensure that the facility is set-up and ready for trainers and teachers, that books and materials are ready, food has arrived, and we’re ready to trouble shoot during workshop. At the end of each workshop day, clean-up begins, and then we start this cycle again for the next workshop.

“Asking an ERWC workshop facilitator to describe the role her EAP coordinator plays is like asking Space Shuttle Astronauts what role the Launch Director plays.

While I am no NASA astronaut, I do believe Faye can run a small country.  As an English teacher, I struggle with titles that don’t adequately encompass the purpose and scope of a job, so it took me a few years of well-oiled workshops to fully grasp the role of ‘EAP Coordinator’; Faye organizes and coordinates the launch, the pilots and the shuttle, ensuring a smooth mission from start to end so that we can, in her words, focus on a high-quality workshop, facilitated with fidelity.”

Cara Ramsay
M.A. Rhetoric and Composition
English Instructor
ERWC Facilitator

In addition to ERWC workshops, EAP coordinators also work endlessly to support districts and high schools in adopting the 11th and 12th grade ERWC curriculum, ensuring that all ERWC adopted high schools UC Doorways CMP course name and transcript abbreviations are correct and that CALPADS code is listed correctly. 

EAP Coordinators Rosie Villafana-Hatcher-SDSU (L), Faye Wong-CSUSB (C), Xiomara Melendez-CCP (R) presenting at the 2022 ERWC Literacy and Leadership Conference

This is just the beginning of what EAP coordinators provides for ERWC and stakeholders. Again, each region might operate slightly different, but every region has the same goal–college readiness and academic preparation for students to succeed in college and life. To say that EAP coordinators work has a huge impact on ERWC is just the tip of the iceberg…they should be acknowledged for the 20 plus years of diligent work they do daily for ERWC and stakeholders.

Faye Wong is the Early Assessment Program (EAP) Coordinator at California State University San Bernardino. EAP promotes college readiness, academic preparation, and success. For the past 17 years, Faye has provided information on academic preparation, college readiness, Expository Reading and Writing Course (ERWC), 4th year math, Early Start Program (ESP), CSU Placement, and Multiple Measures to administrators, counselors, teachers, students, and parents in over 40 high school districts throughout the Riverside and San Bernardino Counties. Faye holds a Bachelor’s degree in Child Development from California State University Fullerton and was previously a Program Administrator in the Orange County Department of Education. She has presented at the Hawaii International Conference on Education on school-related issues.

NOTE: Please consider submitting a proposal to present at this year’s ERWC Literacy Conference, to be held June 20th in Sacramento and June 26th in Pomona. Cal State University pays travel costs for selected presenters. See the Call for Presenters here.

Conference registration is now open!

2023 CATE Convention: The ERWC Strand

By Chris Street

This year’s CATE Convention is set in beautiful Monterey, and the theme for 2023 is “Sea Changes: Traditions and Transformations in California English Language Arts.” If you have not yet registered for the conference (Friday, March 3rd through Sunday, March 5th), please see your registration options.  And if you will be attending the conference, check out this helpful video before you arrive: Know Before You Go .

CATE 2023 provides a special opportunity to engage with ERWC teacher leaders, steering committee members, and your ERWC colleagues as we all look forward to an exciting series of ERWC-focused sessions. This year, we have a record 11 sessions in the ERWC strand. Consider attending some of the ERWC sessions, all of which exemplify the ways in which equitable learning opportunities are nurtured and sustained through ERWC’s rhetorical approach to literacy and language learning. 

Please join our ERWC community in Monterey as we embrace this opportunity to learn from one another, share best practices, and engage in professional learning together in this beautiful seaside setting. Watch for an announcement about a Saturday evening ERWC reception, too.

And new this year will be the addition of an ERWC booth in the exhibit hall. Join us at the ERWC booth to connect with ERWC Steering Committee members, teacher leaders, and your colleagues for the latest ERWC information, give aways, and more!

Please share the save-the-date flyer and Call for Presenters for this summer’s annual ERWC literacy conferences with interested colleagues.

Chris Street is a Professor of Secondary Education at California State University, Fullerton. He helps lead the statewide implementation of ERWC as a professional learning facilitator, module author, and member of the ERWC Steering Committee.

ERWC 20th Anniversary: 2003-2023

By Jennifer Fletcher

My earliest memory of ERWC dates back to the fall of 2004. I’m not even sure if I knew the curriculum by the name ERWC at that time, but I was aware that California State University was developing a new partnership with high school teachers and I wanted to be a part of it. I remember going to a workshop at Cal Poly Pomona, one of the first professional learning sessions I attended following the birth of my son who was about a year old at that time. I had been teaching high school English for around eight years and was ready for a new challenge.

It was exciting to be back in a room full of colleagues talking about ideas. There was a sense that something special was happening. There were tables around the periphery of the room on which were displayed intriguing reading selections from college English courses, and we browsed the selections while discussing the ways they differed from the traditional literature textbooks we used in our high school English classes. The texts and topics were fresh and provocative. The facilitators (one of whom I’m sure must have been John Edlund although I hadn’t met him yet) talked about rhetorical reading and writing–literacy practices I didn’t know much about. I also didn’t know my life was about to change.

A year later, after learning more about ERWC and helping to facilitate some of the earliest ERWC workshops, I was invited to join “Task Force 12,” the first iteration of what is now the ERWC Steering Committee. This time, I was returning to work after the birth of our second child. I joke that I’ve been in a committed relationship with ERWC ever since. My own kids are roughly the same age as ERWC, and I look back on those early years with a sense of overwhelming gratitude for the gifts and transformations that followed.

Celebrating 20 years of ERWC!

Two decades later, we’re now preparing to celebrate 20 years as an ERWC community. While the first edition of the curriculum wasn’t officially published until 2007 (ERWC oldtimers remember the “DRAFT” modules released in 2004), the roots of our multi-state literacy network date back to the summer of 2003, when John Edlund, a professor of rhetoric at Cal Poly Pomona, assembled a task force to create an instructional intervention that would prepare more high school students for college reading and writing. That original task force evolved into an advisory board and, later, a steering committee that now helps design and implement ERWC curriculum and professional learning experiences in five states: California, Washington, Hawaii, New Mexico, and West Virginia. In California alone, ERWC grade 11 and 12 courses have been adopted by almost 1,000 high schools. Our work has helped two generations of students (see the WestEd reports from 2015 and 2022 for the positive impact ERWC has had on students and teachers).

We couldn’t have reached these milestones without you, our ERWC family. The ERWC story has always been a story of community and collaboration. We pride ourselves on being a grass-roots initiative sustained by local educational leaders. We’re grateful and honored that so many of you have found a professional home in the ERWC literacy network, and we look forward to gathering as a community in June to celebrate all that we’ve accomplished together.

2023 ERWC Literacy Conference: The Anniversary Edition

This year’s “platinum edition” of the ERWC Literacy Conference will be a special opportunity to reflect on where we’ve been and continue working toward the equitable learning outcomes we’ve pursued all along. The theme for 2023 is “Doing Language: Rhetoric, Identity, and Power.” We’re thrilled to announce Lamar L. Johnson, author of Critical Race English Education, as our keynote speaker. Please save the date for the conference in your region (June 20th for Northern California and June 26th for Southern California) and watch for the Call for Presenters and registration links to open soon. See the preview of the CFP below.

So happy anniversary, ERWC colleagues! We’re thankful to be on this journey together.

Please share the save-the-date flyer with interested colleagues.

Preview of Call for Presenters for the 2023 ERWC Literacy Conference

June 20, Sacramento

June 26, Pomona

“This is precisely the time when artists go to work. There is no time for despair, no time for self-pity, no need for silence, no room for fear. We speak, we write, we do language. That is how civilizations heal.”

–Toni Morrison

Theme: “Doing Language: Rhetoric, Identity, and Power”

What is an ERWC approach to language learning? Language teaching is an opportunity to be culturally sustaining while also developing students’ abilities with new forms of language in new contexts for new purposes. Our profession is engaged in an ongoing conversation about ways of “doing language” in the classroom and beyond inspired by the following kinds of questions:

  • How can educators work toward linguistic justice?
  • How can we help all students adapt and apply the rhetorical ways of “doing language” they bring to our classrooms to diverse contexts? 
  • What are the relationships among language, social identity, and power? 
  • How are language and learning connected? 
  • How is language development related to literacy development?  
  • How do language choices create particular kinds of connections between rhetor and audience? 
  • How does rhetorical knowledge help students understand social identity and power relations?

The 2023 ERWC Literacy Conference will address such questions by showcasing best practices for fostering students’ language development through a rhetorical approach to texts. We especially invite teachers who are using ERWC 3.0 modules with integrated and designated English language development to share what they’ve learned about how to make the curriculum and its culturally and linguistically sustaining pedagogies work for their students. Sessions on specific language-focused activities aligned with California’s ELD Standards, multimodal composition, or course design are particularly welcome. Proposals may address any of the following topics:

  • Languaging, translanguaging, identity, and audience
  • Linguistic justice
  • Teaching language for transfer (including success on the ELPAC)
  • Language building through collaborative discussions
  • Civil discourse in times of discord
  • Language focus on literature
  • Crafting style for rhetorical purpose
  • Learning how English works
  • Building language-focused activities across the arc with the High Impact Strategies Toolkit
  • Fostering language awareness and exploration
  • Sequencing language-focused activities
  • Sample instructional pathways
  • Visual literacy
  • Language, UDL, and multiple means of expression and representation
  • Planning lessons with language in mind
  • Language, communication, and authenticity in the age of AI

Concurrent break-out sessions will be 75 minutes long.

Jennifer Fletcher is a Professor of English at California State University, Monterey Bay and a former high school teacher. She serves as the Chair of the ERWC Steering Committee. You can follow her on Twitter @JenJFletcher.

Is It Time for an ERWC Tune-Up?

Editor’s Note: California State University is hosting its annual in-person literacy conferences June 20th in Sacramento and June 26th in Pomona. The theme for this year’s event is “Doing Language: Rhetoric, Identity, and Power.” All are welcome! Sessions feature strategies for integrated and designated English language development, fostering linguistic and rhetorical agility, and promoting equity and inclusion. The $75 registration fee includes lunch and a choice of location and date.

By Jennifer Fletcher

Happy New Year, ERWC colleagues! 2023 marks the 20th anniversary of the inception of Cal State University’s Expository Reading and Writing Curriculum, a milestone we’ll be marking in multiple ways in the coming months. We hope you’ll join us for our spring webinars and June conference as we celebrate two decades as a community of practice dedicated to the success of all students.

We’re also continuing to celebrate the expansion of ERWC through the third edition of the curriculum. We think of ERWC 3.0 as the equity upgrade: the version of the curriculum that gets us closer to fulfilling our commitment to inclusive learning experiences, relevant issues, and representative texts. To paraphrase a certain organization for retirees that keeps contacting me now that I’m in my 50s, if you don’t know ERWC 3.0, you don’t know ERWC.

Here’s a quick test to see if an update session is right for you: Which of the following images represents the version of the curriculum you know best? (And if your idea of ERWC doesn’t go beyond a set of modules with “DRAFT” watermarked all over them, then we’d really love to see you in an update session!)

If you’re already team purple, you can probably stop reading here. But if you’re team blue/taupe, then we have some updates we’d like to share with you. For instance, did you know that ERWC has published new sample student essays with scores and commentary, new resources on writing and transfer, and new modules for grades 9-12? Or a new mini-module reader and customizable reader? If not, it might be time for an ERWC 3.0 tune-up.

What’s New?

In addition to dozens of new modules (including some just published in 2022), our professional resources for teachers have also been revised and expanded for the third edition to explicitly address integrated and designated English language development, Universal Design for Learning, culturally and linguistically sustaining pedagogies, and rhetorical knowledge needed for transfer. A new “Theoretical Foundations” resource was likewise created for the third edition.

Some more things that are new about ERWC:

  • A redesigned website
  • New student essays with scores and commentary for ERWC 3.0 modules
  • New modules with Integrated and Designated ELD
  • A new grade 11 course
  • High Impact Strategies Toolkit to Support English Learners
  • Free literacy webinar series
  • Teacher blog 
  • Newly released 3.0 modules, such as “Community Activism”
  • The return of in-person June literacy conferences
  • Expanded ERWC strand at CATE
  • New resources for writing instruction (Rhetorical Concepts & Adopting a Mentoring Stance)
  • New rubrics for assessment
  • New edition of They Say, I Say
  • Increasing focus on strategies for expert learners in modules
  • More tools (and flexibility) for semester- and year-long planning

Attending an ERWC 3.0 update session is a great way for teachers and administrators to give their curriculum the “equity upgrade” enacted by ERWC’s expanded frameworks, curriculum, and resources. We hope you’ll consider registering (or encouraging a colleague to register) for one of ERWC’s free update sessions soon if you haven’t already heard about all the changes to ERWC in the past few years. We’d love to connect with you in person or online and hear what’s new with you, too!

PS to folks in Monterey County, Santa Cruz County, and San Benito County: I’m super excited to be facilitating my first in-person ERWC update session since 2019 next month. If you know teachers and administrators who might be interested in joining us for two Saturday workshops at CSU Monterey Bay, please help spread the word. Registration closes February 10, 2023.

Jennifer Fletcher is a Professor of English at California State University, Monterey Bay and a former high school teacher. She serves as the Chair of the ERWC Steering Committee. You can follow her on Twitter @JenJFletcher.

ERWC and Teacher Preparation

By Amy K. Conley

What do K-12 administrators, literacy instructors, and literacy researchers think should be included in literacy coursework?

I have taught the CSU Expository Reading and Writing Curriculum (ERWC) for more than a decade, but I didn’t expect my experience as an ERWC teacher and facilitator to be so relevant in my recent EdD dissertation. I surveyed 233 California K-12 administrators, literacy instructors of preservice teachers, and literacy researchers to ask what should be included in literacy coursework to eventually replace the Reading Instruction Competency Assessment required for new elementary and special education teachers.

After the survey, I used focus groups to really delve into what participants thought should be included in literacy coursework for preservice teachers.

I was surprised when the three big takeaways about the needs in preservice literacy instruction also resonated with what teachers have told me in ERWC certification workshops. Preservice teachers need less standardized testing and more instruction in these areas:

  1. Culturally sustaining pedagogy for both methods and materials
  2. Supporting foundational literacy, especially for older readers, based upon a focus on phonemic awareness, phonics, morphology, and writing
  3. All teachers need more support in teaching writing. Being able to write is not the same as being able to teach writing.

In the ERWC community, we discuss the recursive nature of reading and writing, but that research-based idea holds true for every level of reader and writer. To grow reading, students need to use the language to write, whether we call those related ideas orthographic mapping, reflective writing, or revising rhetorically. To grow writing, students need to decode independently, get a chance to acquire academic language, and learn to read rhetorically.

There is also a growing realization in all levels of education that everything we do must be culturally sustaining. It must be the sea in which our students swim, not an add-on. ERWC has long tried to create modules with engaging topics, with support for emergent bilinguals, but is now actively considering how best to incorporate home languages, empowering topics, translanguaging, and diverse authors into its profusion of modules for teachers to choose from to meet student needs.

ERWC has long been a professional development model to support high school teachers and students. It’s interesting to see how it could translate to work with preservice high school and middle school teachers.

You can read in more detail what stakeholders think should be included in literacy preservice coursework in the executive summary. Please see the updated “Theoretical Foundations for Reading and Writing Rhetorically” for more information on ERWC’s efforts to create more inclusive and representative learning experiences.

Amy K. Conley is a lecturer and supervisor at Cal Poly Humboldt in literacy in the education department. She served as a high school English teacher for 20 years, where she worked to promote educational programs that foster excellence in service-learning, literacy, and equity. Her dissertation for her doctorate in educational leadership from CSU, Fresno examined what stakeholders believe should be included in a coursework replacement to the Reading Instructional Competency Assessment.