Community Outreach Partnerships
OneWorld Now! (OWN) offers critical language and leadership training to high school students in the Seattle area, with a mission to serve traditionally underrepresented students, especially students of color from low-income communities.
During the 2018-22 Title VI grant period, the EAC is sponsoring OWN’s Korean language program. In December 2020, OWN Executive Director Jordan Goldwarg shared how this support has helped the program adapt as it strives to maintain accessible learning opportunities during the Covid-19 global pandemic.
While we have seen a steady increase in enrollment in our Korean program in recent years, in 2020-21, thanks unexpectedly to the pandemic, we have seen a true explosion. When the pandemic began in March 2020, we immediately shifted our language classes online. With so many other extracurricular activities cancelled for students, we quickly began receiving inquiries from students who were interested in taking language classes with us, especially in Korean.
In response, we launched short, introductory classes in Spring 2020, which enrolled a total of 20 Korean students from across the country. This was followed by a more intensive online summer program through which students could complete all of Korean 1, earning a year of high school credit, which enrolled a total of 26 students from across the country. Finally, for our 2020-21 after-school program, we have enrolled 79 Korean students across five classes (three Korean 1 and two Korean 2), a 108% increase from last year, when we enrolled 38 students. And once again, we have students from across the country (six states in addition to Washington) enrolled.
The support of the UW East Asia Center helps OWN offer these after-school Korean classes and keep them affordable. Of the participants in OWN’s Korean cohort of 2020-21, at least 44% participate in the federal Free and Reduced Price lunch program, meaning that they will automatically receive a 97.5% discount off of the full OneWorld Now! tuition amount of $3,200 per year, instead paying only $80 per year for a class that awards high school credit. Students not part of the Free and Reduced Price Lunch program are still guaranteed need-based scholarships based on family income. Thanks to the generous support of funders such as the East Asia Center, OneWorld Now! is able to practice fully need-blind admissions, admitting students regardless of their ability to pay.
OWN’s Korean cohort this year is also racially diverse: 46% of students identify as Asian, 16% identify as White, 15% identify as multiracial, 10% identify as Black, 9% identify as Latinx, and 4% declined to self-identify. The East Asia Center’s support helps fund the cost of paying OneWorld Now!’s Korean teachers a fair wage, providing books and classroom supplies, and designing educational field trips to help students learn about Korean culture in the Seattle area (when it is once again safe to do so). It also helps keep class sizes small, typically between 15 and 20 students per class.
For students at OneWorld Now!, Korean classes are just the beginning. Students also have the opportunity to study leadership development for no extra charge by enrolling in a twice-monthly add-on course where they receive training in social-emotional skills, equity discussions, global issues, and public speaking. Students also have the chance to apply for need- and merit-based scholarships to study abroad in South Korea during summer break (health conditions permitting). However, the after-school language program remains the largest and most popular element of the program, and the support of the East Asia Center helps make this program accessible to all students.