Gateways for Incarcerated Youth


Fall 2014, Winter 2015 and Spring 2015 quarters

Taught by

American studies


Participating students are required by the prison to pass a background check in order to work on site.

This program offers Evergreen students the opportunity to co-learn with individuals incarcerated in a maximum-security institution for juvenile males. It is high stakes work that demands consistent engagement—approximately 10-12 hours a week in class and 4-6 hours a week at the institution (including travel time). The learning of students enrolled in this program fuels and is fueled by the learning of the incarcerated students.

A fundamental principle of the Gateways program is that every person has talents given to them at birth and valuable experiences that can contribute to our shared learning. It is our job as human creatures to encourage each other to seek out and develop our passions and gifts. These values are manifested in the practices of popular education, which will serve as both the process and the content of our work. Our goal is to create an environment in which each person becomes empowered to share their knowledge, creativity, values and goals by connecting respectfully with people from other cultural and class backgrounds. All students will wrestle with topics in diversity and social justice alongside other subjects chosen by the incarcerated students—the main feature of popular education is that it empowers those seeking education to be the local experts in shaping their own course of study.

Popular education works through conscientization, the ongoing process of joining with others to give a name to socioeconomic conditions, to reflect critically on those conditions, and thereby to imagine new possibilities for living. In order to do this work successfully, students will practice learning how to meet other learners "where they are at" (literally, in order to better understand the conditions that put some of us in prisons and others in colleges). Students will also develop or hone their skills in contextualizing and analyzing socioeconomic phenomena. Most importantly, students will learn that solidarity does not mean "saving" other people or solving their problems—it means creating conditions that allow them to articulate those problems through genuine dialogue and supporting them as they work toward their own solutions.   

Program participants will have the opportunity to reflect on how different individuals access and manifest their learning as they gain experience in facilitating discussions and workshops. In the process of collectively shaping the Gateways seminar, they will also learn how to organize productive meetings and work through conflict. Each quarter, students will take increasing responsibility for designing, implementing and assessing the program workshops and seminars. Throughout the year we will seek to expand our collective knowledge about various kinds of relative advantage or privilege while continually working to create a space that is welcoming and generative for all learners.

High stakes community-based work requires trust, and trust requires sustained commitment. This program requires that all participants be ready to commit themselves to the program for the entire academic year.

Program Details

Fields of Study

Preparatory for studies or careers in

juvenile justice, education, community work and social work.

Location and Schedule

Campus location



Offered during: Day


Buy books for this program through Greener Bookstore.

Online Learning

Hybrid Online Learning < 25% Delivered Online:

Required Fees

$100 in fall, $150 in winter and spring for overnight field trips.


Date Revision
December 1st, 2014 Winter and spring fees have increased (from $100 to $150).
February 5th, 2014 New opportunity added.

Registration Information

Credits: 16 (Fall); 16 (Winter); 16 (Spring)

Class standing: Sophomore–Senior

Maximum enrollment: 20


Signature Required

Students will be accepted to the program based on an application demonstrating a significant amount of relevant experience in peer mentorship/tutoring, popular education, anti-oppression work, or related activities. Contact Chico Herbison ( with questions or to receive an application. Applications received before the Academic Fair will be given priority.

Course Reference Numbers

So - Sr (16 credits): 10100
So - Sr (1-16 credits): 10478

Go to to register for this program.


Enrollment Closed

Course Reference Numbers

So - Sr (16 credits): 20061
So - Sr (1-16 credits): 20271

Go to to register for this program.


Enrollment Closed

Course Reference Numbers

So - Sr (16 credits): 30046
So - Sr (1-16 credits): 30184

Go to to register for this program.

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