Gateways for Incarcerated Youth

Fall 2020
Winter 2021
Spring 2021
Class Size: 20
Credits per quarter

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Taught by

latinx studies, cultural studies, education

This program offers Evergreen students the opportunity to co-learn with individuals incarcerated in a medium/maximum-security institution for juvenile males institution (Green Hill Institution in Chehalis, Washington). 

A fundamental principle of the Gateways program is that every person has talents and valuable experiences that can contribute to our shared learning. It is our job as human beings to encourage each other to seek out and develop our passions and gifts. These values are manifested in the practices of popular education, central to our work in the prison classroom.

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 sociopolitical  backgrounds. 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 examine 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 critical analytical skills for "naming" socioeconomic phenomena such as the prison industrial complex. 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. Students will take increasing responsibility for designing, implementing and assessing the program workshops and seminars. Throughout the program we will seek to expand our collective knowledge via critical storytelling and self-reflection.

High stakes community-based work requires trust, and trust requires sustained commitment. This program requires that all participants be ready to fully commit themselves to the program.Students interested in enrolling in this program should be sure to familiarize themselves with the Gateways website before applying:

To successfully participate in this program, students will need a computer, internet, printer, and ink. Students can expect our remote teaching to be around 5 hours of synchronous (scheduled) coursework per week, using Canvas and Zoom. Students will have access to alternatives to synchronous participation if conditions require.

This offering will prepare you for careers and advanced study in:

Juvenile justice, education, community work, social work, youth advocacy


Credits per quarter


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

Online learning:
  • Fall Complete Online Learning - This offering delivers all of its instruction online.
  • Winter and Spring: Enhanced Online Learning - This offering requires access to web-based tools, but use of these tools does not displace any face-to-face instruction.

$100 in fall and $150 in both winter and spring to cover costs of training and team building field trips. 

Class Standing: Junior–Senior
Class Size: 20

Scheduled for: Day

Final schedule and room assignments:

First meeting:

Monday, January 4, 2021 - 12:00 pm
SEM 2 E2109 - Seminar

Located in: Olympia

2020-08-13This program is now fully remote during fall quarter