Our Mission

Our mission as the Literacy Centre of Expertise is to be a collaborative hub and information centre supporting ESL literacy service providers in Calgary, Alberta and beyond. Through collaboration, we serve students and teachers by sharing research-based best practices, resulting in a consistent and client-centred approach to literacy.

Our Goal

Our goal is that the Literacy Centre of Expertise will highlight the excellent work that is being done by ESL literacy service providers in Calgary and beyond, and will honour the tremendous dedication, innovation and care exemplified by their staff and frontline instructors.

Planned Activities

1. Facilitating Professional Development, Training, and Presentations

    • Organize on-site teacher training + workshops tailored to specific needs.
    • Offer mentoring, demos, and training for new literacy teachers.
    • Recommend students to training programs for employability.
    • Provide ongoing support and advice to service providers on structuring literacy programs.

2. Providing ESL Literacy Resources

    • Disseminate existing resources + curriculum suitable for literacy learners.
    • Build an online resource sharing bank accessible for all service providers.
    • Develop and share literacy appropriate modules that comply with PBLA.
    • Create a phonics program tailored to varying literacy levels.

3. Spotlighting Best Practices for ESL Literacy 

    • Act as an information hub for Literacy in Calgary.
    • Collaborate with experts to produce content via podcasts, blog posts + social media.
    • Organize a quarterly meeting with service providers to facilitate dialogue + feedback.
    • Long term goal: Organize a Western Canadian Literacy Conference.

Our Team

If you would like to book a PD session, request support, or if you have any other questions, please feel free to contact us! (Click here for a list of PD workshop topics).

Donna Clarke, Literacy Centre of Expertise Lead

Donna Clarke has a Bachelor of Education from McGill University, and taught in the Bronx, New York and in Taiwan for ten years. She joined the TIES team in 2009 and has been an advocate for literacy learners ever since. She was instrumental in the creation of the TIES Literacy department and is a strong believer in collaboration across the sector. Donna has taught all literacy levels, given several presentations at ATESL and was a PBLA and Literacy Lead.

She is constantly upgrading her skills and recently completed the Teaching EAL Literacy Learners (TELLs) course through The Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia (ISANS). In her new role as Literacy Centre of Expertise Lead, Donna is excited for the future of Literacy teaching and learning in Calgary, and the possibilities for collaboration across the country.

Jeremy Wilson, Literacy Centre of Expertise Assistant

Jeremy graduated from the University of Manitoba with an Advanced Bachelor’s Degree in History and received his TESOL Diploma in 2010. He has taught ESL in Canada and abroad for 10 years, including 3 years in Japan. Jeremy joined TIES in 2018 and has taught LINC from Foundation Literacy up to Levels 3/4. He recently completed the Teaching EAL Literacy Learners (TELLs) course through The Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia (ISANS) and is currently undertaking a Certification in Curriculum Development and Instructional Design from Mount Royal University.

His favourite thing about teaching literacy is the ability to meet such amazing people from such diverse backgrounds and how such learners help him grow as an instructor. He’s always looking to improve his teaching practice and is looking forward to learning from all of the talented people working in literacy across the country and sharing that knowledge as a part of the Literacy Centre of Expertise.

Special Thanks

We would like to extend our thanks and recognition to the following organizations, who have been instrumental in the development of the Literacy Centre of Expertise:

ECSD LINC is a non-profitorganization funded by the Government of Canada that has provided LINC classes since 1992. They started the Foundations LINC Program at the Sacred Heart school in 2014, with the goal of offering separate classes for adult ESL literacy students in Edmonton. The advantage of having a literacy only program is that students can receive individualized attention, get targeted learning opportunities from specialized teachers, and participate in classes with a significantly lower class size. In addition to Sacred Heart, they offer literacy classes at One World One Centre and St. Francis of Assisi. The latter supports a women’s only Foundations program. They have also developed curricula and a series of in-house introductory workshops for new teachers. The curricula (Benchmark Profiles & Reference Lists) are hosted through the website LINC Literacy @ ECSD, which can be accessed by other LINC literacy providers.

“A community where all can belong and grow,” Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia (ISANS) is the leading deliverer of settlement services in Atlantic Canada. They are the primary contact in Nova Scotia on refugee, settlement and immigration issues for 2,000+ organizations, employers, government departments and individuals annually.

Helping immigrants build a future in Nova Scotia, they are a “one-stop shop” offering services in Settlement, Employment, Business, Community Integration, Employer Support, Online and Pre-Arrival and Language Services, including a large, robust literacy program.