What is CALTA21?

CALTA21 is a model initiative funded through a National Leadership Grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). The intent of this initiative, led by Queensborough Community College of the City University of New York (CUNY), is to build the capacity of museum-community college partnerships, to empower adult immigrant English language learners (ELL) while strengthening their literacy and critical thinking skills through visual literacy and simultaneously assisting them in enriching their social and cultural capital.

Under the leadership of Patricia Lannes, Project Director and QCC’s two Principal Investigators, Professor Kitty Bateman and Dr. Margot Edlin, CALTA21 will be implemented with its four partnering museums: El Museo del Barrio, the Rubin Museum of Art, The Godwin-Ternbach Museum at Queens College and the Katonah Museum of Art.

During this grant period (2011-2014), CALTA21’s development and implementation process includes: 1. A continual cycle of testing, revision and redesign of the two project cornerstones: our professional development institute and the curriculum; 2. The creation of a manual to serve as resource guide for museums and community college literacy programs when launching a partnership; 3. The design and implementation of a dissemination plan that focuses on national implementation opportunities and includes this website where all materials will be available free of charge. It is intended that a culminating symposium will gather participants to share their experiences and evaluators to share their findings for future replication of the model.

Who does CALTA21 serve?

The project’s target audiences are adult ESOLs seeking better literacy skills, their families, museum professionals and volunteers and faculty in community college literacy programs and community based organization’s staff. CALTA21 uses art and museums as catalysts for learning. It is based on the premise that visual literacy skills are transferrable to other literacies and that art can be a powerful conduit to finding meaning in text. While looking at art and participating in facilitated discussions, adult ELLs will build new vocabulary, strengthen critical thinking skills, engage in dialogue, articulate interpretations and develop a voice while drawing from their wealth of experiences and background knowledge.

What are the intended outcomes of CALTA21?

Measurable outcomes will include improved literacy skills and increased social/cultural capital for ELL participants; improved knowledge and skills for museum and literacy educators; established museum-community college partnerships regionally and across the nation; and new practices, materials and resources to support the ongoing implementation of CALTA21, all of which will substantially extend the benefit of IMLS’s National Leadership Grant (NLG) investment and increase museum access and participation for thousands of America’s newest residents.

Who will support CALTA21′s implementation and dissemination?

CALTA21′s implementation and dissemination plans are planned and coordinated by the project team and supported by CUNY’s Office of Academic Affairs, Language and Literacy Programs under the leadership of Dr. Leslee Oppenheim, by Visual Understanding in Education, the organization that created and supports VTS, and by the Literacy Assistance Center in NYC. Aligned with IMLS’s goals of creating models that can be implemented nationally, CALTA21 will develop additional partnerships regionally and nationally, especially in Florida, California, Texas and Illinois. By virtue of the collaborative implementation of CALTA21, these partnerships will open pathways for some of the country’s newest residents to enhance language skills, develop cultural and social capital, facilitate access to higher education, and support workforce development, while simultaneously helping each institution expand its reach and maintain its relevance in increasingly diverse communities.

For more information on becoming a CALTA21 implementation site, please contact Patricia Lannes, Project Director or phone her at 516-313-1091.