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Mann UCLA Community School Highlighted in New Issue of “Community Schooling” Journal

By Joanie Harmon
Students and families are welcomed back to campus at Mann UCLA Community School in this pre-pandemic photo. Courtesy of the UCLA Center for Community Schooling

Publication by the UCLA Center for Community Schooling shares challenges, research-based practices and bright spots at neighborhood school in South L.A.

The UCLA Center for Community Schooling has recently published the latest issue of its journal, “Community Schooling,” co-edited by Karen Hunter Quartz, CCS director and adjunct professor at the UCLA School of Education and Information Studies, and Marisa Saunders, CCS associate director of research. 

The new and second issue of "Community Schooling" is focused on Horace Mann UCLA Community School, a LAUSD middle school with historic roots in South Los Angeles, that has expanded to a high school with University support; the 2022 graduation will celebrate the second graduating class of Mann UCLA seniors, 100 percent of whom are college-bound. 

Also in the new issue are articles on innovative and socially justice-oriented practices and research at Mann UCLA. A school case by Greg Amelio, an English teacher at Mann UCLA and Hunter Quartz examines the collaboration between the school’s South L.A. community and UCLA over the past seven years, in re-establishing Mann’s place as the cornerstone of public education in its neighborhood. Their case shines a light on three themes of the power of history and stability in neighborhoods that experience trauma, racism, and poverty; the importance of supporting and embracing student and parent agency; and the power of love to guide the journey. The case is followed by a discussion guide to inspire other schools to think and talk about their history, core beliefs and opportunities to strengthen their community-based vision for teaching and learning.

A special feature of the issue is a podcast by Mann UCLA students, Isaiah Catching, Jamel Jackson, Ray’Ven Kelly, Alberto Roman, Yadira Tejada, and Daniel Trujillo. The 11th graders interviewed their fellow students and school staff on “Charting a Better Future at Mann UCLA Community School,” and covered a wide range of topics about the school’s learning environment, including campus beautification, healthy lunches, and a focus on how the school can better respond to the needs of its students.

An article on community science teaching was written by Mann UCLA science teachers Darlene Tieu and Shriya Venkatesh, and UCLA graduate student researchers Heather Clark and Symone Gyles, on the practice of linking academic concepts in science teaching to students' personal experiences. The teachers and researchers present community science teaching through a lens of disrupting the unjust consequences of environmental inequalities, and the understanding that students get excited about science when learning is connected to their lives and neighborhood. Community science teachers create projects and activities that link the social, economic and political aspects of community life to ecological features such as green space, pollution, and climate.

Finally, a policy commentary by Curtiss Sarikey rounds out the issue of “Community Schooling.” As the chief of staff of the Oakland Unified School District, he shares his perspectives with “A Journey for Collective Success” as a former social worker, and school and district leader on the collective power of community schools. Sarikey's commentary highlights the promise of bringing teams of administrators, teachers, families, students, and community partners, working together to transform their schools. 

“This is an historic moment for community schooling,” write Hunter Quartz and Saunders in their introduction to the issue. “California is starting to roll out its unprecedented $3B investment to strengthen and expand community schools across the state and there are important national efforts such as the Brookings Institution’s Task Force on Next Generation Community Schools to help define and support community-driven, equity strategies that leverage the latest evidence on teaching and learning. 

“In service to this growing movement, our second issue curates stories and resources that lift up the voices of diverse community members, including teachers, parents, students, and partners. We aim to capture the process of creating and sustaining community schools–in hopes that it will inform others engaged in the challenging work of disrupting longstanding inequities.”

To read the new issue of “Community Schooling,” visit this link.

To read the Fall 2021 issue of “Community Schooling,” visit this link.

To learn more about UCLA's partnership schools click here.