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UCLA Center for Community Schooling: Justice and Care in Pandemic Learning

Karen Hunter Quartz, director of the UCLA Center for Community Schooling, and Marisa Saunders, the center’s associate director of research, have written an article describing the UCLA Community Schools’ efforts at adapting to education in the COVID-19 pandemic and finding ways for students, teachers, and families to thrive despite the difficulty of remote teaching and learning, and the ongoing striving for equity and social justice.

“Community schools are seizing this moment to abolish old practices and structures that have perpetuated inequalities for too long,” Quartz and Saunders state. “Community school educators are meeting the challenge, demonstrating courage and their belief in a future where all students can thrive, where learning is community-based and responsive to the assets of students and families, and schools are spaces of justice and care.”

Saunders and Quartz highlighted the work of Beth Trinchero and Ayuri Terada, lead teachers at UCLA Community School in the Koreatown-Pico-Union area, who created a weekly professional learning series that they presented to their colleagues this summer via Zoom. Topics included “abolitionist teaching and healing-centered frameworks using community circles and intimate breakouts where teachers explored their own identities and beliefs—necessary exercises to begin the hard work of realizing a new future,” the co-authors wrote.

Quartz and Saunders also wrote about the UCLA Community School’s interdisciplinary units of study for middle school students that explore questions of identity, colorism, Black Lives Matter, with a focus on community health and well-being, as well as units for high school students that give them the opportunity to write about their communities, identities, and social movements.

At Mann UCLA Community School in South Los Angeles, Marcus Van, a social studies teacher, and Ung-Sang Lee, a UCLA researcher, Ung-Sang Lee, have been convening the Anti-Racist Committee (ARC) weekly via Zoom, along with more than 20 UCLA Community School stakeholders, including students, families, and community members. ARC discussions center on topics such as student activism, community and parent involvement, instruction, and restorative practices, aiming to ultimately shape the learning experiences and outcomes of students. 

To read,”Seizing the Moment to Transform Education” by Karen Hunter Quartz and Marisa Saunders, visit the UCLA Center for Community Schooling website.

Above: Karen Hunter Quartz, director of the UCLA Center for Community Schooling.