Challenging old assumptions. Removing barriers to learning. Reshaping the way we think about public education.
A Partnership for Change
How great can K-12 public education be? UCLA, the Los Angeles Unified School District and the local community are breaking new ground. As one of the first pilot schools in Los Angeles, we’re challenging old assumptions about teaching and removing barriers to learning. We’re reshaping the very way we think about public education. And we’re working closely with the communities of Pico Union and Koreatown to make it happen.
A Vision in Practice
It all starts with a vision. We envision that all students will graduate able to fully engage in adult life, equipped with the following four core competencies:
- Self-directed, passionate learner
- Mastery of academic content and skills
- Bi-literate, bi-lingual, and multi-cultural
- Active and critical participant in society
To achieve this vision, we combine teaching, research, and service — advancing UCLA’s core mission in a dynamic partnership school unlike any other.
About Our Program
Multi-age Learning Environment: Our classrooms and school structures engage students of different ages, giving them a broader social experience to learn and to lead. In the elementary grades, students are grouped in multi-age dens. In the upper grades, students meet each day in multi-age advisory groups. All students stay with the same teacher in these groups for two years. We also take advantage of our K-12 grade span to bring students of all ages together for events and projects. These structures are designed to build strong relationships and support the development of each student.
Learning in Two Languages: It’s no secret that dual-language instruction improves academic achievement, promotes self-confidence, and prepares students to be citizens of our global society. This is why our elementary grade classes are taught in English and Spanish with support for Korean as well.
Enrichment Programs: Our relationship and proximity with UCLA provides our students with access to one of the richest educational resources in the nation. K-12 faculty partner with university faculty to enhance our curriculum with a vast array of top-flight seminars, programs, internships, and activities. To learn more about these programs or UCLA’s involvement at the Community school, click here.
Our Student Body
In 2009, the UCLA Community School opened its Lower School with 340 students in Kindergarten through 5th grade. In September 2010, the Upper School was added and the school grew to 842 neighborhood students, K through 11th grade. In 2011-12, the school grew to capacity, serving approximately 1,000 K-12 students.
In 2013-14, the student population was predominantly Latino (80%) and Asian (14%) and low-income (81%). There were slightly more boys (52%) than girls (48%). Overall, 55% of students were classified as “Limited English Proficient,” with more in the Lower School (75%) than the Upper School (41%).
The UCLA Community School faculty is an accomplished and diverse group of teachers—many with strong ties to the local community. The 2013-14 teaching faculty includes 42 teachers, 24% male and 76% female, and is led by Ms. Leyda Garcia, a powerful instructional leader who is deepening practice by supporting the faculty’s professional growth.
The principal and almost half of the teaching faculty (51%) are Latino, 29% are Asian, 22% are Anglo, and 3% are Black. Most of the faculty (88%) are bi- or tri-lingual, very well qualified (63% with Master’s degrees, 2% with doctoral degrees, and 17% with National Board Certification), and about half are UCLA alumni.
Breakthroughs in Student Achievement
Since opening in 2009, we’ve seen growth in the academic achievement of our students and the engagement of parents and neighbors. This is a notable achievement considering students entered the UCLA Community School in Kindergarten through 11th grade from more than 60 feeder schools throughout Los Angeles over a period of two years, from 2009 to 2010.
In the Lower School, 88% of the students who entered as Kindergartners in 2009 were on track in Spanish reading proficiency by the end of third grade and most were making steady progress in English as they entered fourth grade. Performance on school-wide state tests is also positive. From 2010-2013, 76% of student groups tested over time scored at or above value-added growth targets set by the district.
Another sign of success, the school is outperforming the district on many dimensions related to college going, including progress towards graduation. In 2013, the percentage of 9th graders moving to 10th grade was 20% higher than the district average. The school is also making impressive strides in college-going. From 2012 to 2014, the percentage of seniors admitted to one or more four-year colleges increased from 31 to 55 percent, with the proportion admitted to a UC campus climbing from 9 percent to 25 percent. The percentage of those admitted to a CSU campus tripled, from 18 percent to 54 percent. In addition, almost all the students in the Class of 2014 not admitted to a four-year institution still plan to attend community college, bringing the overall college-going rate up to 95 percent.
UCLA prepares an annual report each year to document the school’s activities and growth as well as track its progress. The 2009-10 Annual Report describes the Lower School’s first year of operation and early outcomes. The 2010-11 Annual Report and Executive Summary (in Spanish, in Korean) describe the addition of the Upper School, the K-11 instructional program, baseline measures of student satisfaction and achievement, and UCLA’s engagement efforts. The school’s third year of operation is described in the 2011-12 Annual Report and Executive Summary. And the school’s fourth and fifth years are highlighted in a Five Year Report that also includes links to other LAUSD accountability reports. The 2014-15 Annual Report takes stock of the school’s progress and maps out improvement goals for the school’s next chapter. The most recent report, the 2015-16 Annual Report, introduces a new set of dashboards related to the four core competencies, professional learning, and the school’s partnership with UCLA.
News and Press
The UCLA Community School has been featured in several print and online publications. For more information, click here.