Best Practices Start Here

When our school opened in 2009, UCLA Chancellor Gene Block noted the school’s impact would extend far beyond a single neighborhood. This is because, as a partnership school and research site, UCLA Community School provides an exceptional opportunity to develop new knowledge about successful practices for educators and policymakers everywhere. Our school maintains an active program of systematic inquiry that informs the school’s practice; evaluates its progress; and creates generalizable knowledge about schooling.

Informing Practice

All research conducted at the school has a built-in feedback loop that supports cycles of inquiry and data use.  Teachers and UCLA researchers work together to investigate practice and solve problems associated with a wide range of topics including assessment development, technology use, high-leverage instructional strategies, course development, family engagement, and many others.  Here are two examples of research partnerships:

  • Assessing Mathematical Reasoning and Developing Structures for Differentiated Instruction (Co-led by Andre Feng & Io McNaughton, UCLA Community School faculty, and Megan Franke & Jody Priselac, UCLA faculty; supported by a UCLA Center X Teacher Initiated Inquiry Grant and the UCLA Dream Fund)
  • Supporting Assessment Autonomy:  How Can Teachers Develop Student Assessment Systems to Advance New School Visions? (Co-led by Karen Hunter Quartz & Jarod Kawasaki, UCLA researchers, and Daniel Sotelo & Kimberly Merino, UCLA Community School faculty; supported by the Spencer Foundation)

Evaluating Progress

The school collects and analyzes a wide range of student, teacher, community, and UCLA engagement data in order to evaluate progress and success.  These data are compiled and reported in an Annual Report as well as other accountability documents such as the Pilot School Quality Review and the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) Accreditation Report. The WASC accreditation commission awards a school one of six levels of accreditation. On May 5, 2014, the school achieved the second highest level after exceeding the standards of all the qualifying criteria.

Creating Knowledge

What we learn through systematic inquiry at UCLA Community School creates knowledge that can be generalized to other settings.  To date, 31 research studies have been or are currently being conducted at the school on a wide range of topics.  Here are a few examples:

  • Intensive Language Support for Credit Recovery in Biology (Louis Gomez, UCLA faculty)
  • Language, Literacy, and Culture in a Play-based After-school Program (Marjorie Faulstich Orellana, UCLA faculty)
  • Exploring and Expanding Bilingual Students’ Linguistic Repertoires in an Innovative Dual Language Program (Ramon Antonio Martinez, University of Texas faculty)

Proposals Welcomed

Proposals to conduct research at the school must be submitted online through our research review system. For more information, contact the school’s research director, Karen Hunter Quartz, at quartz@ucla.edu.