February 2024 Community Schools Newsletter

This month we feature a celebration of Black history and culture as well as efforts to advance community schooling across the state and nation.

Celebrating Black History and Culture

On February 23rd, in celebration of Black History Month, students, families, and staff at Mann UCLA Community School were treated to a special event in the quad. Together, they enjoyed a variety of food catered by a local family-run business, Delicious Southern Cuisine. The history of each dish and its connection to Black culture was captured in a pamphlet created for the celebration by Keegria Banks, the Black Student Achievement Program (BSAP) Restorative Justice Teacher. At the event, students also had an opportunity to view a gallery of their peers’ projects that celebrated Black figures of significance. Finally, the BSAP Dance Team presented an exhilarating tribute to Black cultures with the help of Dance Coach David Mitchell and School Climate Advocate Teresa McNair, cheered on by their parents and family members. When asked about the celebration, 10th grader Fatima shared, “I am glad the school always does events like this for us. I think it’s important because it brings the school and community closer”.

From the College Center to the Capitol

Jonathan Oyaga is an educational aide at the UCLA Community School, working in the College and Career Center to support students’ postsecondary transitions. He also serves on the National Education Association’s Board of Directors, representing aspiring educators in California and across the nation. This month, Jonathan spent a busy weekend in Washington DC, attending the NEA Board meeting and visiting the offices of Representatives Schiff, Waters, and Pelosi to talk with them about the power of community schools. He shared the Research-Practice Partnership he helps lead as a research associate with the UCLA Center for Community Schooling–a multi-year effort to improve first generation BIPOC students’ journey to and through college.

At the request of Representative Schiff’s office, he also expressed the school’s concern that students of mixed status families are currently unable to complete the FAFSA due to recent changes–insights that were included in a letter the office was drafting to the Department of Education. We applaud Jonathan’s efforts to advocate for policies and practices that advance culturally sustaining community schools.

Gathering to Learn with California Community School Transformation Partners

As part of our work as the State-Transformational Assistance Center, we are excited to lead a two day learning exchange with our transformation partners, Shasta County Office of EducationWest Contra Costa Unified School District, and Anaheim Unified High School District. The exchange will focus on the role of teacher leadership and sustainable community partnerships in community schools.

Convening Highlights the Work of University-Assisted Community Schools

The Coalition for Community Schoolsan initiative of the Institute for Educational Leadershiprecently hosted a convening for their Western region. The convening featured sessions about a number of topics related community schooling, including the work of university-assisted community schools.

Watch the session, facilitated by colleagues at the Netter Center, or view the slides to learn more about building sustainable partnerships between universities and community schools.

Mark Your Calendars

Join community school practitioners, researchers, partners and advocates at the 2024 National Community Schools and Family Engagement (CsxFE) conference in Atlanta from May 29-31!

We are looking forward to the 2024 EMPOWER Summit! Convened by the State-Transformational Assistance Center, the summit is a two-day event open to California Community Schools Partnership Program (CCSPP) grantees, Regional Technical Assistance Centers, educators and community members who serve community schools. Join us in Los Angeles from June 13-14

Check out the the 3rd Issue of Community Schooling

Community Schooling is a publication of the UCLA Center for Community Schooling, featuring multimedia public scholarship to inform the collective struggle for democracy, justice and public education.

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Community Schooling Journal Issue 3 Cover - artwork of clasping hands