Koreatown/Pico-Union Los Angeles

Issue 1 Fall 2021

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

Editorial Introduction

Thinking and talking about the schools we want for our children is a longstanding democratic tradition. When we come together to envision these schools, we have the opportunity to create a more just and equitable future. Community Schooling is about this democratic journey. 

In our inaugural issue, we have curated stories and resources that capture the process of creating and sustaining community schools. This process involves both reflection and action, praxis or what we call public scholarship. Schools that create space to collectively grapple with big ideas and theories in the context of daily school practice are living examples of democratic education. 

We start with the story of the UCLA Community School, where we have worked for the past 15 years, highlighting the school’s collective inquiry to create an innovative multilingual program, a sanctuary campus, and a college-going culture. A discussion guide follows the case to inspire other schools to think and talk about their core beliefs and opportunities to strengthen their community-based vision for teaching and learning. 

For teachers working in community schools, we offer wisdom from your colleagues–educators who work in five Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) community schools. They reflect on the history of LAUSD’s efforts to support community schooling and share their community-based teaching practices. We call on community school advocates and policymakers to pay close attention to these teachers and the central role they play in the larger community schools movement. 

High school students share their community-based research in a podcast on what it means to return to school in a time of uncertainty. Listen to these powerful youth researchers interview K-12 students, parents, teachers, and other staff members to understand how it feels to be back on campus after so many months of remote teaching and learning. As COVID persists and the future remains uncertain, students also explore what it means to be part of a supportive and caring community. 

In July 2021, California passed a historic $3billion investment to strengthen and expand community schools across the state. We are pleased to cross-post a new policy brief, co-authored by our partners at the Learning Policy Institute and the Opportunity Institute, that examines key elements of the California Community Schools Partnership Program (CCSPP) and highlights how the new law is built upon the core research-backed features of high-quality community schools.

We are grateful to our Editorial Board who signed on to help us shape this new journal and ensure that it’s useful. Our upcoming Winter issue will introduce our policy commentary feature and discuss historic state and federal investments in community schooling. The issue will feature  the Mann UCLA Community School. After that, we’ll reach out beyond our two partnership schools to lift up the voices of diverse community members, including teachers, parents, students, and partners. Thank you for reading, listening and watching the public scholarship in this first issue and please subscribe to receive future issues. If you have ideas for how we can help the century-old community schools movement focus on the big ideas and the journey of public education, please drop us a line

Karen Hunter Quartz & Marisa Saunders

Cover art by Lissbeth Martinez.

Lissbeth is a high school student at UCLA Community School. Lissbeth participated in a school-wide art campaign where students were asked, “What does community mean to you?” According to Lissbeth, “community means sharing my Salvadorian culture with the people around me and providing diversity when it comes to food, music, and language.” Her piece represents El Salvador’s famous pupusa plate, culture, religion, and it’s national symbol, the Maquilishuat tree.

Art showing nature scenes and food