March 2024 Community Schools Newsletter

This month we feature a learning exchange at the UCLA Community School, a community resource fair at Mann UCLA Community School, a new blog featuring data on the California Community Schools Partnership Program, and news about upcoming conferences.

Partnership Learning Exchange

On March 1st, more than 100 tenth graders from the UCLA Community School visited the UCLA campus as part of a learning exchange. Their tour guides were undergraduate students enrolled in Education 113: Democracy, Justice, and Education: How Community Schools Seek to Transform Society. Students explore the community school movement’s strong democratic roots tied to local control, collective problem solving, and community-based learning—challenging ideas about who has power, how young people learn, and how teachers teach. The learning exchange kicked off in February when UCLA students took a field trip to UCLA Community School (pictured above). Undergraduates, most of whom are first-generation students of color, shared their college journey maps and the community cultural wealth that got them to UCLA. It was an impactful exchange. As one 10th grader shared, “I feel like I can go to college now.”

Assessing Community Needs and Assets

On March 22, families, students, educators, and partners joined together in the Mann UCLA Community School quad for a Spring Festival and Community Resource Fair. Wraparound Services Coordinator, Myrella Gonzalez, was on hand to share the wealth of services and supports available to the community, and to collect data as part of the school’s Assets and Needs Assessment. UCLA partners meet weekly with Myrella and Shriya Venkatesh, Mann’s Community School Coordinator, to help collect and analyze data on the school’s strengths and needs as part of LAUSD’s Community Schools Initiative. In June, they will present their findings to the community to inform collective deliberation and plans for improvement.

Based on statewide data from schools and districts participating in the historic California Community Schools Partnership Program (CCSPP), this series shares how community schools are reshaping the educational landscape.

In our first post, we delve into the findings of the state’s Annual Progress Report (APR)–a valuable reflective and learning tool that was provided to all Cohort 1 CCSPP grantees for the first time in fall of 2023. We provide a first glance at the progress of approximately 450 schools that are supported through CCSPP implementation grants to transform to community schools–highlighting their commitment to advance students’ classroom learning through whole child and family supports.

Presenting Research Across the Nation

We will be presenting our research about community schooling at the American Educational Research Association’s Annual Meeting in Philadelphia. Dr. Leyda Garcia will present at an invited session on addressing racial injustice, and will co-present a poster with UCLA Community School alumni Jaune and Edwin. Dr. Marisa Saunders’ presentation will focus on “teach-ivsts” and community schooling as a place for social transformation. Jeffrey Yo will share research on retention of BIPOC teachers in a district-supported community school initiative. Natalie Fensterstock will present about developing systems to support teacher leadership in community schools. We hope to see you in Philadelphia!

Wendy Salcedo-Fierro, Partnership Lead at the UCLA Community School, co-presented this week at the Association of Teacher Educators Annual Meeting in Anaheim. Her presentation, “Community Schools: A Grassroots Movement to Transform Public Education,” was part of a special session focused on educator preparation in community schools.

Queena Kim, Principal, and Daniel Sotelo, Literary Interventionist, presented this week at the Carnegie Summit in San Diego. Their presentation,, “PDSA: Cycling Our Way Through Improving TK-5 Biliteracy, highlighted the work of educators at the UCLA Community School.

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