The UCLA Center for Community Schooling supports a portfolio of research-practice partnerships (RPPs) designed to address problems that are important to local community schools. These partnerships bring together UCLA researchers and school-based practitioners to engage in scholarship that:

  1. Frames local problems in a broader research context; 
  2. Collects and analyzes local data to understand the problem, and;
  3. Develops plans to address the problem and support ongoing improvement.

The goals of these RPPs are to inform practice, ensure accountability, and create generalizable knowledge. RPP artifacts and findings are shared as research briefs and reports, infographics, dashboards, frameworks, assessments, dissertations, conference presentations, and a wide range of publications co-authored by researchers and practitioners.

The Research and Accountability Committee of each school’s governing council supports research at the school.  The UCLA Community School, as an LAUSD Pilot School, is governed by the Shared Governing Council, and the Mann UCLA Community School, as an LAUSD Locally Initiative School, is governed by the Local School Council. Faculty, staff, students, parents and UCLA partners serve on research committees and are actively engaged in research-practice partnerships.

In support of these school-based research committees and as part of their education, UCLA graduate student researchers engaged at the two schools participate in a Research Apprenticeship Course. A study of graduate student learning in this context found that having opportunities to collaborate with school stakeholders through research project life cycles expanded students’ social justice-oriented researcher positionalities, impacted local educational practices, and communicated findings to a diverse set of audiences. 

University-partnered schools provide rare opportunities for researchers to live inside schools as full members of a community of practice committed to equity and excellence. They also make real the promise of public scholarship by deepening faculty and graduate student research, engaging undergraduates in education, and shaping change at the university and in the district—providing a distinct and tangible contribution within the expanding policy landscape of new school options.”

University-Partnered New School Designs: Fertile Ground for Research-Practice Partnerships