RESEARCH

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 findings are shared in research briefs and reports, dissertations, conference presentations, and a wide range of publications. (See below for recent releases and our Study Tour materials for a curated list of resources.)

There are also several artifacts associated with these RPPs that directly inform the work of the schools, including assessments, curriculum, frameworks, surveys, infographics, and dashboards.  Many of these artifacts are embedded in our online reports and briefs. 

2020 Portfolio of Research-Practice Partnerships 

@RFK UCLA Community School

  • The Road to Dynamic Multilingualism: A Longitudinal Study of K-12 Multilingual & Multicultural Program Development
  • Tools for Self-Assessment: The Reader Identity Self Assessment and the Multilingual Interdisciplinary Social Action Project Assessment
  • College for All: Supporting Students To and Through College 
  • Multigenerational Art Making at a Community School: A Case Study of a Culturally Sustaining Afterschool Arts Program 
  • Supporting Immigrant Students and Families: A Case Study of the UCLA Immigrant Family Legal Clinic 
  • Sustaining Community School Educators: A Study of Teacher Agency, Leadership, and Retention

@Mann UCLA Community School

  • Designing, Implementing, and Evaluating Integrated Student Supports at a Community School
  • Advancing Community-based Science Teaching and Learning: Reimagining a Just and Sustainable Climate Future for Los Angeles
  • Designing Local Data and Learning Infrastructures for Community Schooling
  • Universal Design for Learning: Building a Foundation for Special Education Inclusion

@UCLA Consortium of Community Schools

  • Documenting Key Community School Practices Across Five Sites
  • Mapping the Los Angeles Community Schools Movement 

The UCLA Center for Community Schooling also invites proposals for new research-practice partnerships at the RFK UCLA Community School and the Mann UCLA Community School, following the process for external research review established by the Los Angeles Unified School District. Prospective researchers are encouraged to attend a study tour and/or learn more about the schools before submitting a proposal. 

Research Reports & Briefs

UCLA Community School 2019-20 Annual Report: The Power of Community

Founded in 2009, the UCLA Community School (UCLA-CS) is a unique partnership among the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), and the local community.  As partners, we are engaging together to strengthen public education for all students.  This year’s annual report focuses on the school’s strong sense of community and the collective agency of educators, students, families, and UCLA partners in response to the pandemic and Spring 2020 school closure. Alongside our annual demographics and dashboard indicators, we share a set of core practice narratives that bring to life the power of community to support the well-being and education of its members.

Following a brief overview of the school context, history, and demographics in Part One, Part Two describes the core practices that enliven the school’s vision and shares narratives that illustrate how these practices create a strong school community. Part Three turns to quantitative indicators of the school’s progress over the past 11 years, framed as four dashboards—each focused on one of the school’s core competencies. Part Four focuses on adult learning and development—the conditions that shape teaching and learning for students. This section includes two dashboards, one that tracks professional working conditions for teachers and the other that captures the scope of UCLA’s engagement as a teaching school. The final section reflects on the school’s role in leveraging system-wide change, including participation in larger reform movements and a sample of findings from its portfolio of research studies.

Integrated Data Systems: Informing Student Supports in Community Schools

Equitably serving students and families in community schools requires intentional delivery of social services and extended learning opportunities, supported by integrated data systems to coordinate and monitor outcomes. This brief documents findings from a research-practice partnership at both UCLA Community Schools to develop and study local data systems and how they can be used in conjunction with district systems to achieve the following four goals: (1) to track the implementation of academic and nonacademic student supports, (2) to monitor the equitable distribution of services and programs, (3) to measure the impact of supports and services on student outcomes, and (4) to support community school staff to make data-informed decisions around provision of student supports and services.

Mann UCLA Community School 2019-20 Annual Report: Preparing Active & Critical Participants in Society

Mann UCLA Community School is a university-assisted neighborhood public school within the Los Angeles Unified School District. In 2016, UCLA partnered with Horace Mann Middle School to help reimagine the school as a K-12 community school, building on the strengths of the community as well as the success of the Robert F. Kennedy UCLA Community School in Pico Union/Koreatown. This effort is part of a larger national effort to establish full-service community schools in partnership with universities—tied deeply to the democratic traditions of collective problem solving and equal educational opportunity. In 2017, the school added a 9th grade, reversing a 16-year trend of declining enrollment, and in 2018 this growth continued with the addition of a 10th grade, and in 2019 with the addition of an 11th grade. To share our story and progress during the high school’s third year, this annual report focuses on preparing students to be active and critical participants in society.

Following a brief overview of the school history, context, and demographics in Part One, Part Two describes the school’s vision and shares narratives that illustrate how this vision is coming to life and impacting student learning. Part Three turns to quantitative indicators of student outcomes and includes data dashboards to track the school’s progress over time. Part Four focuses on adult learning and development, and includes data that tracks professional working conditions for teachers and the scope of UCLA’s engagement and partnerships. The final section reflects on the school’s role in leveraging system-wide change, including participation in larger reform movements.

Infrastructuring Student Agency

Supporting students to actively and critically participate in their own learning requires extensive infrastructure in schools that serve historically nondominant students. As this report documents, students from these backgrounds tend to have fewer opportunities than their more privileged peers to express and draw from their diverse voices and assets in schools. Disrupting this legacy of marginalization requires attention to multiple levels of the educational ecology. In this report, researchers and practitioners examine the ecology of a community school committed to student agency and democratic participation. As a reform strategy, community schools are anchored by collaborative structures that create roles and processes for students to participate meaningfully in knowledge creation and governance at schools. We share our experience creating these structures in order to help other educators and policymakers design and implement organizational and pedagogical practices that position students as key partners in learning and governance in schools.

Translanguaging: A Look Inside a High School Geography Class

Senator Robert F. Kennedy was known as a leader of hope and compassion and an advocate for the equality of all people. Judith Baca’s mural portrayed above, “Tiny Ripples” represents the optimism and hope with which Robert F. Kennedy carried out his projects. This representation is connected to the current wave of optimism and hope we hold for the new era for bilingual education in California. With the passing of Proposition 58 in 2016 (California Multilingual Education Act), English learners are no longer required to experience English-only education. With this policy change comes a shift in how bilingual teachers approach teaching in their classrooms to meet the needs of their multilingual learners. One approach is translanguaging, a practice rooted in social justice and culturally sustaining pedagogies (Cioè & Snell, 2015). Translanguaging allows students to draw flexibly on their full linguistic repertoires to participate actively in their classrooms. Although translanguaging can allow for greater language equity in the classroom, teachers are generally uncertain about how to enact translanguaging practices in their classrooms (Nambisan, 2014). This brief sheds light on a translanguaging case study produced as part of a research-practice partnership between a bilingual education researcher (Karla Rivera-Torres) and a 9th grade Geography teacher (Claire Keating). Our collaborative inquiry highlights translanguaging practices and processes, as well as the lessons learned from this work. 

The Power of Self-Assessment Report

This report chronicles how practitioners and a researcher piloted and designed a community-based self-assessment system for second- to twelfth- grade students over a five-year span. This report illustrates how self-assessment instruments and classroom routines, together, provided students with opportunities to take ownership of their assessment data, and evaluate their disciplinary-content knowledge and passions as multilingual community members. This report also explores how the design cycle and pilot helped teachers become more cognizant of the connection between local language ideologies, social justice, and multilingual language development and literacy. This report is an interactive roadmap. Each section includes hyperlinks and thumbnails to tables, figures, and real-life examples of the self-assessment instruments in practice in order to document instrument development.

UCLA Community School Longitudinal College-going Data Report

This data report is a companion to a research paper entitled, Framing, Supporting, and Tracking College-For-All Reform: A Local Case of Public Scholarship, published this month by the High School Journal. The paper describes the collective problem-solving process that unfolded over a decade, from 2007 to 2017, as researchers and practitioners worked together to expand access to college for traditionally underrepresented students. This data report provides methodological information about how the school tracks and measures college-going and describes college-going data for four cohorts of UCLA Community School graduates. Year-to-year results show a steady growth in the percentage of graduates enrolling in four-year institutions as well as higher rates of college persistence than state and national averages.

Nurturing Play: How Schools can Provide Powerful Opportunities for Children to Learn

A large body of research demonstrates the immense benefits of play for children’s academic learning and development. However, “playful learning,” a teaching approach that uses free-play as well as guided-play activities, is disappearing from many school settings, especially in schools located in underserved communities. In this brief, we discuss the value of play, highlight playful learning approaches at the UCLA Community School, and introduce organizations that advocate for play-based learning policies. We also provide suggestions and further reading for teachers and families.

Report in English and Spanish

CONDUCTING RESEARCH

Researchers from UCLA or other agencies or universities who wish to conduct research at the UCLA Community Schools (Robert F. Kennedy UCLA Community School and/or Mann UCLA Community School) must complete this online application, in accordance with the policies of the Los Angeles Unified School District. For more information, please contact Karen Hunter Quartz (quartz@ucla.edu). 

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