University News

Pilot school partnership with LAUSD aims to enhance education equity and access

The UCLA Graduate School of Education & Information Studies has been selected as the Los Angeles Unified School District's first partner to operate one of five pilot schools united by a social justice philosophy.
The Bruin Community School, a partnership between UCLA, LAUSD Local District 4 and several community-based organizations, is expected to open in fall 2009 at the district's Ambassador Schools Complex in the mid-Wilshire area. UCLA faculty, staff and students will participate in the school as mentors, instructors, tutors, researchers and learners.
"We are dedicated to providing all students with access to the highest quality education," UCLA Chancellor Gene Block said. "The new Bruin Community School is one example of our significant and long-term commitment to public school improvement through engaged scholarship and partnerships with community leaders, organizations, teachers and local government."
"As partners in this effort, we will all learn a great deal as we strive to ensure the educational success of our high-need urban students," said Aime Dorr, dean of the Graduate School of Education & Information Studies. "I am very proud that we are part of this exciting new public school venture."
UCLA's selection by LAUSD was announced July 30 at the Ambassador Schools Complex, also known as the Central Los Angeles New Learning Center No. 1. The LAUSD said it is seeking proposals to operate four additional pilot schools at the complex — small, autonomous public schools united by a social justice philosophy that honors the legacy of the late Robert F. Kennedy, who was assassinated at the school site, formerly the Ambassador Hotel, 40 years ago.
Pilot schools are committed to providing equity, access and excellence for every student. First established in Boston, these schools are models of educational innovation with a 12-year track record of higher achievement levels, test scores and graduation rates. Pilot schools have charter-like autonomy over their instructional program, schedule, staffing, calendar and budget yet participate as full members of the district and the teachers union, helping to leverage change from the inside out.
"The Ambassador site will include innovative programs and offer high-quality education to the children in this community," LAUSD Superintendent David L. Brewer III said. "I thank UCLA and other partners and look forward to seeing the benefits that these partnerships will bring to the community."
Karen Hunter Quartz, a Graduate School of Education & Information Studies researcher who is director of research and development for the Bruin Community School, said UCLA is well-positioned to succeed because of its long-standing emphasis on transforming urban schooling and enhancing equity and access.
"Our teacher-education and principal leadership programs, together with our research on and commitment to community-based schooling, uniquely qualify us to not only support the Bruin Community School's instructional program but also to help shape urban school policy," she said.
The UCLA Graduate School of Education & Information Studies is committed to understanding and improving educational practice, information policy and information systems in a diverse society. The school's academic programs bring together faculty and students committed to expanding the range of knowledge in education, information science and associated disciplines. Its professional programs seek to develop librarians, teachers, administrators and information professionals within the enriched context of a research university.
UCLA is California's largest university, with an enrollment of nearly 37,000 undergraduate and graduate students. The UCLA College of Letters and Science and the university's 11 professional schools feature renowned faculty and offer more than 300 degree programs and majors. UCLA is a national and international leader in the breadth and quality of its academic, research, health care, cultural, continuing education and athletic programs. Four alumni and five faculty have been awarded the Nobel Prize.
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