University News

UCLA wins $2.5 million state award for innovation in teacher education

The award recognizes work at the UCLA Community School and will support the Teaching Schools Initiative

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Pedro De Leon
John Vande Wege/UCLA

UCLA Community School science lead teacher Pedro De Leon quizzes students on the lab equipment they will be using.

Among a competitive pool of 58 California public colleges, UCLA today won $2.5 million from the state’s Department of Finance. The award recognizes the innovation of the UCLA Teaching Schools Initiative and the work of UCLA and its Graduate School of Education and Information Studies to strengthen K-12 education and build stronger pathways from K-12 to college and career success.

The initiative launched six years ago with the opening of the UCLA Community School, a partnership between the UCLA and the Los Angeles Unified School District. UCLA faculty, staff and students work alongside teachers at the school to help ensure students are qualified to apply to a University of California campus. The school is the site of education research, and nurtures the development of new education strategies by UCLA professors and graduate students.

UCLA received one of 14 awards designed to promote innovative approaches to ensuring all students graduate from a four-year college on time. UCLA was the only UC to receive one of the prestigious awards.

Before the Community School opened in September 2009 and the high school opened in 2010, only one-third of the high school graduates in the area now served by the school went on to attend college. Now that percentage has almost tripled. In June 2014, the first group of seniors who spent all four years at the high school graduated. Of them, 95 percent planned to attend college in the fall, more than half were admitted to four-year schools (up from 13 percent in 2009) and one quarter were admitted to UC campuses (up from 4 percent).

Each year, more than 200 UCLA faculty, staff and students get involved at the UCLA Community School — including by mentoring and tutoring, teaching after-school enrichment classes, helping develop the curriculum. In the past five years, Bruins have logged more than 30,000 hours of service and worked on more than 30 research studies related to the school.

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