UCLA continues to earn global recognition for setting academic standards in higher education while increasing access for students of all backgrounds. Closer to home and no less a part of the university’s mission are its efforts in greater Los Angeles to raise the bar for education in grades K-12.
The newest endeavor in local learning, Mann UCLA Community School in South Los Angeles, launches in the 2017-2018 school year. A unique district agreement modeled on the Pico-Union/Koreatown Community School — where college-acceptance rates have tripled since its opening — UCLA’s second Community School will also remain public, preparing middle and high school students in South L.A. for success in college, careers, and civic life. Eventually, the school will cover the full K-12 continuum, offering resources ranging from academic enrichment to physical and mental health services.
Collaborations among multiple departments and units are vital to this vision. Graduate School of Education and Information Studies (Ed & IS) scholars have worked with Horace Mann Middle School students, parents, and teachers since 2015, strengthening mentorships, tutoring, STEM, athletics, arts, health, and parent engagement programs at the school.
These programs rely not only on the university but also on philanthropic support. Recently Carnegie Corporation of New York granted UCLA $1.5 million for partnership schools like Horace Mann, and the California Community Foundation gave $100,000 to enhance Horace Mann’s math and parent education programs. Over the next few years, UCLA will seek friends to invest in after-school and summer enrichment activities, field trips, computer science courses, career seminars, athletic equipment, music and arts education, and health services — all efforts that will improve the lives of children and families in the South L.A. neighborhood.
Beyond the school’s fall opening, such donors’ dedication to K-12 education will further UCLA’s mission for future generations of Angelenos. As Dr. Marcelo Suárez-Orozco, dean of Ed & IS, says: “With this second community school, UCLA is emphasizing its long-term commitment to improving education in the community.”
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