Learning Together: Transforming Schools Through Partnerships

Practitioners and researchers discussed immigration, inclusion, and diversity at inaugural summer workshop in June.

Addressing an audience of teachers and researchers at UCLA’s Luskin Conference Center, Juana Mora, an associate professor at Rio Hondo College, described the working conditions that she and her colleagues face daily.

“We get to walk into a classroom of super-diverse students – diversity that goes beyond race, class, and gender,” she said. “To add to that, trauma that we cannot even begin to understand. And I’m supposed to teach.”

Professor Megan Franke shared her work in cognitively guided instruction (CGI) and the potential to be unlocked within every student.

Mora, an alumna of UCLA’s Department of Education, spoke on how the diversity training that K-12 teachers receive today would benefit community college instructors who face similar challenges and deficit thinking about their students. She was one of several UCLA practitioners and researchers who presented their work at the conference, “Learning Together: Practitioners and Scholars in Partnership,” June 19-20.

Wasserman Dean Marcelo Suárez-Orozco welcomed attendees to the two-day workshop, introducing talks that included “Partnership and Inclusion in Higher Education” by research professors Sylvia Hurtado and Cecilia Rios-Aguilar of the Higher Education Research Institute (HERI) and Professor of Education Linda Sax; and “Immigration, Language, and Equity,” presented by Professor Marjorie Orellana, and Carola Suárez-Orozco and Robert T. Teranishi, co-directors of the Institute for Immigration, Globalization, and Education.

Karen Hunter Quartz, director of research, UCLA Community Schools, and Professor Louis Gomez shared their research “Inside Schools.”

“Inside School Walls” was discussed by Professor Louis Gomez, Associate Dean for Community Programs Jody Priselac and Karen Hunter Quartz, director of research, UCLA Community Schools. A look “Beyond School Walls” was shared by Annamarie Francois, executive director of UCLA’s Center X; Lorena Guillén, assistant professor of education; and John Rogers, faculty director, Center X, and director of the Institute for Democracy, Education, and Access (IDEA).

Tyrone Howard shared his expertise on “Understanding Student Trauma in the Learning Process.”

In addition, Keynotes were given by Suárez-Orozco on “Immigration, Globalization, and Education”; Professor Megan Franke, who shared “Innovative Ways to Use Research to Enhance Practice in Urban Schools”; Professor Tyrone Howard, who spoke about “Understanding Student Trauma in the Learning Process”; and by UCLA Distinguished Professor of Education Pedro Noguera, who shared his perspectives on “Strategies on School Transformation.”

Sylvia Hurtado took part in a panel on “Partnership and Inclusion in Higher Education.”

Suárez-Orozco, who with UCLA, the Pontifical Academy of Sciences (PAS), the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, and the Ross Institute of New York, led a GSE&IS International Workshop on Humanitarianism and Mass Migration in January, spoke of the need for educators to rise to the challenge of educating both national and international populations of immigrant students, due to the effects of conflict, war, and unchecked climate change that have resulted in worldwide mass migrations.

“Globally, immigrant children are the fastest growing sector of the child population in disparate countries,” he said. “Here’s the challenge today: we have to ease the transition of the most diverse cohort of students our country has ever faced, to much higher levels of skill and competence, and performance than ever before, to function in the global economy of the 21st and 22nd Centuries.”

Professor Howard described the scope of the work at “Learning Together” as ”some real ways that these educational pipelines can connect.”

Wasserman Dean Marcelo Suárez-Orozco described the challenge of educating immigrant and refugee children and youth.

“We often talk about K-12 and higher education as if they are separate entities, but… there has to be much more of an explicit way of seeing… how all these systems [intersect]. It’s good to have 12-K, community colleges, and universities all talking, thinking, and sharing. This has to be part of this work if we’re going to get it right.”

“Learning Together” was featured in Diverse Issues in Education. To read the article, click here.


Above: A panel moderated by graduate student researcher Bianca Haro (at far left), shared the community capital to be had “Beyond School Walls.”

L-R: John Rogers, faculty director, Center X, and director of the Institute for Democracy, Education, and Access (IDEA); Annamarie Francois, executive director of UCLA’s Center X; and Lorena Guillén, assistant professor of education.


All photos by Todd Cheney, UCLA