The Education Success Project: Partnering in Teacher Exchange with Queen’s University Belfast of Northern Ireland

Issues of collaboration, co-location,
and contested education spaces are international. 

 

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This has been the learning of a group of educators and policymakers from LAUSD schools in YPI’s Los Angeles Promise Neighborhood who traveled to Northern Ireland in January and are this week welcoming teachers and administrators from Queen’s University in Belfast to classrooms in L.A.

Seventeen LAPN principals and teachers were the beneficiaries of a $55,000 grant from the U.S. Embassy in London, which allowed them to travel abroad to Queen's University Belfast earlier this year. As part of the exchange program, educators from Northern Ireland are now here in Los Angeles, learning about the collaborative work of our educators as they toured learning hubs in L.A., including Loyola Marymount University’s School of Education, WISH Charter, APEX Academy and STEM Academy of Hollywood, located at the Helen Bernstein High School Complex, as well as San Fernando Institute for Applied Media (SFiAM) and Sylmar Biotech Health Academy (SBHA). These are just some of the many local schools partnering with YPI across the Promise Zone, which spans from Hollywood down to Pico-Union, and also includes Pacoima in the San Fernando Valley. The goal of the project is to share best practices and experiences between Northern Irish and local Los Angeles educators. Similar challenges and successes around school co-location and collaboration and inclusive education have been viewed through the lens of each community.

The exchange, part of The Education Success Project (TESP) at LMU, allows educators of diverse types of schools in the Los Angeles Promise Neighborhood to learn more about the intentional collaboration of leaders and teachers in Catholic and Protestant schools in post-conflict Northern Ireland, and how those across the pond were able to bring students coming from different backgrounds together. What Angelenos learned is that their counterparts’ effort to bridge the once-conflicted communities strengthened academic achievements.

As the Northern Irish folks visited L.A. this week, they learned about the current issues facing undocumented students in the United States and the strategies our city is implementing to protect its students and provide a safe environment for learning for all. More, they witnessed how collaborative reform is playing a role in the performance of schools within the Promise Zone, and how this concentrated effort that began five years ago has allowed these schools to achieve higher academic results. Their two-day tour of school campuses allowed them to understand more deeply the issues impacting L.A. schools. This week’s exchange also included the Los Angeles City Council recognizing Los Angeles and Northern Irish educators and culminated in a reflection of the program by both parties.

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