California Educator

October/November 2021

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Page 19 of 55

Building the Heart and Hub " W E ' R E R E I M A G I N I N G S C H O O L S , " says educator Ingrid Villeda. "It's so much more than what happens in class." As the community school coordinator at 93rd Street Academy in South Central Los Angeles, Villeda works with students and families to sup- port and connect them with the resources they need to learn and thrive. During the pandemic, her work has included delivering groceries to 250 school families every two weeks, the creation of a "giving room" with clothing, shoes and other items for students and families in need, and an after-school virtual enrichment program focusing on dance, art and sports. "e community schools program is meant to support everything the students do," says Villeda, a member of United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA). "ey can't focus on aca- demics if they're hungry or sad or tired." With massive investments by the state and fed- eral government, community schools are getting historic resources at a time when students and families need the support most. e community schools model is aimed at disrupting poverty and addressing long-standing inequities, high- lighting areas of need, and leveraging community resources so students are healthy, prepared for college and ready to succeed . A community school is both a place and a set of partnerships b e tw e e n t h e s c h o o l a n d o t h e r c o m m u n i ty resources with an integrated focus on academ- ics, health and social services, leadership, and community engagement, leading to improved student learning, 18 Ingrid Villeda Feature

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