learn Winner / 2015

A Peaceful Los Angeles: Developing the Hearts and Minds of Our Future Leaders

Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Maker Challenge by Citizens of the World Charter Schools, Los Angeles

In order to fulfill our mission, Citizens of the World seeks to construct a rich, comprehensive social-emotional learning (SEL) program, as we believe self-regulation and social connection are essential components of every child’s development. Including SEL in everyday instruction allows for deeper, longer-term learning to occur. Ultimately, we envision that students who have built strong social-emotional competencies will become better citizens of our complex, diverse, and ever-changing world.


In what areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

  • City of Los Angeles
  • Diverse communities throughout LA including Hollywood, Silver Lake, and Mar Vista

How do you plan to use these resources to make change?

  • Engage residents and stakeholders
  • Expand a pilot or a program
  • Impact social change (by developing citizens who will improve individual and group dynamics in our diverse society)

How will your proposal improve the following “Learn” metrics?

  • District-wide graduation rates
  • HS student proficiency in English & Language Arts and Math
  • Academic Performance Index* scores
  • College matriculation rates
  • Student education pipeline (an integrated network of pre-schools, K-12 institutions, and higher education systems that prepares students for seamless transitions between high school, higher ed
  • Suspension and expulsion rates (Dream Metric)
  • Truancy rates in elementary and middle schools (Dream Metric)
  • Students perceived sense of safety at and on the way to school (Dream Metric)

Describe in greater detail how you will make LA the best place to learn.

As one of the largest, most diverse cities in the world, Los Angeles has endured significant inter-group conflict and civil unrest. Furthermore, our city’s schools have struggled to prepare students for academic and societal success. CWC LA intends to make Los Angeles a better place to learn, connect, and live by cultivating social-emotional health in our students and by training our next generation of citizens to work together productively.

CWC believes social-emotional learning to be as integral to an excellent education as traditional academic subjects and, moreover, views it as necessary for the world in which we live. SEL involves both learning about oneself, in the form of self-awareness and self-management, and others, in the form of social awareness, empathy, compassion and collaboration.

CWC’s model focuses on two broad aspects of social-emotional learning: 1) comprehension and 2) execution. Social-emotional comprehension pertains to the mental processes involved in encoding, interpreting, and reasoning about social and emotional information, and in controlling one’s thoughts and emotions. Examples include emotion recognition, perspective taking, social problem solving, and self-control. Social-emotional execution involves the behaviors expressed in social interactions that are designed to achieve social goals. These pro-social behaviors include the formation of friendships and social connections, and the reduction/resolution of social conflicts.

Social-emotional learning is highly consequential with positive impacts seen across behavioral, academic, mental health and social domains. According to a meta-analysis of school-based SEL programs conducted by Durlak, et all (2011), SEL programs “significantly improve students’ skills, attitudes, and behaviors”. In fact, strong SEL leads to better academic outcomes, relationships, participation in school, mental health and behavioral outcomes, and social acceptance.

Already, CWC LA’s schools have experienced these benefits firsthand. As we expand our region’s SEL program across our three diverse schools, we anticipate we will help move the needle on key education metrics for Los Angeles including: test scores, school safety, high school graduation, truancy, suspensions/expulsions, and ultimately college completion rates. We will also impact our students beyond school, with positive effects in resilience, mental health, social connection, safety and embracing diversity.

Please explain how you will evaluate your work.

CWC LA evaluates our work across three core program elements: academic excellence, diversity, and community. SEL is imbedded in each of these elements and helps us drive toward general mission fulfillment. Therefore, we will look at comprehensive measures such as academic achievement and diverse stakeholder engagement when we contemplate the effectiveness of SEL.

CWC LA will evaluate our SEL program with focused measures as well. Our assessment tools will assess mastery of SEL concepts such as emotion recognition, perspective taking, social problem solving, delay of gratification and frustration tolerance. We will utilize student input to create social network maps that will help teachers understand and facilitate social connections in the classrooms. Teachers will also observe SEL execution and student behavior using standardized scoring rubrics. Finally, we will seek formal and qualitative parent and principal feedback about our students’ social-emotional learning and behaviors.

How can the LA2050 community and other stakeholders help your proposal succeed?

  • Money (financial capital)
  • Volunteers/staff (human capital)
  • Publicity/awareness (social capital)
  • Infrastructure (building/space/vehicles, etc.)
  • Education/training
  • Technical infrastructure (computers, etc.)
  • Community outreach
  • Network/relationship support
  • Quality improvement research