School of Social Justice

Updated May 26, 2017
322 S. Lucas Ave. - Los Angeles CA - 90017
Type of autonomy arrangement: pilot schools
Basic Profile

Opened In



9 through 12




District - Pilot
Select leaders
Determine learning program
Select colleagues
Determine professional development
Transfer or terminate colleagues
Determine whether to take, when to take, how much to count district/EMO/authorizer assessments
Determine tenure policy
Make formal arrangements with district/EMO/authorizer to allow multiple measures in determining school success (not only a mean proficiency score)
Evaluate colleagues
Set schedule
Set staff pattern
Determine teacher workday
Determine school budget
Set school-level policy
Determine compensation
Teacher Authority Is...
De Jure and De Facto
De jure authority is granted to the school governing board via the pilot agreement, which is in the form of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between LAUSD and UTLA. The MOU gives the board authority to make decisions in some areas. De facto, the governing board transfers this authority to the teachers, who collectively make decisions in areas indicated. In addition to the MOU, teachers collectively write an Elect to Work Agreement (EWA) for their site on an annual basis that outlines the working conditions at the school that are different from those outlined in the collective bargaining agreement between the district and union. For example, they can expand their own work hours, require participation in school events, and expand professional development requirements. This is a means to exercise more autonomy at the school level, at the will of the teachers. Teachers at the site vote on the terms they outline in the EWA, and anyone who does not agree to work under the conditions will enter the district’s hiring pool and default to the working conditions outlined in the existing collective bargaining agreement.

About the Learning Program


Graduates of The School of Social Justice experience a unique education that is both academically rigorous and personalized. In addition to California Content State Standards and university requirements, the SSJ curriculum utilizes inquiry-based instruction and higher-level questioning and thinking. At the center of the school’s curricular design is service learning that encourages students to take ownership of their education while developing an appreciation of lifelong learning. Each semester, students explore and develop a deeper understanding of social justice issues and human rights concerns. These projects emphasize student voice, student choice, and student involvement; they also enable students to apply 21st century skills learned in the classroom – such as communication and collaboration – to real-life applications.


The School of Social Justice teaches students the importance of organization as it applies to everything from individual daily academic needs to larger justice movements. Students in Social Justice learn organizational skills to allow them to manage their own work, enable them to work effectively in groups, and become both active leaders and collaborators in the community. As a school, we believe that without the ability to organize, students will be unable to affect lasting positive social change. Organizational skills are demonstrated through work in their individual classes, through the curriculum presented in advisory, and through multi-disciplinary projects in grade-level service learning.


The School of Social Justice develops students into advocates for groups that are marginalized and underserved. Teachers model compassionate and constructive communication and create a familial and supportive atmosphere in their classrooms. Through a structured advisory curriculum, students learn about existing systems of power in society, and develop more equitable and supportive relationships through democratic council discussions. Through annual service learning projects, students apply their advocacy skills to real-world challenges in their community. Furthermore, students are encouraged to participate in public service, instructional assemblies, performances, political rallies, protests, campaigns, and extracurricular clubs such as the Gay-Straight Alliance and the social justice art club PULSE. Students will participate in civic actions, establishing connections with other organizations such as MALDEF, Miguel Contreras Foundation, UCLA labor center and others.