Center X News

Salute to Teachers Q&A: Samantha Ayala, TEP Alum

TEP Alum Samantha Ayala of La Honda STEAM Academy in Lompoc is being honored as a Salute to Teachers distinguished new educator. In this Q&A, she discusses her teaching, motivation and supports.


By Natalie Irons, Associate Director, Instructional Coaching, UCLA Center X I’m thinking a lot about how conflict looks, sounds and feels as I engage in my work. I’ve noticed that…
Northeast US Map with ExcEL Academy logo

UCLA Center X Announces the Start of ExcEL 2026!

UCLA Center X is pleased to announce the start of ExcEL 2026, the latest iteration of the ExcEL Leadership Academy! ExcEL 2026 is a five-year program funded through the National Professional Development (NPD) grants offered by the US Department of Education’s Office of English Language Acquisition.

TEP Alum Profile: Mauro Bautista

UCLA TEP alumnus Mauro Bautista serves as Principal for Felicitas & Gonzalo Mendez High School — a community school located in East Los Angeles.


What the Curriculum Left Out for Us

Currently, there is a movement across the country to leave out critical narratives and histories from the curriculum. However, even before this movement, our curriculum has always left out counternarratives and histories. American textbooks are typically Eurocentric, biased, and disjointed.

Felicitas & Gonzalo Mendez High School: A Community School That Honors Its Neighborhood’s Legacy of Educational Justice

This Learning Policy Institute Brief focuses on a high-performing community school in East Los Angeles led by PLI faculty & graduate Mauro Bautista. The brief details the structures and practices that create the conditions for deep engagement, shared leadership, and a school culture that combines rigorous and engaging academics in a nurturing and inclusive environment.

Inclusion: Do we need to get ready or is it about normalcy?

As I walked around the classroom, I noticed a certain level of calmness. I saw co-teaching happening in this 1st
grade classroom and students actively engaged. The teacher called on “Sara” to talk about what she liked most in the story they read together as a class. Her friends tentatively sat and waited for her response. Her friend “Justin” held her hand and said “Sara, what did you like?” Sara waited and responded “I liked the pictures!” Sara’s response time took a little longer than some of her other friends but no one seemed to care.

Summer – Student Poem

I’m for warm summer days
and late nights with the people you love.
A hot season that is sure to come
like tanned skin that you can’t run away from.

Check out our ‘Just News from Center X,’ a weekly web post and email news blast. It’s a great way to learn about issues of education and justice.

We are excited about the publication of  Preparing and Sustaining Social Justice Educators edited by our former executive director, Annamarie Francois, along with UCLA Center for Community Schooling director Karen Hunter Quartz.