Our History

Since 2003, we have been a leader in school reform, both in Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), and districts throughout the Greater Los Angeles region. In the last ten years, we have accomplished major milestones including establishing several effective model programs that are now being replicated throughout LAUSD.


  • Staff expands to 14 members

  • Received Citi Foundation and America’s Promise support to implement EEI innovative programs that will provide engineering skills and apprenticeships to more than 180 students


  • Partnered with LA Trade-Technical College to establish competency-based credits that demonstrate college and career readiness

  • Established first Linked Learning afterschool program in partnership with Educare

  • Established Linked Learning continuation schools program to engage historically underrepresented students

  • Changed name to Center for Powerful Public Schools

  • Received Weingart Foundation grant to build organizational capacity


  • Received Irvine Foundation funding to support Los Angeles AB 790 Districts interested in implementing Linked Learning

  • Co-designed and conducted Southern California Linked Learning coaches trainings

  • Provided coaching and technical assistance to 21 LAUSD Linked Learning pathways and 5 districts


  • Received Ford Foundation funding to establish the first Linked Learning Summer Bridge program, Prep 4 Sucess, a three-week industry theme-based program for incoming 9th grade students that prepares them to be successful in high school

  • Advocated and managed pass-through funding for a LAUSD Linked Learning office to support additional high school pathways throughout the district


  • Continued to support Linked Learning implementation in Local District 4 including co-sponsoring the first Linked Learning Symposium


  • Received James Irvine Foundation grant to be the first California Regional Linked Learning Center working throughout LAUSD and Southern California

  • Full RFK campus opens with six small Pilot schools and serves as a model for other shared campuses across LAUSD

  • Provided coaching and technical assistance to first Cohort of Linked Learning pathways


  • Robert F. Kennedy (RFK) Community School opens beginning with two K-12 elementary programs

  • Partnered with UCLA Center X and LAUSD Local District 4 to launch UCLA IMPACT, a five-year federally funded urban teacher residency program that has placed 170 apprentice teachers with mentor teachers in small, innovative schools for a year

  • Agreement signed by LAUSD and UTLA to open an additional 10 Pilot schools

  • Supported LAUSD Local District 4 to be chosen as one of 9 districts in California to be part of the Linked Learning District Initiative


  • Received 501(c)(3) status as Los Angeles Small Schools Center

  • Established first office at CARECEN in Pico Union neighborhood


  • First two Pilot schools opened

  • Served as an advisor to the Pilot Schools Steering Committee

  • Introduced the design of a shared K-12 campus with six small Pilot schools to be located on the site of the former Ambassador Hotel and worked with LAUSD Local District 4


  • Created the Belmont Zone of Choice (BZC) that gave Pico Union eighth grade students and their families the choice to attend one of 17 themed high schools. The BZC has been replicated in 18 other high school Zones across LAUSD

  • Belmont Pilot Schools agreement is signed by LAUSD and UTLA to establish 10 Pilot schools

  • Provided support to first and subsequent Pilot schools


  • Co-founded the Belmont Education Collaborative, a coalition of 30 community and educational organizations to improve educational opportunities to Pico Union students

  • Jeanne Fauci, current Center Executive Director, becomes LASSC co-founder

  • Partnered with LAUSD Local District 4, United Teachers Los Angeles to establish the Belmont Pilot Schools, in-district public schools with autonomy over their budget, curriculum and assessment, governance, schedule and staffing


  • Supported the establishment of small learning communities across LA Unified middle and high schools

  • Established a network of eight small schools to provide leadership and exemplar programs for small school establishment


  • Founded as the Los Angeles Small Schools Collective by educational researcher Dr. Karen Hunter Quartz and master teacher Cris Gutierrez, with the vision to establish small democratic schools in Los Angeles

  • The Annenberg Foundation supported the efforts with a planning grant; LASSC was housed at UCLA Institute for Democracy, Education and Access

  • Collaborated with Stanford School Redesign Network, led tours for Los Angeles educational leaders to see small schools in Boston and New York