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Continuing Community

By Joanie Harmon

Published Mar 9, 2017 8:00 AM

Sarah Bang is the creator of UCLA Squared, a support system for UCLA community school alumni.


Sarah Bang welcomes young students from South Los Angeles to a summer institute being held at UCLA. Photo by Christine Shen.

As UCLA's liaison to the UCLA Community School, Sarah Bang was there from the beginning in 2009, helping the revolutionary LAUSD pilot school grow into a hallmark K-12 with a solid reputation for increasing the college-going rate in the Koreatown-Pico-Union area.


UCLA Squared students, Sarah Bang, a high school counselor and partners from the Graduate School of Education and Information Studies at Moore Hall. Photo courtesy of UCLA.

Now, like some of the accomplished graduates of the school, Bang has moved on — to the Westwood campus. After winding up her successful tenure at the Community School, Bang is devoting her energy to a new venture that she has created: UCLA Squared, a support system for the community school’s growing roster of alumni now attending UCLA.

“If the UCLA Community School motto is ‘Where we grow together,’ it shouldn’t stop just because you’ve graduated,” says Bang, who serves as the director of TIE-INS (Together in Education in Neighboring Schools) Program, also managed by the Graduate School of Education and Information Studies. “UCLA Community School was [created] here. We should be supporting [students] and welcoming them home.”

UCLA Squared provides mentoring from faculty and staff, as well as from student peers, for the 16 UCLA undergraduates who came from the Community School. To support them, there are quarterly gatherings and a Facebook page that Bang oversees. She’s also planning to create a place in Moore Hall where students can study, relax and network.

“First and foremost, we want students to know that … Moore Hall is their home away from home, and introduce them to people within the [Graduate School of Education and Information Studies (GSEIS)] so they can come and say hi. We want them to put a face to a name, and then later, when they bump into them in the hallway, they can feel connected. They had that at the community school, so we want them to have it as long as they need it.”

Bang, who recently received the 2016 Staff Innovation Award from GSEIS, is a two-time UCLA graduate herself, having earned a B.A. in sociology and an M.A. from the Teacher Education Program based at UCLA Center X. She briefly taught in an LAUSD school before returning to Center X, a nationally renowned education research center.

To view the original article from the UCLA Newsroom visit http://ucla.in/2lc9GL4.