Urban Ed-Voyage: Transforming Schools Innovatively

by LAUSD Magnets

Welcome to "Urban Ed-Voyage," the educational podcast that invites you to embark on a transformative journey into innovative education within urban schools.

What We Offer:

- Insightful Exploration: Join us as we delve into the diverse array of innovative educational approaches within urban school settings. We'll uncover the benefits, challenges, and inspiring stories of students  ... 

 ...  Read more

Podcast episodes

  • Season 1

  • Empowering Educators: Embracing SEL for Student Success

    Empowering Educators: Embracing SEL for Student Success

    In this episode of Urban Ed Voyage, delve into the transformative potential of Social Emotional Learning (SEL) in urban education. Joined by Dr. Justin Lauer, Director of Middle School Instruction at LAUSD, the conversation explores the importance of SEL in guiding students' social, emotional, and behavioral development, particularly in underserved urban communities. Discover how SEL initiatives contribute to positive school climates, improved academic performance, and increased student engagement. Gain insights into the challenges of integrating SEL into the curriculum and strategies for supporting teacher well-being. Join us on a journey to understand how SEL can nurture positive school cultures and promote academic and emotional well-being in students. (0:00) Intro (1:45) Can you provide an overview of what Social Emotional Learning (SEL) entails and why it's important in the context of education, particularly within urban schools? (4:30) In what ways do SEL initiatives contribute to a positive school climate and enhance overall academic performance? (6:16) How do you ensure that SEL programs are effectively integrated into the curriculum and school culture, rather than treated as optional add-ons? (8:10) How do you address any potential resistance or skepticism among teachers regarding the implementation of SEL programs, and what strategies do you use to garner buy-in from educators? (9:37) How do you measure the effectiveness of SEL programs, and what data or metrics do you use to evaluate their impact? (11:55) How are we as a district supporting teachers in implementing SEL practices effectively within their classrooms? (13:18) In what ways do you recognize and celebrate the efforts of teachers who demonstrate excellence in promoting SEL competencies among their students? (15:11) What led you to this work? (18:00) How do you encourage self-care and well-being among teachers, recognizing the importance of their own social and emotional health in fostering a positive classroom environment (20:30) Speed Round: (20:38) What is one book that all educators should read? (21:23) What do you do for self-care? (22:37) What is inspirational quote that you live by? (24:02) Final Thoughts

  • Empathy in Education: Building Compassionate Communities

    Empathy in Education: Building Compassionate Communities

    In this enlightening episode, Dr. Keith Abrahams sits down with Joey Porter, the esteemed Magnet Coordinator of Armstrong MS VAPA & SAGE Magnets. Mr. Porter offers an in-depth exploration of how his magnets model empathy in education and build compassionate communities. Mr. Porter discusses key strategies like fostering intentionality, addressing implicit bias, and encouraging student participation. He also acknowledges challenges like unconscious biases, lack of awareness, and competing priorities. Ultimately, the episode emphasizes that building inclusivity is an ongoing effort requiring collaboration and a commitment to continuous improvement. (0:00) Intro (1:50) Can you briefly describe the magnet offerings and Armstrong Middle School? (2:25) How do you define an inclusive learning environment? (3:03) What specific strategies do you employ to create and maintain an inclusive environment? (10:25) How do you intentionally develop empathy with your students? (14:02) How can we support our teachers around creating inclusive environments? (16:24) What ways are students encouraged to contribute to and shape the inclusive culture of the school? (22:19) Did you ever receive any pushback from teachers, community or parents? (24:30) What advice would you have given yourself 4 years ago when starting this magnet?   (28:16) Speed Round: (28:32) What is one book that all educators should read? (30:25) What do you do for self-care? (31:02) What is inspirational quote that you live by? (32:54) Final Thoughts

  • Constructivism: Learning Through Collaboration & Dynamic Interactions

    Constructivism: Learning Through Collaboration & Dynamic Interactions

    In this enlightening episode, Dr. Keith Abrahams sits down with Antoinette Cass, the esteemed Principal of Open Charter Magnet School in Los Angeles. Principal Cass offers an in-depth exploration of the constructivist approach to education that her school champions. This method prioritizes student-centered learning, with educators serving as facilitators who nurture children's existing knowledge and interests. She delves into how Open Charter Magnet School implements constructivism through project-based learning, fostering student leadership, encouraging collaboration, and providing differentiated, culturally responsive lessons in multi-age classrooms. Emphasizing the significance of hands-on learning, the school integrates real-world applications into its curriculum, making field trips and practical experiences key components of their educational strategy. (0:00) Intro (1:42) Can you share a bit about your background and how you became a principal? What inspired you to pursue a career in education? (4:30) Can you describe the constructivist approach to education and how it shapes the learning environment in your school? (10:50) What challenges have you faced in implementing a constructivist curriculum? (17:42) The constructivist approach influences student engagement and motivation in the classroom? Please speak on student engagement and motivation. (19:29) I would think that skills learned through this approach could prepare students for the challenges of the 21st century, including higher education and the workforce. What are your thoughts. (21:09) Can you provide examples of how Open Magnet has positively impacted its students or alumni? (24:23) Schools can be measured or evaluated by student outcomes (i.e. test scores). At Open, how are student progress and achievement assessed? (25:19) Talk about the transition from a traditional approach to this approach. (28:37) How do your principal peers react to Open’s instructional model? (30:06) What advice would you give to educators or schools considering the adoption of a constructivist model? (32:03) Speed Round: (32:12) What is one book that all educators should read? (32:31) What do you do for self-care? (32:46) What inspirational quote do you live by? (33:11) Final Thoughts

  • Promoting School Culture

    Promoting School Culture

    The podcast features Dr. Keith Abrahams interviewing Gabriel Duran, Principal of Maywood Center for Enriched Studies. Duran shares his journey from working in parks and recreation to becoming a principal. He emphasizes the importance of creating a positive school culture, detailing the challenges of selecting staff and fostering a supportive environment. Duran discusses the school's unique approach to discipline, replacing a dean with additional counselors to focus on student guidance rather than punishment. Duran highlights the school’s innovative practices, such as encouraging student-led clubs and leveraging social media for student engagement. He also talks about the challenges of balancing administrative duties with classroom involvement and the importance of maintaining a strong mission and vision. (0:00) Intro (1:48) Can you share a bit about your background and how you became a principal? What inspired you to pursue a career in education? (3:21) How were you intentional in building relationships and developing systems that lead to MaCES’s positive school culture? (8:27) In your words what makes your program successful? (12:45) What is the real Churro story? (16:23) What are the most significant challenges you face as a school principal, and how do you address them? (18:30) How long have you not had a dean? (20:42) Is there an inspiring student or staff story you would like to share with us? Or can you describe any memorable success stories or achievements from your time as a principal that made a significant impact on the school community? (23:15) Can you talk a little bit about how that decision was made to become a full inclusion school and what advice or recommendations are you would you give to any other principal who's considering it? (27:47) What advice do you have for aspiring educators who may be considering a career in school administration or leadership roles? (29:04) Speed Round (29:15) What is one book that all educators should read? (30:02) What do you do for self-care? (30:48) What inspirational quote do you live by?