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The New American Story: Preserving the History of our Community through Storytelling

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Connecting students' personal experiences to their academic lives.


Our project is working to unlock the unrecorded history of the Latino Community of the greater MacArthur Park area via student and community storytelling. While our students’ standardized test scores indicate that they are performing “at grade level”, we were concerned with their lack of confidence, value in and command over their writing. They have trouble making the connection between their personal experience and academic lives. As a Writing Sharematter of social equity, we consider it our job to change this and therefore have sought new means of enriching our instructional repertoire. We continue to develop our writing pedagogy by attending writing institutes and inviting mentors to our school to better understand how craft and language are used to tell stories in a variety of genres and media. We have created units of study that teach our students the crafts and media outlets they need to share their stories and interests that originate from our community - MacArthur Park. We continue to hone instructional practices learned over the past two years to help students cherish and preserve personal expression as part of a growing and celebrated community identity. In the past six months of the grant we have worked to create the Pueblo Nuevo Folk Life Center, a recording suite and growing library that documents and saves student work as well as the stories of other members of the community.  Our project and grant funds have provided and continue to provide students the writing skills, recording tools, and pride they need to speak for themselves as individuals and as members of an under-served and under-represented fraction of American society. We are so very grateful, on behalf of ourselves as well as our students and community, for the learning and community this grant money has helped to generate.

School Information

Camino Nuevo Charter Academy-Harvard is one of several Camino Nuevo schools in the MacArthur Park neighborhood. The MacArthur Park is located west of downtown Los Angeles and is historically known as an immigrant enclave. Our student population is comprised of people from Mexico as well as several other countries in Central America. In total, our K-8 site serves 464 students. Of Harvard’s 464 students, 451—or 97.2% of the population—participate in the national school lunch program, receiving free or reduced-price lunch; 86% are learning English as a second language; and 99% identify as being Latino. Click here to learn more about the CNCA Community.

Team Biography

A group of teachers came together because we recognized a need for students to take pride in their life stories and their community.

Our group is comprised of a diverse group of teachers from second through eighth grades. 

While there are five designated TIIP members, a larger group of ten teachers have dedicated themselves to this work. Click here to find out more about the backgrounds of individual teachers!

Camino Nuevo's Areas of Focus



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UCLA Center X
1320 Moore Hall, Box 951521
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1521
(310) 825-4910