Home | Projects and Publications | Photo Gallery | About Me | Contact

Communities and Schools
Authors: Charles Kerchner
Contact: charles.kerchner@cgu

Since 2001, I have been involved with a remarkable organization in the Boyle Heights neighborhood of Los Angeles, just east of downtown. The Boyle Heights Learning Collaborative was formed as a result of an Annenberg Foundation grant that was intended to wed neighborhood improvement and education reform.

The BHLC is still a fledgling organization, but is remarkable in many was as an example of what I believe is a new way community organizing that gives voice and influence to parents and assistance to students and parents. In 2006, we wrote a report to the community summarizing the founding and promise of the organization.

The residents of Boyle Heights still face economic and safety concerns. Families still fear gang violence, and gentrification pressures are pushing them to move. But, literally, education has become the talk of the town. Parents and community-based organizations have learned that education is the key to success for their children. They have learned the right questions to ask school principals, teachers, and counselors. They have learned that when they are organized, the school district will listen to them. Education has become the talk of the Boyle Heights Learning Collaborative, as well.

Rather than an organization focused on home building, physical safety, school reform, and community advocacy, the BHLC has become an organization of home builders, police officers, physicians, teachers, school and college administrators, and community activists, all focused on student achievement and community literacy. In the words of its project director, the BHLC has become the “chamber of commerce of education.”

The organization is focused on increasing student achievement in the Roosevelt school family, parent participation, civic engagement, and in developing its unique brand of student leadership through a wonderful organization called the Society of Students. Journalist John Merrow reported on SOS for the PBS Newshour. To see his report, click here.

For more about BHLC current activities:


Date submitted: 08/31/2008
Date approved: