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Urban Planning

       Chatsworth Park UPM’s innovative curriculum will focus on incorporating the District’s core beliefs, ensuring mutual respect for the voices of stakeholders, high expectations for students, equity and access, and collaboration with families and our community. We recognize that effective teaching, leadership, and accountability are the keys to student success. Engaging our students in thematic project-based learning (PBL) will accelerate learning through quality curriculum and instruction, amplify student voices and involvement, improve attendance, reduce the achievement gaps in early years, and negate the effects of the Five Harms of Racial Isolation, helping to support our District goal of 100% graduation. This begins with inspiring students at a young age, empowering them by building their confidence, and teaching them the skills they need to be successful at all levels of education.

       The curriculum will incorporate critical thinking, collaboration, creativity, and communication about what urban planning is, and how urban planners help communities become engaging places to grow up, play, live, and work. By utilizing PBL, our students will learn to identify opportunities, options, problems, and solutions regarding areas in the community which might be in need of changes and improvements, such as protection of parks, interpretation of community zoning codes, and future building developments.  Educating our students through this lens will give them the skills needed to contribute to their community’s vision and become educated community leaders. An urban planning curriculum will foster community interaction, open-mindedness, and pride, helping students understand that young people are not only shaped by the environment they grow up in but also play an active role in shaping the environment today and for future generations of young people.

       By partnering with the Los Angeles Department of City Planning and developing our curriculum around the six focus elements of OurLA2040, our students will develop an understanding that holistic, comprehensive planning is interdisciplinary and requires collaboration with community members, municipalities, counties, regions, and major organizations to fully appreciate and engage in the investigation, design, evaluation, and scientific innovation that goes into urban planning. Comprehensive planner Erin Aleman explains it best using a pizza analogy: “Think of it as making a pizza for seven of your friends, each with different likes and dislikes. Everyone has to come together to discuss the options and determine how to put all the toppings on in a way that makes each individual happy.” With this analogy in mind, our students will engage in different and exciting activities every day that integrate language arts, mathematics, a deep understanding of the three dimensions of NGSS, HSS, art, and the use of technology and engineering to solve real world problems in the community.  Using PBL, our students will be exposed to inquiry-based focus questions that provide them opportunities to think critically, reflect on learning, and revise their thinking through firsthand scientific practice and research regarding the six focus elements of OurLA2040, Our Land Use and Economy, Our Community Assets, Our Open Space, Our Resilience, Our Conservation, and Our Water.

       Each grade level will engage in an interdisciplinary PBL unit for each focus element. Units will increase in depth and complexity across grade levels as students engage in exploration of what goes into community planning. Students will be required to read informational texts/articles, interpret charts, graphics, notes, videos, narratives, and lists, participate in field trips, view and listen to films, podcasts, online videos, and guest speakers. Learning will be demonstrated through narratives, graphic organizers, lists, PowerPoints, models, sculptures, speeches, paintings, signs, interactive displays, debates, and formal proposals. Scaffolding will ensure that every student is able to access the interdisciplinary critical thinking and learning driven by PBL.

       Through integration of NGSS and CSCS, focus elements of urban planning, and resources we already utilize on campus, such as our Lego Robotics program, mobile technology lab, and science lab, our students will be engaged in collaborative, relevant, and meaningful learning that builds upon itself in depth and complexity from year to year. This will improve attendance, learning habits, and social skills, motivating students to continue developing their understandings of how cities grow and function, and increase understanding of the issues in their community. Students will have an outlet to make their voices heard and participate in local government by fostering an awareness that planning is always happening around them and it is their responsibility to pay attention and ask questions. Culmination from Chatsworth Park UPM will come with the content knowledge, character, citizenship skills, appreciation for community development and urban planning, and drive necessary for our students to be successful throughout middle school, high school and college. Our students will be empowered to become the influential voices of their community, taking on the roles of city planners, environmentalist, transportation planners, urban designers, architects, and policy makers, applying their academic knowledge across a variety of demographic backgrounds and communities.