Promising Models

Watts Learning Center


By focusing on building and sustaining strong relationships with students, families, and community members, the Watts Learning Center has been able to leverage resources to serve the needs of the whole child. At the same time, it has created opportunities for students to develop and nurture an identity of active citizenship and community leadership (CDE, 2019; Watts Learning Center, 2019).

Independent K-5 public elementary school

The Watts Learning Center will build on the success of Head Start and other pre-school programs by creating a culture of learning in which all stakeholders—students, parents or guardians, faculty, and staff—have clearly defined roles and expectations.

397 Students
1% White
54% Latinx
45% Black
27% English Language Learners
10% Have disabilities
3% Experiencing homelessness
96% FRPL eligible*

Watts Learning Center

To actualize their mission, WLC’s culture is centered around the following essential question, “What is the meaning of a World Class Education?”. With respect to increasing student achievement and developing intellectual curiosity, WLC approach to learning is summed up in the following:

“Our staff is engaged in continuous thinking and learning to reimagine and rethink education. We are engaged in understanding the meaning of a World Class Education. Based on this understanding, we are engaged in the process of making the ‘Watts Learning Center Way.’ Fundamental to the Watts Learning Center Way is the basic premise that every child in our schools is known and understood, valued and respected as an independent thinking person.”

Academic Preparation & Student Achievement

During the 2018-2019 academic school year, Mathematics proficiency scores at the Watts Learning Center exceeded district proficiency scores by 14.5 percentage points, with Black students at Watts Learning Center outperforming Black students in LAUSD by 19.4 percentage points. Overall, Mathematics scores at Watts Learning Center also exceeded the state average by 8 percentage points (CAASPP, 2018-2019).

Community Partnerships

One of the core values of the Watts Learning Center is community achievement and its education philosophy highlights parental involvement and volunteer services as critical factors for supporting and enhancing teaching and learning for students. The Watts Learning Center has dedicated itself to working alongside community members and key constituents to increase opportunities for students to engage in deeper learning while improving quality of life in the community. One avenue for accomplishing this is via a monthly Community Collaboratorium where community members, concerned citizens, and school leaders meet to discuss strategies and opportunities to create long-term benefits for children, families, and the community at large. Some of the community partners of the WLC Community Collaboratorium include: The Amanda Foundation, CSU Dominguez Hills School of Education, The County of Los Angeles Department of Parks and Recreation Ted Watkins Memorial Park, County of Los Angeles Department of Public Health, Leadership for Urban Renewal Network, Los Angeles Housing Authority, National Action Network, Physicians for Social Responsibility, The Prudential Insurance Company of America Greater Los Angeles Financial Group, Watts Gang Task Force, Gangsters for Christ, and the Watts Labor Community Action Committee. The Watts Learning Center also has the Hope Comes to Watts partnership, an annual 3-week teaching and mentoring experience at WLC with aspiring educators from Hope College in Holland, Michigan.

*Free & Reduced-Price Lunch
Watts Learning Center Partnerships, Retrieved from: