LA RiverLore: A Professional Development Project,
in Real Time, in Los Angeles
LA RiverLore is a highly innovative service-learning focused project for K-16 and community based educators. We're connecting communities, students, and educators along the Los Angeles River. LA RiverLore will provide teachers in local schools the training, inspiration, collaboration, and connections needed to create standards focused service-learning curriculum around the River and its neighborhoods. Most importantly, LA RIverLore is connecting students in the greater Los Angeles area with their own local neighborhoods and communities through deep academically based service projects.
A River Comes Back to Life
After long being “lost in plain sight,” the Los Angeles River is beginning to emerge from its near century of concrete-urban-entombment. Friends of the LA River (FOLAR), RiverLA and others are leading unprecedented effort now underway to physically revitalize the LA River itself, along with its immediate environment. In this context people from all walks of life—throughout the Los Angeles area are becoming newly aware of the River. As future community leaders and stewards of the River, our students are crucial to the process of reimagining both the River and life in the communities that surround it.
As a metropolitan area, greater Los Angeles sits at a figurative intersection of North America, Latin America, and the Pacific Rim. One of the cores of California's economy, the eighth largest in the world, Los Angeles contains a multitude of diverse communities, integrated within a dynamic economy and a globally rare Mediterranean environment. This context provides for the richest of cultural and envrionmental landscapes for student inquiry and discovery. —photo by Ryan Vaarsi
LA RiverLore Students Build Community in MacArthur Park
The fourth graders in Paul Lowe's class at MacArthur Park Elementary are conducting and sharing cultural research in their inner city Los Angeles neighborhood of Westlake. Their teacher Paul Lowe is a trained member of LA RiverLore's Educator Cohort. His fourth grade students' Westlake neighborhood has great historic and cultural significance—including having once been covered by a large ancient lake that fed the Los Angeles River. Today Westlake, though posessing heavy economic challenges and one of the densest lower income populations in the U.S., is a also thriving neighborhood. Westlake also lies directly in the path of encroaching gentrification and development. Many of Westlake's residents are recent immigrants from Central America and Mexico who have brought a cultural vitality and uniqueness to their neighborhood. MacArthur Park students are interviewing and photographing their neighbors, at work and as they go about their everyday lives, with the goal of sharing a powerful portrait of one of Los Angeles' most important neighborhoods. In the process they are helping to build a sense of place and community, for themselves and for local residents. become an LA RiverLore school lcontact us
Celebrating our First LA RiverLore Educator Cohort
2016 marked our first gathering of Los Angeles area K-16 and community based educators. Our pilot educator RiverLore Cohort spent a remarkable week together at CWI’s Summer WEST Institute, focused on developing community focused service-learning experiences for their students, with the LA River as a shared touchstone. Our inaugural cohort came from schools and organizations that ranged from Cal State Northridge, to MacArthur Park, and on to South Central. After a week of powerful collaboration and curriculum development these educators are now involving their students in the process of community inquiry and service in their local neighborhoods.
Support LA RiverLore!
Be part of a once in a lifetime opportunity to help Los Angeles area students and their teachers build a shared sense of place, purpose, and community through inquiry, discovery, and social action.
With your generous support LA RiverLore is providing local school and community based educators with a unique opportunity to learn the skills to engage with their students in important work within their local communities. LA RIverLore's work spans the greater Los Angeles area, from the upper valley to Long Beach. Many of our RiverLore educators work in the Los Angeles area’s most socially and economically challenged schools and communities. We need your help to support this invaluable program. Make a contribution today.
LA RiverLore Supports Los Angeles Area Educators
LA RiverLore, a project of Community Works Institute (CWI), includes a multi-year teacher professional development and fellowship program, centered on deeply connecting students to their own local communities. Our shared pedagogy revolves around a focus on Place as the Context, Service-Learning as the Strategy, and Sustainable Communities as the Goal. Our larger goal is to involve K-16 students in important academically connected work that contributes to their neighborhoods and communities.
There are many ways to be involved in LA RiverLore, as an educator, a local knowledge-base advisor, or as a supportive volunteer for our educators. contact us
A River Legend: Lewis MacAdams
By LOUIS SAHAGUN
The head of the crusade to preserve the the LA River is stepping aside as group’s president. Lewis MacAdams, the poet and flag bearer of the crusade to transform the Los Angeles River into a more natural state, gripped the handles of his walker and shuffled along a weedy stretch of the flood control channel hemmed by freeways, power lines and railroad yards. Clad in black pants, a vintage shirt and pork pie hat, the 73-year-old co-founder of the hardened army known as Friends of the Los Angeles River steadied himself and gazed out, listening intently. “The LA River speaks to me,” MacAdams said with a wry smile. “And she’s been a vigorous muse for more than 30 years." read more
—Originally published in the Los Angeles Times
Place Based Service-Learning as a Strategy
Our curriculum design work takes many forms, focusing on students' interests, local community needs, and our educators' teaching priorities. Our common thread is uncovering and sharing stories of local culture and history, understanding the LA River's relationship to each community, and envisioning a sustainable future at the most local level. Place based service-learning guides our efforts.
Place Based Service-Learning is a process and teaching strategy that emphasizes the unique character of each community and its relationship to the larger world. It combines academic and social education goals to meet real community needs. It requires the application of knowledge,
and skills, and systematic reflection about the experience.
—Community Works Institute (CWI)