Founded in 1998, the Life Learning Academy is a non-residential high school developed by the Delancey Street Foundation as part of a juvenile justice reform effort to reduce youth incarceration and recidivism.
|The Life Learning Academy Charter High School
Life Learning Academy's philosophy is based on the core principles of the Delancey Street Foundation (DSF), such as 'reciprocal restitution,' the idea that each student can make up for mistakes by giving back to the community, and 'each one teach one,' a philosophy that values everyone sharing responsibility for each other's learning. The keys to LLA's success include: (1) the degree to which the students are involved in school management; and, (2) the innovative, project-based curricula including actual in-school entrepreneurial and career development programs. Life Learning Academy is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).
LLA has also been recognized for numerous innovations in educating students that have failed in traditional education settings.
In 2002, LLA was one of three schools statewide to receive a California Department of Education Dissemination Grant, which resulted in over 150 educators visiting the school to learn about the program and curriculum.
LLA was a finalist in 2004 in the prestigious Innovations in American Government Award from the Ash Institute for Democratic Governance and Innovation at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government. As a result, The Council for Excellence in Government awarded the Life Learning Academy a grant to disseminate its innovation to other government jurisdictions and the public.
In 2005, Life Learning staff and students were one of the recipients of the Golden Apple Awards from the San Francisco Education Fund for a project-based curriculum addressing multi-cultural issues in education. The Governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and State School Superintendent, Jack O'Connell, also recognized our math and photography teachers for the innovative project-based math and art curriculum.
In 2006, LLA was invited to join the Coalition of Essential Schools Small Schools Network as a CES Mentor School based on LLA's capability to share strengths with other schools and educators across the country, particularly with schools that work with underserved youth.
|Students renovate the LLA school site
Life Learning is located on Treasure Island, a former US Navy base that sits in the middle of the San Francisco Bay. Under the guidance of the Delancey Street Construction Department, students renovated the school facility expanding it from 8,000 square feet to 24,000 square feet.
The school day begins with a school-wide Morning Meeting, which features poetry, new vocabulary, and a daily concept or quote that encourages community spirit. Class size is 6 - 8 students on average and extended school hours are offered for peer and teacher tutoring. During the school day, students help cook the meals, tend the gardens and convene groups to shape and implement school policies. As students learn the school's philosophy and methods, they progress to become peer mentors to other students.