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Famed UCLA elementary school gets new name

March 10, 2009 |  3:11 pm

Long known as one of the toughest campuses to get into, the Corinne A. Seeds University Elementary School in Westwood today was renamed UCLA Lab School to better reflect its mission of pursuing innovative research and experimental teaching.

The renaming is aimed at a broader effort to better tout its affiliation with the university and spread the word about its programs to the wider Los Angeles community, said principal Jim Kennedy. The Lab School is part of UCLA’s Graduate School of Education and Information Studies. “The new name better reflects who we are ... and not only our work here with students and families but how that work impacts other students and families,” he said.

The announcement came at a renaming ceremony that included musical performances, a pep rally and UCLA mascots leading the school’s 435 students in a mini parade. Actress Diane Keaton spoke on behalf of UCLA Lab School parents and the event was hosted by actress Holly Robinson Peete and former NFL quarterback Rodney Peete, whose students attend the school.

UCLA Lab School, with a tuition this year of $12,100, is known for its progressive curriculum that allows students -- age 4 to 12 -- to learn at their own pace. Research areas include teacher training and child development.

Founded more than 125 years ago and now located on several wooded acres of the UCLA campus, the Lab School recently has been working to position itself as a leading voice in educational policy throughout the state. An initiative was launched last year to open two new lab school sites in low-income communities to more directly address problems such as low test scores, high dropout rates and inadequate college readiness that plague many public schools. Those schools will also have the name UCLA Lab School, with a campus name that honors someone important in the local community.

The Westwood campus will continue to be known as the Corinne A. Seeds Campus. While officials had hoped to open the first of the community campuses by September 2009, Kennedy said that date would probably be pushed back a year. “The challenge is finding the right facility that we can grow into,” he said. “An established school would make it that much easier but they are hard to come by.” 

-- Carla Rivera