The Bridge

Fall 2016 • News for Alumni of UCLA Lab School

Welcome to the first edition of UCLA Lab School alumni news!

Because of your interest, we are helping fellow alumni reconnect. Please forward this to classmates. Let them know we want to hear from them so we can be sure to include everyone in alumni events.

In this edition: Alumni Spotlight, 1970s Reunion, Campus Updates, Research, Outreach


Rachel Roth ('82)

"UES taught me to be curious. Even if you find something that you love and want to do forever, being curious about other things in the world …. – that’s one of the most important things to hold on to through your life.”

As program officer for The Crail-Johnson Foundation, Rachel Roth reviews and evaluates more than 200 letters of inquiry a year to help guide grant making decisions. "I try to learn, research, and read so that I can understand as much as I can." The Foundation supports a broad array of programs in education, human services and health that address the needs of economically, socially and physically disadvantaged children in the Los Angeles area, and supports both proven approaches and innovative programs aimed at systemic change.

Learn more

Fonda Snyder ('75)

"UES taught us to look at our lives in different, magical and unexpected ways. Those early years paved the way for me to create my own business and to believe in creating and achieving the unexpected.”

Fonda Snyder brings magic and the unexpected to others through her work as an agent, manager, and producer. She co-founded Storyopolis (with her sister, Dawn) a symbiosis of a bookstore, art gallery, artists' management company, development think tank and production company. She went on to found Alchemy Ink, Inc., representing authors and illustrators of young adult, new adult, middle grade, and picture books. She currently is Vice President at Rainmaker Entertainment, an animation studio where she oversees creative development, acquisition, co-productions and production service opportunities.

Learn more


1970s Reunion

Among last year's alumni events, the reunion for 1970s alumni drew quite a crowd. Marc Selwyn ('72) hosted at his home in the Hollywood Hills last June. The event brought together nearly 50 alumni and former staff.

Excited embraces and lively greetings were in abundance as alumni reconnected for the first time in years, some in decades. All had a wonderful time reminiscing about their experiences at our school, including fond memories of being taught to ride unicycles and skateboards as part of physical education.

The most often heard comment was that our elementary school was an incredibly special place and in many ways had a larger impact on the lives of alums and who they became than their high school or even college.

The event was a great kick-off for UCLA Lab School's initiative to reconnect with alumni.

Mark your calendar for Saturday, June 4, for the All Alumni Reunion. See our events list below for more details!


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Campus Enhancements

Our beautiful campus, designed in the mid 20th century by Richard Neutra and Robert Alexander with input from Corinne Seeds, supported a dynamic approach to education that was visionary then and continues to inspire today.

In 2014-15, we completed renovations of the lobby and main hallway, created an atelier and remodeled facilities in Early Childhood, and enhanced climate control systems in the Upper buildings. This year, we continue renovations with updates to exteriors, the bungalow, patios, gardens, conference rooms, and washrooms. Most recenlty completed is the remodel of our Gregg G. Juárez Community Hall, which is now unified with the adjacent Plaza to allow multiple configurations for gatherings and is equipped with the newest technologies.

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We are also delighted with the addition of an iSTEAM Lab and mini-iSTEAM Lab. Both support inquiry in Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math. These dedicated workspaces are equipped with all the newest technologies and designed for flexibility to allow students and teachers to collaborate in robotics, make 3-D printed widgits, and explore and express their ideas in multimedia. In addition, a full-time demonstration teacher has been added to our faculty to inspire and facilitate hands-on projects integrated with curriculum.

These additions not only enhance teaching and learning at our school, they benefit students beyond our school community as we share our iSTEAM approach through outreach.


As part of our three pronged mission focused on teaching, research and outreach, we have a unique partnership with UCLA and the Graduate School of Education and Information Studies (GSEIS).

Science through Technology Enhanced Play (STEP) is a joint research project of GSEIS and Indiana University and funded by the National Science Foundation. STEP researchers have been working with UCLA Lab School teachers and students to combine dramatic play with augmented reality technologies as a pathway to help young children understand abstract science concepts such as pollination, force and motion, and states of matter.

In one example, children play-acted with creative homemade props and motion tracking technology to learn about ecological interdependence. As students played at being bees, teachers guided inquiry about the needs of the hive, communication in the hive, and what would happen to bees in subsequent years should flowers not be pollinated.

Engaging children in acting out what they think will happen offers another inquiry-based learning environment that expands the resources available to students.

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The mission of UCLA Lab School is to promote innovation and excellence in education through research, outreach, and teaching and learning. We open our doors and share our inquiry practice near and far.

Among our many recent programs was a workshop on teaching with primary sources, a collaboration among UCLA Lab School, the Cotsen Foundation for the Art of Teaching, and the Teaching with Primary Sources (TPS) program of the Library of Congress. Primary sources are the raw materials of history – original documents and objects that were created at the time under study. Primary sources engage students, allow them to develop critical thinking skills, and provide them with opportunities to inquire and construct knowledge.

Through classroom observation, discussion, and training, workshop participants learned how to guide their students in the habits of historians, including sourcing, contextualizing, and close reading.

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UCLA Lab School /UES Alumni Reunion

Saturday, June 4, 2016

4-6 pm



Norma Silva, Principal

Sanam Khamneipur Smith, Director of Develpment & Alumni Engagement

Sandra Aldama, Coordinator of Develpment & Alumni Engagement