TEACHING IN LOS ANGELES
Watch the video below to hear from some of our alumni, including Kim Figueroa from the 2012 LA Corps, about what it's like teaching in LA schools. Read on for more!
Los Angeles County is home to approximately 10 million inhabitants spread out across 4,060 square miles of palm trees, beaches, and sunshine. This geographic scale grants our Los Angeles corps members the opportunity to explore and teach in 15 school districts, three early childhood education centers, and 25 charter schools and management organizations, from Pacoima in the north valley to Carson in the south.
As one of the most culturally diverse cities in the nation, Los Angeles is an unrivaled treasure trove of creative expression, food choices, and community groups that are pushing our city forward. Any tour of LA starts with our Hollywood studios (Warner Bros, Paramount) and continues on to our robust art scene (LACMA, The Broad, The Getty) before stopping for a bite to eat in one of our two Chinatowns, a local taqueria, or one of the iconic Roscoe's Chicken and Waffles locations. If you’re looking to contribute to the city on a local level, you can plug into a variety of organizations overseeing everything from community-driven gardens in South LA to those engaged in critical anti-gentrification work in Boyle Heights.
No narrative about closing the opportunity gap would be complete without several chapters dedicated to Los Angeles. As a community, Los Angeles has been the site of racial, social, and class conflicts that have directly and indirectly impacted our schools and students, including the Rodney King beating, the O.J. Simpson case, and Proposition 227, the controversial state legislation that banned bilingual education. As our nation's second largest school district, Los Angeles Unified has been the site of myriad reform efforts; from year-round schooling and the small schools movement, to mayoral takeover and the junk food ban. When educational policy is enacted in L.A., the entire country watches.
Not only are we one of the first Teach For America sites in the country, but we have led the country in corps diversity and support 1700 alumni. Our local staff, corps members, alumni, and partners look forward to working with you and providing you a network of support over the next two years and beyond.
While you will spend days and nights in the coming years fulfilling your role as a teacher and leader in the classroom, you will also get to know our city. Whether it’s hiking in Griffith Park, stargazing on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, or enjoying our beaches year-round, we have a lot to offer. From Watts to Hollywood, you are sure to find your niche within the endless diversity of Los Angeles.
Where Corps Members Live
Los Angeles is an amalgam of vibrant neighborhoods, each with its own distinct personality guaranteeing that you’ll find the community that’s right for you. Given that Los Angeles is such a big city however, corps members tend to live in areas that will minimize their commute. Since our placement schools are generally in a few concentrated areas, neighborhoods closer to the center of LA, such as Hollywood, Echo Park, Silver Lake, Koreatown, Downtown, and West Adams are often more convenient than the southern beach communities.
Price : Affordable $ | Manageable $$ | A Pretty Penny $$$ | Expensive $$$$
Parking, Public Transportation, Freeway Access: Poor ✩ | Solid ✩✩ | Great ✩✩✩ | Stellar ✩✩✩✩
* Keep in mind that these measures are relative and specific to LA and are based on the financial information provided to you in the Living Expense document. They are here to provide context and a foundation for you as you embark on your journey to the city of angels.
Public Transportation: ✩✩✩
Freeway Access: ✩✩✩
Interests:#theIndustry #entertainment #studios #theater #sightseeing #celebrities #nightlife
When you think of Los Angeles chances are you’re actually imagining Hollywood first: Paramount Studios, The Hollywood Walk of Fame, celebrities sightings, and of course the iconic sign on the hills. And while everything you’ve pictured can be found here (actors everywhere) Hollywood stretches far across Central LA forming a diverse patchwork of neighborhoods and living opportunities. Experience the Industry buzz, but take a moment and appreciate one of the most diverse and central parts of the city.
Public Transportation: ✩✩
Freeway Access: ✩✩
Interests: #HistoricHomes #Architecture #Neighbors&Community #Peace&Quiet
West Adams, or more commonly, Historic West Adams, is bursting with history and some of the most impressive architectural feats in the whole city, easy. A tight-knit community known for it’s strong sense of familial ties and neighborly love, West Adams is a cozy, suburban pocket in LA. While it is a bit removed from the sights and excitement of Los Angeles, architecture buffs will surely delight in all the design gems.
Miracle Mile/Mid-Wilshire & Mid-City
Price: $$ to $$$
Public Transportation: ✩✩✩
Freeway Access: ✩✩✩
Interests: #business #food #museums #apartments
Two neighborhoods that tightly hug the hustle & bustle of Wilshire Avenue, Mid-Wilshire and Mid-City are two of densest and most diverse parts of all of Central LA. While popularly known as a business sector, Wilshire Avenue contains a plethora of food options, entertainment venues, and, of course, Museum Row: LACMA, Craft and Folk Art Museum, and the La Brea Tar Pits. These neighborhoods are quite lively and are home to the highest percentage of renters in the region.
Price: $ to $$
Public Transportation: ✩✩
Freeway Access: ✩✩✩
Interests: #FOOD #nightlife #apartments
Among the art deco buildings and the terra cotta facades, you can find the densest neighborhood in all of LA County: Koreatown. Historically a neighborhood of importance for the Korean immigrant community, Koreatown has grown to contain a substantial community of residents. Here, you will find entertainment galore: spas, karaoke, nightlife, and if you’re a foodie, you’re in for a treat, Koreatown is the holy grail of cuisine. Koreatown’s apartment abundance and proximity to Downtown make it one of the more popular neighborhoods to reside.
Public Transportation: ✩✩
Freeway Access: ✩✩
Interests: #lgbtqia #nightlife #food
West Hollywood (WeHo) is the home of the famed Sunset Strip where Angelenos frolic for live music, great restaurants and good entertainment. But more importantly, WeHo is also the heart of the LGBTQ life in Los Angeles. Its main arteries are Sunset Blvd to the north and Santa Monica Blvd
Interests: #film #food
Culver City has a redeveloped main street area with a variety of restaurants, movie theaters, art galleries and play houses. Start with dinner at Tender Greens and then catch a movie. Or see a show at the Kirk Douglass playhouse and follow it up with wine tasting at Ugo’s wine bar. On a game day grab a burger at Father’s Office or Backstage Bar and Grill
Downtown Los Angeles
Public Transportation: ✩✩✩✩
Interests: #food #art #entertainment #sights #architecture #nightlife
The heart of the city itself Downtown is the central hub for LA’s political, cultural, and business affairs and is home to the city’s most stunning architectural works, innovative public spaces, and a slew of exquisite eateries. Here you will find all of LA’s famous districts as well as the entertainment hotspots including the Disney Concert Hall, The Broad, Skyspace, and The Staples Center.
Public Transportation: ✩✩
Interests: #music #trends #hipster #juice #boutiques #food #sustainability
Silver Lake is a hilly neighborhood east of Hollywood and northwest of Downtown. Silver Lake is inhabited by a wide variety of ethnic and socioeconomic groups, but it is best known as an eclectic gathering of hipsters and the creative class. Since the 1990s, Silver Lake has become the center of the alternative and indie rock scene in Los Angeles.
South Bay Beach Cities*
Price: $$ to $$$$
*Includes Torrance, Manhattan Beach, Redondo Beach, Hawthorne and Hermosa Beach areas.
If you prefer to exercise outside, this is the perfect place! Beach cities offer great weather and scenery for outdoor sports like volleyball, basketball, running and cycling. If you prefer activities like yoga/pilates—there are plenty of options in these parts of the cities. Gyms such as 24-Hour Fitness and Spectrum are popular gyms.
Entertainment & Food
“I love Los Angeles—you can do and eat anything within the span of one weekend. You can eat Ethiopian food with your hands sitting on the floor for lunch and have dinner at an authentic Chinese restaurant in Chinatown. There are so many opportunities in the city.”
-Alain Bonny (LA ’10)
Eggslut | $$ | Instagram
This egg-centric eatery can be found inside of the Grand Central Market in addition to every LA foodie’s Instagram. Naturally you will always find a line that loops across the market, but it is ultimately worth it for the best breakfast sandwich in the city.
What You Should Get: Bacon, Egg, & Cheese; Orange Juice
In-n-Out | $ | Instagram
Iconic. Enough said. This West coast chain serves the simplest, but best quality fast food burgers in the country (sorry Shake Shack). Just wait in line already (don’t forget to take a peek at the secret menu).
What You Should Get: the Double Double; Animal Style Fries .
Salt & Straw | $$ | Instagram
Tucked in a small corner of Larchmont Village you will find a not-so traditional ice cream shop. Located only in Portland and Los Angeles, Salt & Straw is known for its farm-fresh ingredients and for its inventive flavors including: bone marrow & smoked cherries, strawberry & avocado sorbet, roasted strawberry & toasted white chocolate, and honey lavender to name a few.
What You Should Get: Whatever makes you feel the most adventurous (Salted, Malted, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough is divine, though)
Guelaguetza | $$ | Instagram
If you’re a fan of mole and traditional Oaxacan food, Guelaguetza is an absolute must. Owned and operated by Fernando Lopez and Maria Monterrubio, the couple aims to share Oaxacan culture and life through all of their dishes. Visit and experience why they’ve earned recognition from the most prestigious individuals in the culinary industry, including a spot in Jonathan Gold’s 101 essential restaurants list.
What You Should Get: Mole rojo or the mole negro.
Prova | $ | Instagram
Indulge in the Prova family’s 100 year old recipe for the most exquisite and creative wood oven pizzas in the city. While pizza is incredibly subjective and everyone has their favorite, this dough and ingredients used at this joint lures people from a 50 mile radius to their small shop in WeHo.
What You Should Get: Prova Signature; Calabrese; Kale Salad; Nutella Pizza
Roscoe’s House of Chicken and Waffles | $ | Instagram
6 locations in Los Angeles
Roscoe’s House of Chicken and Waffles is a Long Beach, CA-based soul food restaurant chain founded in 1975. Roscoe’s is best known, of course, for its chicken and waffles, but it features an extensive menu that’s sure to satisfy even picky eaters.
What You Should Get: Honestly order the chicken & waffles.
Guisados | $ | Instagram
Born in Boyle Heights in December 2010, Guisados set out to serve homestyle braises on handmade corn tortillas made to order from the fresh ground masa next door at Carnitas Uruapan. They have a sample plate that is sure to satisfy your taste buds.
What You Should Get: Handmade tortillas; mole poblano taco; tinga de pollo; Armando Palmero
Pink’s Hot Dogs | $ | Instagram
Pink’s hot dog stand has enjoyed 72 successful years at the same location in Hollywood. Enjoy a late-night Chili Cheese Dog, a Martha Stewart Dog, or even a vegan Patt Morrison Baja Veggie Dog. Be prepared to wait in a long line—but don’t worry, it’s worth it.
What You Should Get: Whichever eccentric name catches your eye.
BLD | $$ | Instagram
BLD, which cleverly stands for breakfast, lunch and dinner has been well received by the locals since it opened its doors in June 2006. Off of a menu that focuses on casual American cuisine, the most requested dishes include the ever-changing artisan cheese and charcuterie, and the blueberry-ricotta pancakes. Guests can dine indoors or out, or they can belly up to a counter that seats twelve.
What You Should Get: Blueberry-ricotta pancakes, no question.
Grand Central Market
An LA landmark since 1917, the Grand Central Market aims to bring together the cuisine and cultures of the city. This 30,000 square foot food emporium holds a vast array of food options to satisfy any palate including Tacos Tumbras A Tomas, McConnell’s Fine Ice Cream, and the infamous Eggslut.
Identifiable by its honeycomb like exterior, the Broad is a new contemporary art museum that holds Eli Broad’s 2,000 piece art collection. Notable artists include: Cindy Sherman, Jeff Koons, Andy Warhol, and Yayoi Kusama’s Instagram popular Infinity Mirrored Room. Admission is free, but reservations are necessary.
Shopping extravaganza! The Grove is a massive outdoor shopping complex that houses your favorite brand name stores (Zara, JCrew, Nike), fine eateries, and a trolley that whisks you away into the neighboring farmer’s market. In the summer, you can bask in the LA sunshine as you shop and in the winter, you can enjoy the decadent and festive decorations that signal the beginning of the holiday season.
A new addition to Downtown, Skyspace takes you 1,000 feet above the ground and offers the tallest open-air observation deck and the best 360-degree view of the entire city. If you can brave, experience the outdoor glass slide that lets you glide from the 70th to the 69th floor and view the city from a completely unique and unobstructed perspective.
LACMA & La Brea Tar Pits:
If you decide to stroll through Museum Row on a Sunday afternoon, you will inevitably find yourself drawn to the ice age fossils of the Tar Pits and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s massive 130,000 piece collection. Both sites strive to bridge the past and the present and map our connectedness as humans-- a day spent perusing the exhibits or enjoying one of the ample community programs on the grounds is a day spent channeling the ethos of the landmarks.
Few sites require such little explanation as the 2,500 brass stars that decorate the 15 blocks of Hollywood Boulevard. Although you’ll find crowds of tourists any day of the week, it’s worth a trek for a selfie with your favorite icon’s star.
The Getty Center
The Getty Center is the headquarters for the Getty Trust’s research, education, and conservation. You can also visit the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, which has been one of the finest art museums in the nation for over 50 years.
Another top attraction is Griffith Observatory, which was made world-famous by the film Rebel Without a Cause and houses a planetarium with shows that reveal planets and stars that are hidden from the naked eye by the city lights.
Walt Disney Concert Hall
Home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, this concert hall is designed to be one of the most acoustically sophisticated in the world. Go see a concert, take a tour, or have dinner. It was been voted one of the top places to visit in Los Angeles for music lovers.
The full SoCal experience demands visiting one of the countless beaches that litter LA’s coast. Whether you want to face the carnival-like bustle of Venice Boardwalk or enjoy the lights and spectacles at the Santa Monica Pier, LA’s year-round sunshine lets you have a beach day anytime.
National Park System
To the south, Cabrillo National Park in San Diego offers hiking and camping where the mountains meet the ocean. Or venture north to the Channel Islands to explore animals and wildlife found nowhere else on earth. Experience the desert life and unparalleled stargazing in Joshua Tree Park or the Mojave National Preserve. Closer to downtown Los Angeles the Angeles National Forest provides hiking, fishing, skiing and camping opportunities.
Tackle the Hollywood Hills in Griffith Park up to the famous Hollywood sign or drive out to Mammoth Mountain for great skiing during the winter. For a longer weekend trip you may chose to go rafting in the Colorado River or camping in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.