The School of Social Justice at Miguel Contreras Learning Complex began as a small learning community, the Academy of Social Justice (ASJ), in 2002 at Belmont High School with Ms. Meza and Mr. Gentry, who were teachers in the Academy at that time. In 2005, we were among the first in the district to write a small learning community design proposal and obtain certification. The construction of MCLC was nearing completion during the same year and ASJ enthusiastically expressed a desire to be of the four small entities on the new campus. In the 2012-2013 school year, the SSJ faculty and stakeholder groups decided to apply for Pilot School status and the Board of Education approved our plan in the spring of 2013. We are one of the 50 district pilot schools. Pilot schools were originally created as an alternative to charter schools, and are afforded autonomies over budget, curriculum, assessment, school calendar, and other areas.
SSJ shares its MCLC campus with four other schools: Academic Leadership, Los Angeles School of Global Studies, and Business & Tourism. While we maintain separate classes, teachers, administrators, and some staff, the students have opportunities for interaction with those of other schools during activities such as sports.
The majority of our students reside in the Westlake/MacArthur Park and Pico-Union neighborhoods, which are immediately to the west of downtown Los Angeles. We are in a high immigrant community and our students' parents put a strong emphasis on the important of education. Our school is seen as a welcoming and calm space in the community.