Teaching What Matters

More about Bard

The Bard classroom brings together committed, creative, and caring professionals developing careers that combine teaching, leadership, and educational justice. Candidates spend their first year in carefully supported public school teaching roles followed by a second year conducting research on a topic in their chosen area of concentration while taking interdisciplinary courses in the Humanities and Ethnic Studies. This pathway leads to both a California teaching credential and master's degree designed to advance a variety of educational careers.

As a global arts, music, and entertainment capital and urban immigrant center, Los Angeles has often been at the forefront of democratic movements promoting human rights and creative free expression. But the city is marred by growing inequality, environmental injustices, and discriminatory legacies felt most profoundly in its under-resourced communities and public schools. Our vibrant Koreatown/McArthur Park neighborhoods reflect these contradictions and provide a dynamic setting for graduate students ready to ask difficult questions together while working toward a more just and democratic future for the city we love.

Classroom Context
Coursework and faculty mentoring in the Bard program, especially in Year 1, offer candidates the specific knowledge and skills necessary to teach imaginatively and effectively to diverse students. Because this work typically accompanies the candidate's first year of full-time teaching in a high-need school, every effort is made support daily instruction. In Year 2, candidates take a step back from their immediate work as teachers to reconsider the secondary school curriculum, the purpose of schooling in a democratic society, and the ways their own research into practice, policy, or institutions can inform a better vision for public education.

Cohort and Critique
Candidates progress through the Bard program in a single cohort, taking courses together, and teaching in neighboring or similar schools. As a program oriented around this emotionally demanding work and a challenging yearlong independent research project, candidates inevitably come to depend on their peers and program faculty for insight, criticism, and encouragement to think creatively. The Bard classroom promotes diverse viewpoints, frank conversations, civil disagreement, openness and respect, reflecting the seriousness with which we take our teaching practice and the ethic of care we share in our community.

Despite the challenges Bard graduate students face as early-career educators, most continue to cite one major motivation: the chance to make a tangible difference in the lives of their students through the subject matter they have chosen to teach. Bard recruits and graduates educators who love Los Angeles as their native or adopted city and care deeply for the students who will build its future. Candidates are expected to bring this same spirit of generosity into their participation in the Bard classroom and into their collaboration with each other as professional peers.

Bard candidates learn to make a distinction between public education as it is today and public education as we might wish it to be. The Bard degree is designed to provide clear and specific knowledge and skills needed to teach in schools that, unfortunately, receive far too little attention or resources. Bard graduates are recognized as creative educational thinkers, skilled instructional mentors, and effective organizational leaders capable of realizing new curricular and educational possibilities. These graduates are highly sought by principals, superintendents, and non-profit leaders who have come to respect the commitment, reliability, insight, and professionalism characteristic of previous Bard alumni/ae they have hired.