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Talk title: Empowering the student to be an independent learner Every year as high school kids approach college application season, we advise them that yes, grade point averages and SAT scores are important - but what colleges really want is self-directed, passionate learners. TEDxManhattanBeach - Karen Hunter Quartz - Empowering the Student to be an Independent Learner What if we designed a school that from kindergarten showed that kids were just that? In 2009 UCLA partnered with local community groups and the Los Angeles Unified School District to create a charter-like school near downtown Los Angeles. This school combines inspired teachers who understand the community with new ePortfolio platforms that allow students to track their educational progress over time. Young people like Janice Ninez can easily fall through the cracks in huge, impersonal high schools. When she transferred to the UCLA Community School, a teacher asked Janice, "How can I make this class better for you?" and in that moment turned her from a failing student into one who was inspired to learn. Great teachers, and tools like personalized ePortfolio platforms can help students find their voice, capture their intellectual identity and direct their own learning. Karen Quartz is the Director of Research and Communications at UCLA's Center X, and Director of Research and Development at the UCLA Community School, a K-12 public school in Local District 4 of the Los Angeles Unified School District. She earned her Ph.D. in Education from UCLA in 1994 and has served as a researcher at the University