KCET Announces Launch of LOST LA Curriculum Project Building Local History Lessons and Classroom Activities For K-12 Students


JP Shields

Collaboration Creates Powerful Local Alliance Comprised of KCET Public Television,
USC Libraries, the UCLA History-Geography Project
and the Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West
LOST LA curriculum Project Logo on black and white phot
Sample LOST LA curriculum learning materials. Image courtesy of KCET.

Burbank, Calif. – June 6, 2019KCET, a producer of award-winning and diverse original content for public media, announced today the launch of an all-new, statewide K-12 curriculum initiative centered on the Emmy® winning documentary history series LOST LA, a co-production with the University of Southern California Libraries, that uncovers local history through the use of archival materials. The Lost LA Curriculum Project will launch with 8 lesson plans, each based upon an episode of the show, that will be available to teachers across the state on a portal that can be accessed through kcet.org/lostlacurriculum. Starting June 6, teachers and students will be able to navigate lessons by topic, watch a variety of episodes, download lessons and classroom activities, as well as find related articles and digital content pertinent to topics that range from Los Angeles’ coded geographies to the city’s original roots in “The Wild West.”

The project has been a major collaboration between several Southern California institutions with key team members from each organization that include Nathan Masters (host of Lost LA), Hugh McHarg  (Associate Dean for Strategic Initiatives at the USC Libraries), Daniel Diaz (Director of the UCLA History-Geography Project), William Deverell (Director of the Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West) and Bijan Rezvani (Senior Director of Digital for KCET).

Last fall, over 100 teachers applied for 12 spots to create the Lost LA Curriculum Project with the purpose of designing culturally relevant materials with an ethnic studies focus centered on local history. LOST LA’s nearly 400 articles, videos and broadcast episodes were put at the center of this new online prototype created to help students and teachers discover engaging, inclusive and standards-aligned lessons. Following months of planning, development and lesson-writing sessions, regional educators and historians will publish lesson plans asking historical and culturally relevant questions and using dynamic teaching strategies to stir and nurture student curiosity in the classroom.

On May 3-4 2019, the Lost LA Curriculum Project was unveiled during the annual UCLA Teaching History Conference during a panel discussion that examined the process and possibilities of designing culturally relevant materials with an ethnic studies focus centered on local history. Also discussed was how collectively the group was able to develop the curriculum.  Many of the attendees from out of state inquired how they could engage in similar work to localize their history courses.

Frank Salcedo, one of the teachers working on the Lost LA Curriculum Project commented, “I have lived in Los Angeles most of my life and was impressed by the breadth and depth of the episodes, and how they brought the city’s history to life. As a History teacher, I appreciate that. I simply wanted to create a lesson that would allow people to reflect on the city, the same way the show allowed me to.”

Hosted by public historian Nathan Masters of USC Libraries, the series LOST LA brings the primary sources of Los Angeles history to the screen in surprising new ways through documents, photos and other rare artifacts from the region’s libraries and archives. LOST LA is currently filming its fourth season and will debut later this year. LOST LA is supported by The Ralph M. Parsons Foundation and other generous institutional funders.

On Sunday, June 9, 2019, LOST LA will be the basis of the third and final talk of the 27th Annual Marie Northrop Lecture Series at the downtown Los Angeles Central Library. KCET and PBS SoCal, now united to form the Public Media Group of Southern California, join with the Los Angeles City Historical Society to present a screening of an episode of the award-winning show and introduce the new K-12 curriculum based on the series. Producer Matthew Crotty will sit down with LA City Archivist Michael Holland to talk about the evolution of the episode from story idea, through archival research, to production for broadcast, to a teachable curriculum. Additional panelists will include educators who helped shape the curriculum. The 27th Annual Marie Northrop Lecture Series is co-sponsored by the Los Angeles City Historical Department and the History Department of the Richard J. Riordan Central Library. To attend the event, please visit eventbrite.com/e/discover-lost-la-tickets-61311897536

LOST LA is available to stream on the free KCET and PBS Video apps available on Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, the App Store and Google Play, as well as on YouTube, kcet.org/lostla and pbssocal.org/lostla.

Join the conversation on social media using #LostLA

On-air, online and in the community, KCET plays a vital role in the cultural and educational enrichment of Southern and Central California. KCET offers a wide range of award-winning local programming as well as the finest public television programs from around the world. Throughout its 54-year history, KCET has won hundreds of major awards for its local and regional news and public affairs programming, its national drama and documentary productions, its quality educational family and children’s programs, its outreach and community services and its website, kcet.org. KCET is a donor-supported community institution. For additional information about KCET productions, web-exclusive content, programming schedules and community events, please visit kcet.org. Select original programming from KCET is also available for streaming on Apple TV, YouTube, Amazon and Roku platforms. For more information please visit http://www.kcet.org/apps. KCET is a content channel of the Public Media Group of Southern California.

The USC Libraries actively support the discovery, creation, and preservation of knowledge at the University of Southern California and beyond. The libraries serve as host institution for L.A. As Subject, an association of more than 230 libraries, cultural institutions, official archives, and private collectors dedicated to preserving and telling the sometimes-hidden histories of the Los Angeles region. The history of Los Angeles as a Pacific Rim metropolis is among the USC Libraries’ prominent collections strengths.

The UCLA History-Geography Project is one of the sites of the California History Social Science Project.  We collaborate with educational researchers, historians and practitioners to design and lead professional development programs that enrich K-12 history-social studies instruction. We believe the purpose of history education is to make history relevant and empowering for students.

The Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West (ICW) is a center for scholarly investigation of the history and culture of California and the American West. Through sponsorship of innovative scholarship and research, ICW draws on the resources of the University of Southern California and The Huntington Library to build an innovative and unique collaboration between a research university and a research library.