Next Thursday, students at Clifton Middle School will hear from Erin Gruwell, the educator whose unique style of teaching inspired her students to stay in school. In 1999 she wrote a book about the experience. The book inspired the 2007 movie Freedom Writers starring Hilary Swank.
Gruwell had refused to give up on her low-performing students and reached them through innovate techniques including journal writing. All 150 of her first students, all sophomores, remained in school and went on to graduate.
After only four years of teaching, she became the Distinguished Teacher in Residence at California State University, Long Beach, the school from which she received her Master’s degree and teaching credentials.
She has established the Freedom Writers Foundation to spread her method of reaching and inspiring students.