Becoming Part of the Solution

At Crenshaw High, Students and Their Struggles Are Now the Curriculum

Crenshaw High on 11th Avenue in Los Angeles has a bad reputation. When I told a teacher at Animo Pat Brown Charter High School in South LA that I’d be reporting on Crenshaw, he rolled his eyes. Crenshaw, he had heard, was rife with gang violence. It had even temporarily lost its state accreditation a few years back.

“I’ve never been to Crenshaw,” the young teacher said. “But kids are safe here.” He gestured to his own newly constructed social studies classroom, outfitted with seven new Dell computers donated by a …