The teacher who inspired the film "Freedom Writers" will address the Utah Education Association's annual convention Tuesday.
Erin Gruwell was a fresh college graduate when she took a job at Wilson High School in Long Beach, Calif. There, she turned students written off by the education system as "unteachable" into critical thinkers with an eye on college studies, the UEA reports. She and her students captured their journey in "The Freedom Writers Diary — How a Teacher and 150 Teens Used Writing to Change Themselves and the World Around Them."
Gruwell is now president of the Erin Gruwell Education Project, which promotes inclusion and extends scholarships to children in need, the UEA reports.
"We're very excited about her participation and looking forward to it," said Vik Arnold, UEA director of political action and government relations.
The two-day convention, titled "Capture the Joy of Teaching," begins Monday with speaker Lily Eskelsen, 1989 Utah Teacher of the Year and secretary-treasurer of the National Education Association.
It features 47 workshops, most of which teachers can take for credit toward renewing their licenses, a new-teacher workshop, an anti-voucher demonstration, and time out to honor exceptional Utah teachers with Excellence in Teaching awards.