Campus: CSU, Long Beach -- October 13, 1999

CSULB Distinguished Teacher in Residence Wins "Teacher of the Year" Honor

Erin Gruwell, a Distinguished Teacher in Residence at Cal State Long Beach and a teacher in the Long Beach Unified School District, has been named the 1999 Teacher of the Year by the Credential Counselors and Analysts of California (CCAC).

As the winner, Gruwell will deliver the keynote address at the CCAC Fall Conference this Wednesday (Oct. 13) in Sacramento. She will also be presented with the Teacher of the Year Award at the conference.

Gruwell is most well known for her work at Wilson High School in Long Beach. It was there she began her work with a diverse group of students in a four-year pilot project known as the Freedom Writers, a name the group adopted in homage to the civil rights activists that helped integrate the South in the 1960s.

Her students tackled the immense subject of tolerance and acceptance in their research and writing about Anne Frank and the Holocaust, the ethnic cleansing in Eastern Europe and violence in their home city.

Their literary efforts have led to national honors and extensive media coverage. Now, the culmination of those writing efforts have been published by Doubleday in a book titled "The Freedom Writers Diary: How a Teacher and 150 Teens Used Writing to Change Themselves and the World Around Them." A national tour for the book was launched on Tuesday, Oct 12.

The CCAC is a statewide professional organization of credential specialists with more than 500 members. Among its goals is the dissemination of valuable information concerning California certification requirements and the credentialing of education personnel. The group also sponsors conferences, workshops and other meetings to share information and experiences regarding the state's credential policies and practices.

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