From time to time, Ellen DeGeneres features education stories on her daily syndicated show, “Ellen.” The one this past Friday was a real treat.
DeGeneres featured a video report about the Center for Advanced Learning, a charter school in a gang-infested neighborhood in South-Central Los Angeles. The K-5 school first petitioned the Los Angeles Unified School District for charter status in 2006 and renewed the charter in 2012.
In the video and in a conversation with DeGeneres on the set, CAL Principal Brooke Jackson and 3rd grade teacher Johanna Parker discuss the fact that the school’s neighborhood has 14 competing street gangs in the vicinity, and the school has been on lockdown four times in the last six weeks because of gunfire in the neighborhood.
What is most amazing is the educators’ description of what happens when such lockdowns occur: instead of cowering in fear, the students have been trained to return to their classrooms and focus on learning.
If you ever watch “Ellen,” you’ll know that DeGeneres has some surprises up her sleeve for segments such as this. Friday’s segment does not disappoint, and the principal’s reaction is priceless.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Education and the Media blog.