California schools find success building student confidence and campus culture []


When Christopher Gonzalez first entered John Marshall High School in Los Angeles, he noticed that students generally kept to themselves and their own cliques.

“It was like a line you didn’t cross,” said Gonzalez, now a senior.

The climate began to change more than a year ago: More greetings are exchanged in hallways. Virtually no one sits alone at lunchtime. Students from various cross sections of the school — gamers, artists, dancers, jocks and others — gather together in a small grassy courtyard called “the mound” for a monthly “Hey Day” event. At the event, which Gonzalez helps organize, people sit on blankets and benches nearby, eating lunch and mingling.

[For more on this story by JULIE PATEL LISS, go to]

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