Students perform in the school musical, Annie, at Warren Lane Elementary School in Inglewood.

Inglewood Unified School District

Los Angeles County

Warren_Lane_on_mapWarren Lane Elementary is located in a residential neighborhood in northeast Inglewood. In 2013, two under-enrolled elementary schools, Daniel Freeman and Warren Lane, were merged to create the school community that exists today. Prior to receiving a School Improvement Grant, Warren Lane Elementary School was considered one of the lowest performing schools in California. Due to the high crime rate in the neighborhood (approximately 40% higher than the state average), the school faced above the normal rate of daily behavior issues resulting in a 20% suspension rate.

Since becoming a Turnaround Arts: California partner school in 2014, Warren Lane has introduced a full-time music teacher and started choir, band, and dance groups. The school has partnered with several local arts organizations including dance residencies with Heidi Duckler Dance Theatre and Vanessa Bailey’s Positive Energy Community and Entertainment Center. Students, teachers, and parents had the opportunity to design and paint a new mural in collaboration with P.S. ARTS teaching artist Tiffany Graham. Students have performed at the Broad Stage, participated in the Blue Ribbon Music Festival at The Music Center, attended the Dizzy Feet Foundation’s Celebration of Dance, and heard the First Lady speak at the Grammy Museum. In January 2014, the school was featured on the Queen Latifah Show and received a grant from Sony Pictures to renovate their performance space in anticipation of their first-ever school musical, Annie Jr. Through the Sony partnership, Jamie Foxx, Cameron Diaz, and Quevenzhané Wallis, the stars of the movie Annie, visited Warren Lane and auditioned students for roles in the play. As part of the Turnaround Arts: California Regional Coach Program, the school receives ongoing, in-person coaching in arts integration strategies and strategic arts planning from P.S. ARTS. The school’s Turnaround Artist, Kerry Washington, has visited the school several times, hosted a student field trip to Debbie Allen’s Hot Chocolate Nutcracker at Royce Hall, and supported students in the development of their musical.