High School Pupil Success Act - Five4Five

Photo Project Provides an Alternative to Violence
by etmarciniec

On June 12, 2004, a student photography exhibit entitled Shoot Cameras Not Guns opens at El Pueblo Gallery at E-13 Olvera Street in Los Angeles and runs through the month of July. The exhibit and accompanying photography magazine feature the work of 20 young artists from the Los Angeles area. The aim is to provide students with an alternative to drugs and violence through the arts.

Shoot Cameras Not Guns is the brainchild of Gina Brownstein, cofounder of Five 4 Five (, a nonprofit organization that helps disadvantaged-yet-motivated young people to chart a successful course through college. Brownstein, who is also a high school photography teacher, launched the program after losing a star pupil to violence last year. “There are a lot of ‘teenager issues’ that we need to help young people face,” says Brownstein. “The idea is to help kids gain recognition by publishing their work, but also to help them speak to their peers about issues that concern them.”

In September, Five 4 Five set up a lending library of Vivitar and Olympus cameras. Students checked out cameras and took pictures centering on their community, friends, and personal issues. A student selection committee then voted on the most magazine-worthy images, to be featured in the first issue of Shoot Cameras Not Guns. The Assistant Editor for the project was Sofia Hernandez, a recent graduate of Morningside High School in Inglewood. The program was sponsored by a grant from The Confidence Foundation.

Shoot Cameras Not Guns will go on sale ($10) at the release party on June 12th (3:00-7:00 PM). The proceeds will be used to provide college scholarships for Five 4 Five students, including a new scholarship named in honor of Brownstein’s former student, Humberto Gomez. The exhibit is open throughout the month of July (Wednesday through Sunday, 11:00 AM - 4:00 PM). In addition, at least five local high school photography classes will receive classroom sets of the magazine.

Five 4 Five is a California-based nonprofit organization formed in 2003 by Gina Brownstein and her mother, Mary Ann Maggiore. Five 4 Five provides guidance, educational experiences, and financial support to students who are first in their families to attend college. The organization is called Five 4 Five because it works with teams of five young people for five years. Twenty students in Los Angeles and Bay Areas are currently enrolled. For more information on Five 4 Five contact (323) 242-8293 or (415) 460-1106.

To purchase a copy of Shoot Cameras Not Guns, send $12.50 to:

Five 4 Five
216 E. 109th Street
Los Angles, CA, 90061

High School Pupil Success Act (HSPSA)

In early 2003, ingleWorld joined forces with the Inglewood Unified School District (IUSD), Urban Education Partnership, Community Health Councils, and the Museum of Tolerance as a partner in a $97,000 planning grant funded by the State of California and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The goal of the High School Improvement Grant is to bring together community members, businesses and organizations, parents, students, and school staff in a high school reform effort targeting Inglewood's high schools.

During the 2003-2004 discussion and planning process, IUSD Superintendent of Schools Dr. Pamela Short-Powell identified the Morningside High School complex (which also includes Woodworth Elementary School and Monroe Middle School) as in particular need of assistance. In subsequent meetings at Morningside High School, a growing team of administrators, teachers, and community partners has made considerable progress in discussions focused on the creation of small learning communities and career academies. A 5-Year Reform Plan for the school is currently being developed, and professional development and planning activities will continue with Morningside's staff throughout the summer.

Although the State of California will not fund HSPSA again next year, the partners are looking into other State and Federal funding opportunities, such as the Small Learning Communities grant program, that would allow us to continue this important work.

Updated June 2004