Sheer determination, plus a good dose of the creative arts, including writing journals about their lives. The teacher Erin Gruwell (portrayed by Hilary Swank) also uses sociometry when she introduces the "stand on the line" exercise with masking tape to show common relationships to dilute the oppositional behavior and anger of her students and dramatically show them how much they have in common.
In sociometric terms, it's a kind of a locogram and kind of a spectrogram.
"Stand on the line if you've lost a friend to gang violence."
"Stand on the line if you've lost more than one friend..."
"Four or more..."
Find a teacher's guide for The Line Game here.
See a brief clip here: