180 Days: A Year Inside an American High School (PBS)
Washington Metropolitan, aka DC Met, has all the problems a modern American high school can have: truancy, teen pregnancy, homelessness, violent crime. Getting in the front door is like going through airport security. Ninety-seven percent of the kids are classified as “economically disadvantaged.” Fewer than half are reading or doing math at grade level. Yet 180 Days, chronicling a year in the life of this inner-city school, is actually an encouraging documentary. Its optimism, far from blind, starts with DC Met’s savvy, upbeat principal, Tanishia Williams Minor, and extends through her faculty, both pragmatic veterans and anxious upstarts, and some representative students who truly want a better future. Filmmaker Jacquie Jones and her cohorts not only show us the personal challenges at DC Met, they document the real, serious effort being made. And they put it all into the context of funding uncertainties, the expectations of the DC school system, and the rigorous standards imposed by the Obama administration’s “Race to the Top” reforms. For its intimate, hopeful portrait of an inner-city school under the gun in more ways than one, 180 Days: A Year Inside an American High School receives a Peabody Award.
Executive Producer: Jacquie Jones. Producers: Garland McLaurin, Lesley Norman. Field Producer: Breht Gardner. Coordinating Producer: Alexis Aggrey. Associate Producers: Brittany Clemons, Wilbert McKinley. Directors: Jacquie Jones, Garland McLaurin. Editors: Adam Lingo, Carol Slatkin. Assistant Editor: Alyssa Taylor. Camera: Breht Gardner, Wilbert McKinley, Garland McLaurin. Additional Cinematography: Derek Allen, Uliana Bazar, Cliff Charles, Brittany Clemons, Andrew Geraci, Emre Tufekcioglu. Composer: Christopher Paultre. Music Supervisor: Eric Rigaud.