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180 Days: A Year Inside an American High School

180 Days: A Year Inside an American High School

Photo Credit:  Courtesy of Breht Gardner
  • Premiered: 
    March 25, 2013
    (Click date to see TV listings for that day)

  • Network: PBS
  • Category: Series
  • Genre: Documentary
  • Type: Live Action
  • Concept: 
  • Subject Matter: School
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Plot Synopsis

This two-part special follows the principal and the first graduating class of Washington Metropolitan High School (DC Met), a public school in Washington, D.C, where only seven percent of students are deemed proficient in math and only 19 percent in reading. Like many other high-poverty schools, truancy is an issue that plagues DC Met and is a leading indicator for dropping out. In 2011, nearly 50 percent of students from DC Met could be classified as truant. Throughout 180 DAYS, faculty members scour roll call reports to see who's showing up for homeroom and who's not, and drive through the streets of the nation's capital evangelizing kids, parents and sometimes grandparents about the importance of their high-school diplomas. At the center of 180 DAYS is a charismatic and outspoken young principal, Tanishia Williams Minor, who is in her second year as head of the school. Despite low test scores and numerous other issues, Principal Minor remains optimistic that her students can succeed despite the personal and academic obstacles they face and the scrutiny that she and the school are under from the administration at DC Public Schools. Students featured in this film include: soft-spoken but wise-beyond-years Raven Coston, a 17-year-old who was displaced from New Orleans with her family by Hurricane Katrina and is now trying to get through school while raising a baby, maintaining a relationship with the baby's father and working part-time; Raven Quattlebaum, an 18-year-old senior who grew up in the foster care system and who used to spend her days robbing and assaulting people, but is determined to turn her life around and go to college; Rufus McDowney, a bright and charismatic 16-year-old sophomore who has been in and out of the juvenile justice system since the age of 13; Tiara Parker, an aspirational 18-year-old senior who has good grades but may not be able to afford college; and Delaunte Bennett, an 18-year-old sophomore who has been kicked out of numerous schools for getting into fights and now lags two school years behind other kids his age.

Production & Distribution

  • Produced by National Black Programming Consortium (NBPC)


  • The Washington Metropolitan High School - Washington DC USA - Map It!