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Oprah Channel to Feature LA Reformer

Alexander Russo | January 8, 2013

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Coming in March, Oprah Winfrey’s OWN network is going to start airing Blackboard Wars, the six-part story of the attempt to turn around New Orleans’ McDonogh High School.

Produced by Discovery and originally titled “Treme High,” the series features a challenging turnaround attempt undertaken through an organization called Future Is Now Schools, which was created by LA’s own Steve Barr, founder of Green Dot Schools.

From the announcement:  “The Discovery Studios-produced docu-series centers on the dramatic transformation of New Orleans’ John McDonogh High School, one of the most dangerous and under-performing high schools in the country, where more than half of its students fail to graduate. The show, which will premiere in March, will go behind the scenes with education maverick Steve Barr and no-nonsense principal Dr. Marvin Thompson as they embark on an unpredictable mission to reinvent and revive the struggling school.”

From another writeup:  “Blackboard Wars” examines the dramatic transformation of John McDonogh High School in New Orleans, which had a 54% dropout rate before the changes were put in place. “Education maverick” Steve Barr and “no-nonsense principal” Marvin Thompson have increased the attendance rate to around 80%, and they hope that in a few years, the graduation rate will skyrocket to 90%. The students at this school “feel disenfranchised,” according to Thompson, who believes that treating each child differently creates a greater chance of success. The population also includes 19-, 20-, and 21-year-old sophomores, so the teachers have their work cut out for them.” (San Jose TV)

Apparently it was originally called Treme High.

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