WTVI PBS Charlotte to air “180 Days: A Year Inside an American School,” host panel discussion with local education, nonprofit leaders and parents

last modified Mar 12, 2013 11:17 AM

The United States ranks near the bottom of all indexes for education among industrialized nations, with most African American children attending schools in which graduation is not the norm. WTVI PBS Charlotte will place a focus on this national education issue when it airs the documentary “180 Days: A Year Inside an American School” on March 25 and 26, at 9 p.m.

The program is part of American Graduate: Let’s Make it Happen, a public media initiative supported by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), that helps communities nationwide understand and implement solutions to address the high school dropout crisis.

During “180 Days,” produced by the National Blank Programming Consortium as part of the American Graduate Initiative, viewers will take a year-long journey with teachers, school leaders and five students at Washington Metropolitan High School (DC MET), a public high school in Washington, D.C., that strives to meet the needs of some of the nation’s most challenged students.

Audience members will be introduced to Tiara, an 18-year-old, single mother who will be the first in her family to go to college; Delaunte, a 19-year-old, 10th grader with dreams for the future and a positive attitude; Gary Barnes, an in-school suspension coordinator who uses his background in the criminal justice system and knowledge of the streets to help advise students; and others.

The documentary will likely raise questions with viewers about education reform and what may be done on the local level. In response, PBS Charlotte will host a panel discussion on March 20 with Charlotte area parents, as well as local nonprofit and education leaders, to discuss the challenges and opportunities in Charlotte’s area schools. Panelists will include:

  • Dr. Maria Hanlin, executive director, Mecklenburg Ministries
  • Millard House, COO, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools
  • Jerri Haigler, United Way 1000 Mentors Project
  • Joseph Burch, principal, CATO Middle College High School
  • Mitzi Porter, parent of two West Charlotte High School students


“This local event gives PBS Charlotte an opportunity to reach out to the local community and discuss important issues, such as the state of our county’s schools,” said Elsie Garner, executive director for broadcasting with PBS Charlotte. “We look forward to hosting this panel discussion about how Charlotte’s schools may best move forward and serve as an educational role model on the local, regional and national level.”

To learn more about PBS Charlotte, visit www.pbscharlotte.org. For more details on “180 Days: A Year Inside an American School,” go to www.180schooldays.org.

About American Graduate

American Graduate: Let’s Make it Happen is helping local communities identify and implement solutions to the high school dropout crisis. American Graduate demonstrates public media's commitment to education and its deep roots in every community it serves. Beyond providing programming that educates, informs and inspires, public radio and television stations — locally owned and operated — are an important resource in helping to address critical issues, such as the dropout rate.

In addition to national programming, more than 75 public radio and television stations have launched on-the-ground efforts working with community and at risk youth to keep students ontrack to high school graduation. More than 800 partnerships have been formed locally through American Graduate, and CPB is working with Alma and Colin Powell’s America's Promise Alliance and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

About CPB
The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), a private, nonprofit corporation created by Congress in 1967, is the steward of the federal government's investment in public broadcasting. It helps support the operations of more than 1,300 locally-owned and -operated public television and radio stations nationwide, and is the largest single source of funding for research, technology, and program development for public radio, television and related online services.

About NBPC

The National Black Programming Consortium (NBPC) develops, produces and funds content about the Black experience for public media outlets, including PBS and PBS.org, BlackPublicMedia.org and other public media outlets. NBPC produces AfroPoP: The Utimate Cultural Exchange documentary series and manages the community engagement project Public Media Corps (PMC).

About Central Piedmont Community College

Central Piedmont Community College is the largest community college in North Carolina, offering close to 300 degree and certification programs, customized corporate training, market-focused continuing education, and special interest classes. CPCC is academically, financially and geographically accessible to all citizens of Mecklenburg County. In 2002, the National Alliance of Business named CPCC the Community College of the Year for its response to the workforce and technology needs of local employers and job seekers through innovative educational and training strategies.

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