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Published on Oct 17, 2017
The students at Ron Brown College Preparatory High School are “kings.” All freshmen. All young men of color. All determined to change the dominant narrative about young black men in Washington: too many read below grade-level and won’t graduate high school. This new public school in Washington D.C. opened its doors in August 2016 and is radically different. Not just because it is a public school for boys, but because it's designed specifically to meet the needs of D.C.’s young men of color. The school’s principal and the majority of its teachers are black men. They begin each morning in a school-wide circle, navigating conversations that include neighborhood violence and police shootings, protest and poverty. Many schools do one or two of these things, but few do them all – and with the conviction of Ron Brown’s staff. For the past year, through a partnership between Education Week and NPR, we visited Ron Brown weekly -- and some weeks, daily -- to witness the birth of this new school and to see how its staff tackles some of the toughest challenges in education today. We spent hundreds of hours there, from the earliest days to the last bell.
Filmed by Swikar Patel and Erin Irwin Edited by Deanna Del Ciello Interviewed by Kavitha Cardoza and Cory Turner Photos by Jared Soares and Kavitha Cardoza