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OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network's new original docu-series "Blackboard Wars," depicting the dramatic transformation of New Orleans' John McDonogh High School, premieres Saturday, March 2 at 9 p.m. ET/PT with six weekly one-hour episodes.
"Blackboard Wars" centers on a high school tarnished by failing academic performance and stigmatized by a culture of violence. Granted unprecedented access, cameras go behind the scenes to follow education maverick Steve Barr and no-nonsense principal Dr. Marvin Thompson as they embark together on an unpredictable mission to reinvent and revive the struggling school.
In January 2012, the New Orleans state-run Recovery School District announced the selection of charter organization Future is Now Schools: New Orleans (FIN: NOLA) to operate a Type 5 Charter of John McDonogh High School starting with the 2012-13 school year. FIN CEO Steve Barr, who had previously overseen the transition of Locke High School in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles, hired a new staff led by principal Dr. Marvin Thompson. Together, the new John McDonogh staff lay out clear expectations for student behavior and daily attendance while working to create a safe environment for students as they foster School Pride and unity.
Throughout the series, viewers will witness the daily challenges the staff face as their students struggle with a range of emotionally demanding obstacles including homelessness, violence, drug use and teenage pregnancy. Tensions mount as teachers struggle to earn the trust of the students amidst intense scrutiny from the COMMUNITY. The staffmust pull together as they strive to establish the new vision for the high school and provide a better future for their students.
"Blackboard Wars" is produced by Discovery Studios, executive produced by Eddie Barbini and JeffKuntz.