A few miles from the White House in southeast Washington sit some of the worst public schools in America. Only one in three students in the neighborhood finish high school; of those who do go on to college, just 5% graduate.
But right in the middle of this same area is also one of the most originative and successful public schools in the country. Started in 1998, the SEED School of Washington, DC is the nation's first urban public boarding school. It's a charter school that's getting national attention - 96% of SEED graduates go on to college. Last spring, over 200 families showed up for a lottery with a unique prize: a $35,000-per year education paid for by private and government money that would change their child’s life.
It all starts on SEED's campus, a four-acre safe zone where 330 6 th through 12 th graders can focus on school, free from distractions back at home. The days start early at 6 a.m.; classes run from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Then there's study hall, extracurriculars, and tutoring with the day ending at 10 p.m. The weeks are rigorous and stressful and it takes students with intense drive and determination to finish all seven years. This body of work follows Mr. Bill Stevens’ U.S. History class as the six students make their way through Junior year.