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At 22, Dan Brown came to the Bronx's P.S. 85 as an eager, fresh-faced teacher. Unbeknownst to him, his assigned class, 4-217, was the designated "dumping ground" for all fourth-grade problem cases, and his students would prove to be more challenging than he could ever anticipate. Intent on being a caring, dedicated teacher but confronted with unruly children, absent parents, and a failing administration, Dan was pushed to the limit time and again: he found himself screaming with rage, punching his fist through a blackboard out of sheer frustration, often just wanting to give up and walk away.
Yet in this seeming chaos, he slowly learned from his own mistakes and discovered an unexpected well of inspiration to discipline and teach and make a difference. The Great Expectations School is the touching journey of Class 4-217 and their teacher, Mr. Brown, but more than that, it is the revealing story of a broken educational system and all those struggling within and fighting against it.