In the film, we also meet Francisco, a first-grader in Bronx, New York. He goes to a public school where it's easy to slip through the cracks. Francisco's mother, Maria, knows the challenges her son may face because she graduated from a Bronx public school herself.
Maria is a social worker and the first in her family to go to college. She's doing everything she can to give her son opportunities the local schools can't provide. She has enrolled him in two after-school reading programs at a local city college, she studies with him every night, and she's reaching out to his teacher for more help...but she's running out of options.
Maria has sent Francisco's application to seven charter schools that all offer excellent academic programs but has been denied admission every time. Maria is now forced to look for schools outside of the Bronx.
Now, she's waiting to hear about Harlem Success Academy, a rigorous charter school that offers the individualized help Francisco needs. Harlem Success Academy is a 45-minute commute from their apartment, but it's Francisco's last chance to get into a good school. If Francisco doesn't get in, he will stay at his school and risk falling behind. As one of 792 applicants vying for 40 spots, Francisco has a 5 percent chance of getting in.