n Students and local citizens can watch themselves on cable television every week in a soap opera produced at Marple-Newtown High School in Newtown Square, Pa.
From a cast of about 70 students and local citizens of all ages, about 20 "actors" are present on the weeknight that an episode of "General High School" is taped.
The 20 students who run the video and sound equipment and edit the tapes are or have been members of newly developed video-production classes at the high school, which are taught by a biology teacher, Henry E. Fetterman.
The show was developed by Naomi W. Zaslow, a former television actress and continuity writer for the local NBC-tv affiliate who is now director of information and television services for the Marple-Newtown School District.
Ms. Zaslow hopes that the show gives its viewers some difficult subject matter to ponder and discuss. As many as 27,000 cable-TV subscribers in Newtown Park and the surrounding areas may be watching this show over the three cable TV stations that carry it.
For further information, contact Naomi W. Zaslow, Director of Information and Television Services, Marple-Newtown School District, 120 Media Line Road, Newtown Square, Pa. 19073.
Giving young students a carefully constructed opportunity to read for pleasure, and to profit from their efforts, is the goal of a principal in Memphis, Tenn.
Principal R.J. Duncan of White Station Elementary School and the school's teachers have devised their rave (Readers Are Very Excited) reading competition using some ideas from award programs in other schools and a number of original ones of their own.
Readers are rewarded for the speed with which they complete books, but faster and slower readers proceed along different "tracks," so the competition becomes more, rather than less, open as it goes along. Mr. Duncan says that nearly 70 percent of the school's 375 students receive awards or prizes presented publicly each year. He says the strong possibility of winning, combined with the fun of reading and discussing the books, keeps the slower readers motivated while retaining the interest of the more advanced ones.
The awards change often and include such "carrots" as trips to other cities and presentation of the awards by local "celebrities" during school assemblies, according to Mr. Duncan. In a sweepstakes last year, the children vied for 15 basketballs that had been signed by the Memphis State Tigers, the nearby college basketball team; for every 100 pages they read, they could enter their name once in the contest.
The teachers record the number of pages read by a child during daily 20-minute reading sessions only after they or parents hear about the story in the child's own words. Roughly one-third of the students' parents visit the classrooms each year as volunteers who let the children discuss the books with them. Students from a local high school also volunteer to listen to the children.
The parents of the children in kindergarten and 1st grade read to them at home and discuss the material with them there, recording the number of pages read on tally sheets.
It takes concentration and extensive cooperation between the parents, teachers, and administrators to keep the program interesting and fun, according to Mr. Duncan. He believes that, aside from improving the students' reading scores, rave draws the teachers and school staff closer together as they work to make reading pleasurable for the children.
For further information, contact J.R. Duncan, White Station Elementary School, 518 South Perkins, Memphis, Tenn. 38117.
Curiosity motivated 24 high-school seniors in Raleigh, N.C., to poll 1,179 local citizens about their attitudes toward crime and legal issues.
Every evening for nearly two weeks this fall, the students of two law and justice classes at Sanderson High School telephoned residents who were chosen at random from the phone book. Although their teacher, Morton C. Teitelbaum, suggested the methods for the survey, he credits them with developing and completing the project.
The students wrote the questions for the interviews themselves and picked names from the phone book that were located in the same place on each page.
Based on the responses elicited by the survey, the students' report noted a number of commonly held views: Most respondents said they support capital punishment, believe that stiffer prison sentences might lower the crime rate, desire stricter gun control, and are satisfied with the local protection provided by the police.
For further information, contact Morton C. Teitelbaum, Sanderson High School, 5500 Dixon Drive, Raleigh, N.C. 27609.
Word of innovative, effective programs may be sent to SCHOOLS: WHAT WORKS, Education Week, 1333 New Hampshire Ave., N.W., #560, Washington, D.C. 20036. (When writing to others for more details, please include a self-addressed, stamped envelope.)