School & District Management

High School in Prime Time: A ‘Super School’ Event Friday Night

By Catherine Gewertz — September 06, 2017 1 min read

High school redesign gets a shot at the spotlight this Friday night, with celebrities making a pitch on four major TV networks for communities nationwide to create high school models that inspire and engage teenagers. The event will be broadcast live on Sept. 8 at 8 p.m. Eastern on ABC, CBS, NBC, and FOX. (It’s being broadcast live from a hangar at Santa Monica airport in California, and will be shown on tape-delay, at 8 p.m., on the West Coast.)

The hourlong broadcast is an outgrowth of XQ: The Super School project, run by Laurene Powell Jobs, the widow of Apple founder Steve Jobs. You might remember that XQ awarded $100 million last year to 10 schools and organizations to create new high schools, or revise or expand existing school designs.

The XQ Institute, which launched the Super School project, and the Entertainment Industry Foundation, which is putting on the telecast, are promoting the event as a way to inspire people across the country to get in on a campaign to reshape high school. They’ve enlisted big names in film, television, sports, music, and digital media to get the message out.

Confirmed appearances so far include actors Samuel L. Jackson, Tom Hanks, Mahershala Ali, and Viola Davis. Musicians include hip-hop artists MC Hammer and Common, cellist Yo-Yo Ma, and singers Jennifer Hudson and Sheryl Crow. The show will include comedy sketches and short documentary pieces in addition to musical performances.

XQ has been encouraging people to host viewing parties for the program. By the week of the broadcast, nearly 500 viewing parties had registered for the event, organizers said.

The program will feature “multi-platform digital components” that allow viewers to participate during the show, organizers said. The broadcast also promises to introduce new ways for high school reformers to connect with one another, and new resources they can use as they rethink their schools.

For more stories about XQ: The Super School Project, see:

A National Push to Redesign High Schools, Led by Steve Jobs’ Widow


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A version of this news article first appeared in the High School & Beyond blog.