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America’s Super Schools in spotlight for star-studded TV special celebrating HS innovation

LA School Report | September 6, 2017

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By Laura Fay

Some of the biggest names in entertainment will come together Friday in an hour-long televised special celebrating innovations in education. Participating performers will include Tom Hanks, Common, Jennifer Hudson, Samuel L. Jackson, Sheryl Crow, and Yo-Yo Ma, USA Today reported.  

EIF Presents XQ: Super School Live will air on ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC on Friday, Sept. 8. It airs live in Eastern and Central time zones, and will be broadcast at 8 p.m. Pacific Time. It will include comedy, music, and documentary segments focusing on the work of the XQ Institute, a nonprofit organization that aims to rethink America’s high schools.

• Read more from LA School Report: On the RISE: First graduating class of award-winning high school for foster and homeless youth get their diplomas

Through its Super School Project, XQ last year awarded $100 million for winning proposals from schools across the country, including New York, Iowa, California, Michigan, Delaware, and Texas, in a competition for most innovative high school designs.

One contest winner, Washington Leadership Academy in D.C., got funding for a virtual chemistry lab that allows students to perform experiments without all the supplies of a traditional lab. In Los Angeles, the award helped launch a program focused helping students who are homeless or in foster care finish high school.

Schools, organizations, and individuals from coast to coast will host viewing parties for the telecast, including events in Kansas City, MissouriPittsburghNew OrleansMarine City, MichiganCharlottesville, VirginiaColumbus, Ohio;  MilwaukeeJersey CityTulsa, OklahomaSanta Ana, California; Providence, and Cambridge, Massachusetts.

XQ is led by co-founder and CEO Russlynn Ali, a former assistant secretary of education for civil rights. Its board is chaired by Laurene Powell Jobs, president of the Emerson Collective and Steve Jobs’s widow.

Academy Award-winning actress and producer Viola Davis and her husband, actor/producer Julius Tennon, are executive producers of the live event, which is sponsored by the Entertainment Industry Foundation.

“We are excited to team up with EIF and XQ Institute to help bring awareness to the issue of high school education and ensure that our students are receiving an education that prepares them for the future,” Davis and Tennon said in a statement.

• From The 74: Laurene Powell Jobs Announces $50 Million Race to Rethink American High Schools)

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