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America’s Super Schools In Spotlight for Star-Studded Prime-Time TV Special Celebrating HS Innovation

By Laura Fay | August 31, 2017

Photo: XQ: The Super School Project

Updated Sept. 5. 

Some of the biggest names in entertainment will come together next week 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, at 8 p.m. Eastern Time, with comedy, music, and documentary segments focusing on the work of the XQ Institute, a nonprofit organization that aims to rethink America’s high schools.

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.

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

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, Missouri; Pittsburgh; New Orleans; Marine City, Michigan; Charlottesville, Virginia; Columbus, Ohio;  Milwaukee; Jersey City; Tulsa, Oklahoma; Santa 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.

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