Find long lost classmates, gain more insight about high school life through the experiences of young people themselves by accessing youth produced e-zines, check out representations of high school life in a variety of television serials, take a journey through the world of film studies, or access resources and articles for parents and teachers by perusing the links below.
Connecting To Former Classmates
Do all those scenes of cafeterias, gym classes and detention fill you with nostalgia for your own high school days? Look no further, the following sites are designed to help people get back in touch. Find old friends, plan a reunion, or just leave your own information so people can contact you directly.
Youth Produced E-zines
Interested in hearing what some of today’s youth are writing about? Check out the following sites to read what some teens and young adults are saying about their experiences in high school and what issues they feel are important to youth today.
Blue Jean Online
Blue Jean Online is a website created and maintained by young women and girls from all over the world. As opposed to the glitz and glamour of all the beauty magazines and websites, Blue Jean focuses on young women who are working to make a difference. Visit the site and read memoirs written by women of all ages, and from all parts of the globe or participate in a discussion forum with students.
WireTap is the independent information source by and for socially conscious youth. They showcase news articles, personal essays, artwork and activism resources that challenge stereotypes and give young people a voice in the media. The WireTap Web portal provides a new generation of writers, artists and activists a space to network, organize and mobilize. The site also contains a message board, a calendar, a gallery and archives.
Frederick Wiseman’s High School takes a long, hard look at high school as an institution in 1968. What has changed? What has not? The following companion sites to television programs (both fictional and documentary) attempt to tackle these and other questions by providing a snapshot of high school experiences, students and teachers from the 1970s to our current times.
Welcome Back Kotter
This television show aired from 1975 to 1979, and tells the story of Gabe Kotter, a teacher, who returns to his high school alma mater in Brooklyn, New York. He is assigned to teach a classroom full of remedial students, aptly known as the “Sweathogs.” He receives the usual disrespect from the class of hooligans until they find out that he was once a Sweathog too. The show is set in fictional James Buchanan High School. This site provides a synopsis of the show, as well as a place to post comments and a discussion board.
Freaks and Geeks
The universal experience of teenagehood as lived by the regular old freaks and geeks in a Michigan high school, circa 1980, is the subject of this wistful comedy-drama which originally aired on NBC from 1999 to 2000 (the series returns in reruns on the Fox network on August 29, 2001). Revolving around the lives of freak and geek siblings Lindsay and Sam Weir, the show studies the everyday fears, humiliations and little triumphs of adolescents. The frequently funny and irreverent site is produced by the show’s creators and offers ongoing updates on the program, the writers and the actors, as well as numerous interactive components such as a bulletin boards, a chat room, an ask the staff page, as well as a space to add your own personal Geek Story. You can also read episode summaries and notes from the writers.
The PBS documentary series, AMERICAN HIGH, captures a year in the life of 14 Chicago-area high school students, both at school and at home, as they head towards graduation. The series depicts a true and sometimes startling portrait of adolescence life today. Along with more information and unseen footage of the students themselves, the site is full of interactive games, quizzes, message boards and even a place to draw oneself onto/into the AMERICAN HIGH yearbook. The site also provides lesson plans which offer a framework to create video diaries, like those featured in the series. The downloadable Parents’ Guide is designed to help parents use the television series as a catalyst for understanding teens and teen behavior.
Produced by the Emmy award-winning producer David E. Kelly, BOSTON PUBLIC (which airs on the Fox network) is a contemporary television series that focuses on the teachers and students at Winslow High School in, you guessed it, Boston. The website is complete with a video gallery, a meet the producers section and chat boards.
Learn more about the history of film by browsing through the following cinema studies clearinghouses.
Guide to WWW Resources in Film Studies
This page was compiled by the Indiana University Bloomington Libraries and links to electronic film journals such as Strobe: Journal of Film, Television, and New Media and Canadian Journal of Film Studies Online. The site offers a deep resource list of other websites covering subjects such as film and video databases, the history of film, in addition to specific directors and writers.
Parents And Educators
The first site provides a huge depth of information devoted to current ideas and thinking related to educational, policy, and family matters (including youth issues), while the second site offers a vast array of lesson plans developed for PBS broadcasts.
Connect for Kids
Connect for Kids, an award-winning project of the Benton Foundation, offers a public space on the Internet for adults, parents, grandparents, educators, policymakers and others who want to make their communities work for kids. Connect for Kids offers articles covering more than 30 topics, ranging from arts and youth development to welfare reform. Their comprehensive website annotates and links to over 1,000 other sites and to 1,500 service and advocacy organizations.
PBS Teachers Source
PBS Teacher Source is a clearinghouse of information about PBS programming and companion K-12 lesson plans, as well as associated teacher resources and off-air recording rights. It also showcases the education services offered by local PBS member stations by providing links to them, and lists the numerous areas of PBS Online, as well as other websites that can help teachers bolster their classroom resources.
Education reform has always been a major debate in America. Some recent issues that have evolved concern class size, school vouchers and standardized testing. The following sites offer supporting arguments and information for either of the two points of view on the debates.
IN FAVOR OF REDUCING CLASS SIZE:
“Reducing Class Size, What Do We Know“
By Ivor Pritchard (March 1999), from The Office of Educational Research and Improvement, U.S. Department of Education.
“Are Smaller Schools the Answer?“
By Michael Klonsky (February 22, 1999), from Education World.
IN OPPOSITION TO REDUCING CLASS SIZE:
“The Evidence on Class Size“
By Eric A. Hanushek (August 29, 2000), from The Thomas B. Fordham Foundation.
“New Study Questions Effectiveness of Reducing Class Size“
By Lance Izumi (June 2, 1998), from Capital Ideas.
IN FAVOR OF SCHOOL VOUCHERS:
“The Bush Education Plan is Too Timid: We Need to Give Families a Choice — and That Means Vouchers and Charterschools“
By Arianna Huffington (April 16, 2001), from Salon.
IN OPPOSITION TO SCHOOL VOUCHERS:
“School Vouchers: The Wrong Choice for Public Education“
From the Anti Defamation League
“Who’s Vouching for Vouchers?“
By Barbara Miner (June 5, 2000), from The Nation.
IN FAVOR OF STANDARDIZED TESTS:
“SAT Said To Be Reliable Predictor Of College Success“
By John Gehring (May 9, 2001), from Education Week.
IN OPPOSITION TO STANDARDIZED TESTING:
“Standardized Testing and Its Victims“
By Alfie Kohn (September 27, 2000), from Education Week.