Stars Join Iowa BIG in Hollywood to Rethink High School

Tom Hanks, Samuel L. Jackson, Yo-Yo Ma…these are names that likely ring a bell. Iowa BIG’s partner XQ SuperSchools, and grantor of $1,000,000, recently invited three Iowa BIG staff and two students to attend their live made-for-TV event on Friday, September 8th. The TV show- available on Fox, ABC, NBC, and CBS- challenged America to rethink secondary education. As a result, over 300,000 viewers (of over 8 million) texted their support to become part of the process- hopefully a nationwide conversation- on how to provide additional fruitful paths for students.

Three staff and two students attended the show. Iowa BIG graduate Maya Gonlubal and junior Willow Weber were featured on the pre-show red carpet as well as in a two minute video of their project, Humans of Cedar Rapids. Iowa BIG co-founders Trace Pickering and Shawn Cornally, along with Dennis Becker, who was lead teacher for the Humans of Cedar Rapids project, also joined the students.

XQ’s contention is that although the United States has changed much during the past 100 years, that the traditional model of education hasn’t changed to reflect the needs of today’s students. We at Iowa BIG believe that the United States has many amazing, hard working teachers who care very much about student success- we all have interacted with such teachers in the Linn-Mar, Cedar Rapids, College Community, and other school districts. We also believe that many options for student success- be they options through the traditional high school or Workplace Learning Connection (internships, job shadows, etc.) or Iowa BIG- are a win for students.

View Iowa BIG’s two-minute nationally televised spotlight at the 48 minute mark of this video.