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The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Dream School is a reality series featuring at-risk high school dropouts trying to turn their lives around. Issues such as fighting, marijuana use, and teen parenthood are frequently discussed. There's also some tough language ("bitch," "hell"; bleeped curses), and occasional scenes of students arguing, screaming, and getting into physical altercations. Ultimately, the show sends very positive messages about staying in school, taking responsibility for your decisions, and finding new and creative ways to inspire students to learn.
What's the story?
DREAM SCHOOL is a docuseries that features some of New York City's most challenging high school dropouts attending a special 30-day school designed to help them get back into the educational system. The radical social experiment allows 15 teenagers who dropped out of school for reasons such as fighting, homelessness, and extreme bullying to get back on the academic track with the help of educators and celebrity mentors, including rapper and entrepreneur 50 Cent, conservationist Jeff Corwin, and filmmaker Oliver Stone. From taking subjects such as math and writing to going on class trips designed to help them find their passion and encourage them to think critically about the world around them, the students have the opportunity to refocus themselves to graduate. Overseeing it all is Dream School principal Louanne Johnson, who works hard with the faculty to ensure that the academic and emotional needs of the students are met.
Is it any good?
This series, produced by chef Jamie Oliver, 50 Cent, and music producer Chuck D, shows how mentorship and creativity can help reignite teenagers' interest in learning and working toward a better future. It also reveals some of the many obstacles educators face trying to meet the individual needs of challenging students.
Although Dream School offers very limited discussions about specific lesson plans or the causes and effects of student behavior, teachers may be inspired by some of the ways the mentors attempt to engage their students. But, given this school's unique approach to helping students find their passion, teens may also take interest in what they see here.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the different reasons kids drop out of school, like the kids in Dream School. When faced with seemingly insurmountable circumstances, how can a teenager be inspired to finish high school? What are the disadvantages of not getting a high school diploma? Are there any advantages?
Do you think appearing on a reality series makes Dream School more appealing than it would otherwise be to the students who attend it?
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