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Challenge | 2 Weeks

Back to School, Big Debates in Education



The beginning of the school year is always an exciting and stressful time. The 2021 academic school year was particularly challenging as many communities debate how to operate schools safely during a pandemic.

At the same time, the country is grappling with how to address present-day discrimination, racism and the legacy of slavery, as school boards, parents, and lawmakers argue about what students should be taught. New laws and policies are also emerging to regulate how transgender students participate in sports.

SRL wants you to explore some of the big debates related to education in your community as the new school year begins. Click on the Assignment Tab to complete. Here are some examples of topics you may want to explore:

  • How schools handle diversity, equity, and inclusion
  • Pandemic response: masks in schools, how schools spent covid relief funds
  • How schools handle discipline, including cyberbullying
  • Schools treatment toward LGBTQ+ students

***OPTIONAL: Come up with your own topics and questions. Explore other issues related to education people are debating in your school and community. Reach out to an SRL youth media producer for help.

Classroom Conversations

If you plan on having a classroom discussion before assigning this challenge, use this Classroom Conversations Guide to help students feel prepared and supported.

Learning Outcomes

  • Understand how to report using tenets of SOLUTIONS JOURNALISM
  • Understand how to record VIRTUAL and/or IN-PERSON INTERVIEWS (following all public health guidance)
  • Understand how to capture B-ROLL, solicit it from subjects, and/or get it from other sources
  • Understand how to TRANSCRIBE recorded footage
  • Critically think about interview content and identify NEWSWORTHY soundbites
  • Understand how to EDIT together a series of SOUNDBITES and B-ROLL sequences to form a cohesive narrative


During the coronavirus pandemic, reporting must be done in ways that protect student journalists, sources and society at large.


A conversation between two or more people where the purpose is to gather information and facts. The interviewer asks questions and the interviewee provides information based on their knowledge about a specific topic or issue.


A short extract or clip from a recorded interview, chosen for its relevance to the story, pungency or appropriateness.


The primary video and audio that drives your story from beginning to end.


The supplemental footage used to visually support your A-ROLL.

Constructing Supporting Questions

Explain points of agreement and disagreement experts have about interpretations and applications of disciplinary concepts and ideas associated with a supporting question and explain how supporting questions contribute to an inquiry and how, through engaging source work, new compelling and supporting questions emerge. (NCSS D1.3.9-12 - D1.4.9-12)


Historical understanding requires recognizing this multiplicity of points of view in the past, which makes it important to seek out a range of sources on any historical question rather than simply use those that are easiest to find. It also requires recognizing that perspectives change over time, so that historical understanding requires developing a sense of empathy with people in the past whose perspectives might be very different from those of today. (NCSS D2.His.4.9-12 - D2.His.8.9-12)

Speaking and Listening - Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas

Demonstrate technical support related to media production (e.g., broadcast, video, web, mobile).

Language - Vocabulary Acquisition and Use

Demonstrate writing processes used in journalism and broadcasting media.

Demonstrate the use of basic tools and equipment used in audio, video and film production.

Writing - Text Types and Purposes

Creative Communicator

Students communicate clearly and express themselves creatively for a variety of purposes using the platforms, tools, styles, formats and digital media appropriate to their goals. (ISTE)

Constructing Compelling Questions

Explain how a question reflects an enduring issue in the field and explain points of agreement and disagreement experts have about interpretations and applications of disciplinary concepts and ideas associated with a compelling question. (NCSS D1.1.9-12 - D1.2.9-12)

Plan and deliver a media production (e.g., broadcast, video, web, mobile).

Reading - Integration of Knowledge and Ideas

Writing - Production and Distribution of Writing



Video Production



Mental Health





Online Worksheet

Camera or Mobile Phone


Light Kit

Estimated Time

2 Weeks