Julie Jackson greets students during morning arrival
Newark, News

TODAY Hosts Go Back to School with Uncommon

  • September 12, 2019

We’re honored that the TODAY show chose to go “back to school” with Uncommon Schools ̶ a testament to the importance and impact of the love, joy, and rigor our staff bring every day to over 20,000 students attending one of our 54 schools in Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York.

Our students shined brightly in this segment of NBC’s TODAY show. The show’s 4 million viewers witnessed the joy and magic inside our schools, and laughed alongside our students during the lessons given by their guest teachers ̶ TODAY show hosts Al Roker, Hoda Kotb, Savannah Guthrie, Carson Daly, and Craig Melvin.

‘Everyone Say Science!’

Al Roker demonstrates clouds using pressurized air and a water bottle

Al Roker took a group of our students outside to talk about clouds, however, the sky was a perfect blue and not a cloud was in sight. Of course, that didn’t stop Mr. Roker from answering the age-old questions of young people: why is the sky blue? How are clouds formed? With the tact and finesse of one of our teachers, Mr. Roker held our students’ attention. He asked them questions, got them to hypothesize and to think critically about the weather. He then took everyone inside for a demonstration. As if by magic, he stole the students’ attention again by making clouds with pressurized air, rubbing alcohol, and an empty plastic bottle. The looks on our students’ faces were pure and magical. They might not have understood the precise mechanics of Mr. Roker’s demonstration but one thing is for sure: they learned the power of scientific exploration and discovery.

‘Today is a Great Day!’

Hoda Kotb talks food with students at lunch

Hoda Kotb not only made lunch time extra special but also, with her warm smile and shining personality, immediately joined our community. After sitting down at a table and going through which food types were “Go” or “Woah,” she led the entire lunch room in an a capella rendition of Old Town Road. Our students loved it and showered her with serious shine. It was a special moment of connection filled with love and caring for one another. Our students and staff all hope she comes back again for more lunch time a capella entertainment!

‘Profoundly Touched’

Savannah Guthrie moderates a debate Craig Melvin leads gym class

Carson Daly, Savannah Guthrie, and Craig Melvin also led our students in music, debate, and gym classes. To watch our students interact with our special guests (including all the videographers) and be as attentive and engaged as they are on any given school day is a bright example of how much our students love learning and how poised and mature they are. All of our guests left expressing how profoundly touched they were by what they saw, and how much our work matters.

Carson Daly poses with students

Thank you to TODAY for choosing Uncommon Schools and highlighting the everyday accomplishments of our staff and students. Thank you to North Star Academy Alexander Street Elementary School for exemplifying the amazing education happening in our 54 schools. One School, One Mission. We are Uncommon.

Read: Kathy Moore’s write-up in The 74