Back-to-School: What to Watch

By world channel

Films spotlighting the joys and challenges for students of all ages.

From school supply checklists to signing up for extracurriculars, returning to school – from elementary to college – elicits both excitement and nerves. After more than a year of remote learning, schools across the U.S. are looking to fully open their doors for in-person learning. Students will once again be able to reconnect with teachers and classmates, restoring that sense of community. 

Watch films exploring the moments we can experience only in school and the influence that people we meet on this journey have on our personal development and success.

WORLD Channel is also introducing 'Discover Your World' starting September 6 – an enhanced at-home learning service with public television nonfiction programs covering science, history, culture and social justice. Watch weekdays 2:00-7:00p ET (check your local listings).

Discuss and engage with us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter by using the hashtag #BackToSchool and tagging us @worldchannel. Subscribe to our newsletter and YouTube for more features including events and interviews.


Open a Book, Open the World: The Library of Congress National Book Festival
Sept. 12 on TV

This hour-long special delivers highlights from this year's National Book Festival and celebrates a sense of renewal and hope that we’re all yearning for.


Personal Statement
America ReFramed | Watch Online & on the PBS app 8/24-9/3

Follow high school seniors defying the odds for themselves and their classmates by becoming the resource they don't have: peer college counselors. The film weaves together their struggles with the highs and lows of the college application process.

America ReFramed | Watch Online & on the PBS app 8/31-9/15

In Pahokee, Florida, four teenagers experience the joys and heartbreaks of their last year in high school. Economic, academic, familial and athletic pressures weigh on their shoulders as they strive to achieve their dreams and make their families proud.

Udaan (Soar)
HINDSIGHT | August 19 on YouTube & the PBS app

A young Pakistani woman immigrates from Karachi, Pakistan to a small town in Arkansas to begin her first year of college. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, she prepares to live in isolation with her family and to attend classes remotely. But when her mother is turned away by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, she must learn to navigate her new life in the U.S. alone.

Class of COVID
Watch Online & on YouTube

From the first day of school through graduation, three Boston-area high school seniors share their journeys via video diaries, text messages and interviews in this intimate look back at a school year that is sure to shape the lives of a generation.

Road Runners
Doc World | Watch On PBS Passport

In Montego Bay, young athletes prepare to compete in the island’s greatest sporting event: Champs. See what it means to grow up in Jamaica, and learn why these students are striving for success that can determine their lives.

School Days: Teacher Tales
Stories from the Stage | Watch Online & the PBS app

For teachers and students alike, school is a place to struggle mightily. Ben works to transform swooning preschool girls into dragon-slaying warrior princesses; Donna finishes the school year with Sister-ly help; and Crystal climbs the ladder of higher education, aided by secret admirers.

School Days: Student Tales
Stories from the Stage | Watch Online & the PBS app

Remember school? It’s where kids learn and where knowledge sometimes comes only after pain. Cecilia battles a learning disability that leaves everyone – and Cecilia herself – baffled; Anna reluctantly welcomes a newcomer who struggles socially; and Furquaan finds that violent solutions have a down side.

School Days | Stories from the Stage: The Podcast
Subscribe & Download on 
Apple Podcasts
 | Spotify | Stitcher | Pocket Casts

A year after teen storyteller Cecilia Viveiros tells her story of her hidden learning disability, we join her as she goes to college in New York City.

Eyes on the Prize: Season 1
Watch On-Demand on PBS Passport

The 1987 Oscar-nominated series documents the comprehensive history of the Civil Rights Movement in America. Explore the 14 episodes on our timeline viewer’s guide, including ‘Fighting Back,’ ‘Ain’t Scared of Your Jails’ and ‘Mississippi: Is this America?’ where students take the lead for civil rights. 

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