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Published on Jul 14, 2015
The Junior High School resembles in approach and spirit some of the work of another master documentarian, Frederick Wiseman, especially Wiseman’s High School; but this, like every Saltzman film, is suffused with a kind of reined compassion rarely found in canvases of this scope. Saltzman’s work, as shown again in this film, is never a mere inventory, but a search for truth, which the audience is invited to join. – Norman Corwin
The Junior High School, a two-hour documentary on the junior high school experience. A full year in production. First broadcast in 1971. “Heaven, Hell or Purgatory, Part I,” October 17, 1971. “From A to Zoo, Part II, October 24,” 1971. Reprint: Two - hour special, January, 1973. Reprint: Four - part program on consecutive Sundays, November, 1973. Awards: National Television Broadcast Executives' documentary of the year, Excellence in Broadcast Journalism; Edward R. Murrow Award for Distinguished Achievement in Broadcast Journalism and Television Documentary Reporting; John Swett Award, California State Teachers' Association; special certificate of merit from the Los Angeles Board of Education. Special Publication: UCLA Committee on Public Lectures and UCLA Graduate School of Education; screening and panel discussion, January, 1972. Used in education classes, 1972 to present. One teacher said: “It fully documents in ways I never thought possible, the world of the junior high school student and teacher. It is an amazing document and for the life of me, I can’t figure out how they did it.” Los Angeles Times: “The finest documentary ever produced on American education. No one should miss it.” Members of the UCLA Graduate School of Education called the documentary, “A landmark publication in the field of education.”