NORMAL, Ill. (WMBD) – An Illinois State University professor is taking her love for the award-winning comedy series “Abbott Elementary” into the classroom. Professor Sara Jones has created a course centered around the TV show tying serious issues and entertainment together.

“To be honest first and foremost I’m just a huge fan of the show,” said Jones.

The honors class scheduled for Spring 2024 is titled “Predicaments and Possibilities in Public Education: How Critical issues are portrayed in ‘Abbott Elementary.’

“The purpose of the course is to use the show and the episodes as a jumping-off point and a catalyst for conversations about the very real issues that public schools are facing,” Jones said.

The class will focus on issues like the racial demographics of teachers and public school students, funding, instructional policies, charter schools and discipline. Although Jones works in the College of Education, the course is interdisciplinary meaning students from different majors can register.

“I thought, ‘This is something that I really love.’ People are watching the show. It is widely popular. It is winning awards. People know about it. And it is tackling these issues that I think impact everyone not just in education,” said Jones.

Since the approval of the course, Jones is also working to get show creator and cast member Quinta Brunson and other castmates to guest lecture. Now whether that dream comes true or not, Jones hopes that once the class is over the students have a deeper understanding of the issues public schools face.

“Then I also hope that they leave realizing that when we have these pop culture artifacts, when we have popular media like Abbott Elementary and particularly as I said being watched by so many folks, winning awards that it can be more than just entertainment,” she said.