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The best old school TV high schools from Bayside to Liberty

Publicity photo from the television program Welcome Back, Kotter. From left: Gabe Kaplan, Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs, Wendy Rastatter, Robert Hegyes, and Ron Palillo.
Publicity photo from the television program Welcome Back, Kotter. From left: Gabe Kaplan, Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs, Wendy Rastatter, Robert Hegyes, and Ron Palillo.
ABC Television/Wikimedia Commons/public domain

It's that time of year again! Back to school time is on our minds, and for the TV-minded it conjures up memories of some of the all-time great television high schools. From Mr. Kotter's alma mater to a famous learning institution in the 90210 zip code -- and way before we ever heard of “High School Musicals” East High School or "Glee's" William McKinley High -- here's a look back at five super cool, old school television high schools.

Liberty High School – “My So Called Life”

It only lasted one season in the mid 1990s, but this ABC coming-of-age drama starred Claire Danes and lived on in rerun infamy thanks to a syndication boost from MTV. At the center of 15-year-old Angela Chase's "so called" life was Liberty High School, a school that we saw transform from a seemingly safe place to a scary building equipped with metal detectors. Still, we’ll always have the boiler room. And any school that hosts a World Happiness dance gets an A in our book!

James Buchanan High School- “Welcome Back Kotter”

Teacher Gabe Kotter (played by Gabe Kaplan) went back to his humble beginnings in this 1970s sitcom, when he landed a teaching job at his old high school. But this school had a special name for his group of remedial students. They were called the Sweathogs -- and Kotter used to be one of them. So was John Travolta, er, Vinnie Barbarino. Later, Mr. Kotter even worked his way up to vice-principal! Not bad for a former slacker.

West Beverly High School- “Beverly Hills 90210”

This alma mater included high school characters played by Tori Spelling and Luke Perry (who was in his mid-20s at the time), so that alone was a teenage dream. As for Superintendent Ephardt's strict rules at this posh Beverly Hills high school (apparently, drunkenness at the prom is not tolerated!), at least he did eventually let Donna Martin graduate!

Bayside High School- “Saved by the Bell”

Screech as a mascot? Zack Morris as principal for a day? Yeah, this was one wacky school! In the alternative universe of this 1990s series, Screech (Dustin Diamond) liked his high school so much he went back after graduating to work as an assistant for principal, Mr. Belding. In real life, Diamond dished on some detention-worthy backstage behavior in his memoir. Next up: A Lifetime TV movie, "The Unauthorized Saved by the Bell Story," will tell all.

Fillmore Junior High – “The Brady Bunch”

In this early ‘70s sitcom, the Brady kids' high school, Westdale High, boasted all sorts of important clubs: the Scuba Club, the Archery Club and the super snooty Boosters Club, all of which proved to be epic fails for Marcia Marcia Marcia (Maureen McCormick.) But the town junior high school had a club that trumped them all: The Davy Jones Fan Club. Now that was of the utmost academic importance!