Public TV Stations Expand Remote Learning Services

One week after seven local public television stations announced remote learning partnerships with state and local education authorities, stations in 25 states have joined the effort to teach millions of students suddenly homebound by school closures in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

“This is one of public television’s finest hours,” said Patrick Butler, president and chief executive officer of America’s Public Television Stations. “Working from home and without any financial resources budgeted for addressing a national emergency, local public television stations in collaboration with PBS have stood up a broad range of standards-based, curriculum-aligned educational services to help students, teachers and parents continue the learning process under extraordinary circumstances.

“From Alaska to Florida, this common commitment to educational television — with some stations devoting their entire daytime schedules to age-appropriate educational programming, in addition to providing online services, learning games, teacher and parent guides, and other resources — has dramatically demonstrated public television’s mission of public service, even when it’s hardest to perform,” Butler said.

“We are grateful that Congress is considering legislation to provide emergency funding to support these efforts, as well as our continuing missions of public safety and civic leadership — providing critical information that Americans trust in a confusing time — and we hope our lawmaker will be as generous as possible in helping us help the American people, for free, in this hour of special need,” Butler said.

In Alabama, Alabama Public Television (APT) has curated PBS and APT educational resources to help support parents, caregivers and students. In order to meet parent preferences for broadcast, rather than purely online educational programming, APT is creating broadcast schedules designed to enhance learning with interstitial messages that point to broadcast and online resources. Archives of APT-produced learning adventures (electronic field trips) are being added to APT’s regular broadcast schedule. APT is also working to address the needs of the state’s educators by working with other stations to curate libraries of online resources targeting specific subject areas and grade levels. APT is regularly updating the Alabama State Department of Education on all these efforts.

In Alaska, Alaska Public Media has provided a specially curated set of PBS LearningMedia, interactive lessons aligned to grade levels, grades and subjects so that teachers working on remote learning plans can more easily access relevant digital resources.

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In Arkansas, Arkansas PBS has bolstered its partnership with the Arkansas Department of Education to broadcast “streamlined, curriculum-based programming” to Arkansas children learning from home. Beginning Monday, March 30, Arkansas PBS will modify their broadcast schedule to provide curriculum aligned programming for PreK — 8th grade students from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays. The televised lessons will be available throughout the state to children without internet access. Arkansas PBS LearningMedia will aid teachers and parents with kids’ at-home learning, through ArkansasIDEAS. Instructional packets, including lesson plans and other resources, are available, searchable by grade and subject.

In California, all public television stations have committed to support K-12 learning at home.

PBS SoCal KCET is partnering with the Los Angeles Unified School District, the nation’s second largest (and owner of KLCS Los Angeles), to provide educational resources — both on-air and on-line — to 700,000 students. PBS SoCal KCET is offering broadcast programming and accompanying digital resources that adhere to California’s state curriculum to provide continued at-home learning.

KPBS in San Diego, in collaboration with the San Diego Unified School District and the San Diego County Office of Education, is offering at-home learning options for students, teachers and parents.

KQED, serving the people of Northern California, is also offering new educational resources including a new educational schedule for broadcast on KQED Plus in the Bay Area as well as free corresponding digital learning media and activities for at-home learning. KQED is also providing support for teachers and parents in navigating this new learning landscape throughout the state.

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In Florida, Florida PBS stations are banding together to support at home learning for students by delivering a new weekday television schedule of educational programs. The schedule includes schedule includes specific blocks of time for Pre-K through 12th grade levels and covers subjects, including English language arts, social studies, science and math. These programs are aligned to state standards and are free and accessible from home. This unique and special educational programming and PBS LearningMedia are extraordinary tools that are easy to access from home and they’re made available as a free service from Florida’s public media.

At Home Learning Stations include WEDU Tampa/St. Petersburg, WFSU Tallahassee/Panama City, WGCU Ft. Myers/Naples, WJCT Jacksonville, WLRN Miami, WPBT Miami, WSRE Pensacola, WUCF Orlando, WUFT Gainesville/Ocala and WXEL Boynton Beach.

South Florida PBS’s Health Channel is helping the South Florida community and communities across the nation, informing and educating its residents about the current Coronavirus health crisis.

WUCF in Orlando has updated its “Meet the Helpers” resource site to include information about COVID-19, including new videos to help parents talk to kids about this crisis and to help kids handle the unpredictable nature of this time. The resources also help teach kids about important hygiene measures to keep them safe. The station is also creating and sharing free digital content for at-home learning and support for teachers navigating this new learning landscape.

In Georgia, Georgia Public Broadcasting (GPB) is providing a daily e-learning newsletter, that provides resources for parents, PreK-12 educators, and learning opportunities for teachers. The GPB education website also provides distance learning resources including the Georgia Studies Digital textbook and virtual field trips.

In Hawaii, PBS Hawaii is providing educational resources for students, parents and caregivers and teachers, from PBS Learning Media to the PBS Kids 24/7 broadcast channel and a new online keiki channel (with educational video games).

In Idaho, Idaho Public Television has compiled numerous resources to help support the residents of their state during this crisis. These include specific resources for educators, students and families to help figure out how to continue learning from home.

In Indiana, WFYI in Indianapolis has created a special page of Schools Closed Educational Resources for kids, parents and caregivers and teachers. WNIN Evansville created a webpage with many educational resources to help parents, teachers and students.

In Iowa, Iowa PBS is hosting a Virtual Learning Camp on Facebook beginning March 23. Families from across the state can keep their children’s skills sharp through a guided online learning camp. Parents and caregivers can also visit www.iowapbs.org to find information on discussing coronavirus with children and educational games and activities to play with children during school closures. These include the new Iowa PBS STEAM activity booklet and various multimedia learning resources curated by grade level.

In Kentucky, Kentucky Educational Television (KET) is supporting teachers as they transition to remote learning by offering numerous PBS LearningMedia resources to help make this process easier. As many high school equivalency prep and adult education classes are canceled due to public health safety measures, KET is offering free access to their adult education online courses, FastForward and Workplace Essential Skills.

In Louisiana, Louisiana Public Broadcasting (LPB) in partnership with the Louisiana Department of Education and in collaboration with PBS stations nationwide have announced a plan to provide teachers, parents, caregivers, and students with resources to continue learning at home.

In Maryland, Maryland Public Television is using its Thinkport website and PBS Learning Media as sources for digital learning resources and tools for students, parents and teachers to support remote learning. In addition, MPT is curating collections of digital learning objects in subject areas and grade bands to fit Maryland’s curriculum needs. To further support remote learning, MPT is working with many learning partner organizations and Maryland State Department of Education to share PBS KIDS resources and the new PBS KIDS Daily Newsletter.

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In Massachusetts, WGBH in Boston and WGBY in Springfield are collaborating with the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to provide distance learning over broadcast and digital platforms to preK-12th grade students throughout the state. Recognizing that not everyone has access to the internet or cable, WGBH will be broadcasting educational content for middle and high school students on television, free over the air.

WGBH has also established a new WGBH Distance Learning Center to make PBS LearningMedia resources more accessible to families, as well as educators, to support students PreK-12. The portal offers curated resources by grade and subject for use by students in remote learning situations, allowing them to self-pace and self-monitor their learning. Educators are also able to assign certain lessons and resources through Google Classroom and the PBS Learning Media assignment features.

In Michigan, Detroit Public TV is working with community educators across the state to provide free educational programming and associated digital resources that adhere to Michigan’s state curriculum to facilitate at-home learning across all grade levels.

In Missouri, Nine Network in St. Louis has created the Nine PBS Educator and Caregiver Toolkit to provide free learning opportunities for educators, parents, and students. This toolkit was created with guidance from education leaders from across the region and includes broadcast, online, and mobile resources, as well as learning tools and tips that can be text messaged to phones.

The toolkit includes a broadcast and streaming schedule of kids’ programs available by targeted ages, learning goals, air times and links to PBS KIDS apps. PBS educational programming and resources have been shown by multiple evaluations to be effective tools for teachers and parents. Content is curriculum-based and aligned to respective state standards, and classroom-tested by teachers. Content includes building social and emotional learning, literacy, STEM, social studies and art skills for children across the St. Louis region.

Nine Network will also be creating messages to air daily across their four channels to engage and inform educators, parents, and students and they will continue to work with educators to add resources and meet their needs.

In Montana, MontanaPBS has provided links to virtual and professional development assets for educators, as well as a links to educational resources for all grade levels.

In Nevada, PBS Reno has launched Camp Curiosity offering a curated collection of free lessons, videos and activities to engage kids while they’re not in school. Camp Curiosity includes a landing page and a dedicated phone line for parents to call for assistance. The school district and the state school superintendent are including Camp Curiosity in lists of resources and communications with parents and school districts.

Vegas PBS is adapting its Reach online instructional resources for a potential extended home-schooling experience, combining all links and information for elementary, middle and high school curricula for ease of use by parents, teachers and students. The service will be made available statewide for free.

In New York, Buffalo Toronto Public Media will begin broadcasting a “Learn at Home” schedule to assist families, educators and students. The new schedule will air from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. on WNED PBS KIDS. Blocks of time will be dedicated to different age groups. Early mornings are programmed for young learners (preK through grade 3); mid-mornings are for students in grades 4 through 8, and afternoons are for high school students (grades 9 through 12).

The first week showcases educational programming produced by PBS and public broadcasting stations nationwide, and subsequent weeks will include programming made by public broadcasting stations in New York state, including WNED PBS. In addition, Buffalo Toronto Public Media has compiled educational programming, on-demand education video, online resources, and lesson plans on its website.

WCNY is working with Syracuse, N.Y., city and area school districts to provide classroom lessons for all grade levels on TV. The primary goal is to reach children whose families don’t have Internet service, or who live in broadband deserts. WCNY is planning to change its Global Connection channel into an all-classroom setting to air lessons from teachers recorded at WCNY or elsewhere. WCNY Is also providing other resources for students and parents on their website.

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WXXI in Rochester, will begin broadcasting a “Learn At Home” schedule in support of families, educators, and students. WXXI Kids 24/7 channel will remain the same with PBS KIDS favorites for our youngest viewers. WXXI is also providing resources including videos and activities for educators and families, as well as a link to PBS LearningMedia’s free online service on WXXI.org/education and on WXXI Kids, WXXI Education and WXXI Rochester social media channels.

In North Carolina, UNC-TV partnered with the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction to provide free, curriculum-informed, over-the-air content that is widely accessible to students —  especially those with limited or no internet access.

In Oklahoma, OETA is working with the State Department of Education to provide PBS LearningMedia and other distance learning resources to educators and parents statewide, together with information on the coronavirus and steps to mitigate infection.

In Pennsylvania, WHYY in Philadelphia announced that it is extending pre-K-2 children’s programming on its main channel from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. and is offering an extended suite of educational resources.

WQED, in Pittsburgh, is promoting online learning resources for use during school closures as well as virtual field trips on the WQED Education webpage.

WLVT Bethlehem (Philadelphia DMA) worked with educators locally and nationally to create Lehigh Valley Learns – an over-the-air educational offering, launching Monday, March 30. WLVT also offers the PBS39 Distance Learning Resource Center website.

In South Carolina, South Carolina ETV is partnering with the S.C. Department of Education to broadcast streamlined, curriculum-based programming for the state’s pre-K through 12th grade students in response to mandatory school closures due to the coronavirus.

In Texas, Houston Public Media has revamped its schedules to provide programming that supports students from pre-kindergarten through high school. This schedule was changed to meet the educational needs of students, with additional educational resources available online.

KERA in Dallas has curated a variety of tools and materials for parents and caregivers with school-aged children at home, as well as for educators who are teaching children remotely. These include: Distance Teaching: Learning at home, Family Care: Learning good habits, Child’s Play: Learning and growing, In the News: Learning about the virus.

In Utah, UEN — Utah Education Network — launched a website called [email protected] The site consolidates timely resources for PreK-Grade -12 teachers, students, and parents/caregivers. While many of the resources are for students with home Internet access, there is also a link to the UEN-TV schedule with educational programming that is available statewide and programs for early learners from PBS Utah, including the 24/7 PBS KIDS channel.

In Virginia, WHRO in Norfolk has established a free Digital Learning Courses website with links to all of the station’s high school online courses for the 21 school divisions that own WHRO. The links can be used with or without an available learning management system.

Virginia Public Media (VPM), serving Richmond and Roanoke, has converted its VPM Plus channel into Learning Plus, broadcasting programs for learners of all ages. The educational programs available via free over-the-air broadcast include PBS KIDS shows followed by science, social studies, arts and more in grade-level appropriate blocks for students through high school. VPM has also created a resource webpage for parents and teachers to help facilitate learning from home.

In Washington, D.C., WETA has created a new webpage, “Stuck at Home Survival Guide,” to help families during these uncertain times and adjusting to social distancing.


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