The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) and PBS have received a Ready To Learn grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Elementary and Secondary Education. The grant will provide $24,322,018 in year one of a five-year cycle* to fund CPB and PBS’s comprehensive multi-media learning and station engagement initiative, which will connect children’s media and learning environments to build key skills for success. The grant will provide resources to 12 PBS stations, including Vegas PBS, to implement local partnerships in Southern Nevada.
The initiative will result in the development of new content that helps young children build vital skills to help them succeed in school and life, including functional literacy, critical thinking and collaboration — and shows them career options in age-appropriate ways. This will be done by producing multiple forms of content, some that show real-life examples of success by having adult role models share how they turned their childhood interest into their life’s work. It will also help parents, caregivers and communities support children’s learning and growth, with a goal of putting children on a path to success in learning, work and life.
CPB and PBS will work with experts in early learning and leading children’s media producers to create new PBS KIDS multiplatform content, including Wombats! (w.t.), produced by GBH, in which preschoolers will learn critical thinking and collaboration skills by following the adventures of three marsupial siblings as they explore their “Treeborhood.” In Liza Loops (w.t.), created and produced by Dave Peth, children ages 5-6 will encounter sociable city kid Liza, an aspiring inventor, and her fuzzy blue sidekick Stu as they invent solutions to help others in their neighborhood. As part of the grant, CPB and PBS will work with additional producers and partners on the third series with a literacy curriculum, in addition to digital games and podcasts, as well as resources to support family learning at home, in virtual spaces and in the community. All three series will be available on Vegas PBS and VEGAS PBS KIDS as well as PBS KIDS digital platforms.
Today, children face a future filled with an unprecedented amount of uncertainty. The initiative’s focus on introducing children to the mindsets, knowledge and skills required to succeed in the workforce stems from a rapidly evolving global economy. COVID-19 has also impacted the workforce landscape, making it more important than ever to equip children with skills and ways of thinking that will allow them to successfully navigate their future.
“Vegas PBS is honored to be a part of the CPB and PBS’ Ready To Learn-funded initiative,” said Tom Axtell, General Manager, Vegas PBS. “This grant will help Vegas PBS continue to serve Southern Nevada-area families with high-quality early learning content and services to set them on the path for a successful future.”
“During these challenging times, public media continues to deliver value to the American people through our consistent commitment to early learners. As COVID-19 continues to disrupt education, public media is working to ensure that the nation’s children, especially those in low-income communities, have access to learning and are not left behind,” said Pat Harrison, President and CEO for CPB. “The funding by Congress and the Department of Education will provide vital resources to public media for the creation of research-based educational content, that will be offered free of charge and commercial free, to help children prepare to succeed in work and life.”
“PBS was founded on the belief that media can be a powerful force for education and inspiration. As we celebrate our 50th anniversary, we are committed to building on our strong legacy of high-quality educational media to meet the needs of young learners,” said Paula Kerger, President and CEO, PBS. “We are grateful for the vital support of CPB and the Department of Education, which allows us to serve millions of children across the country. Together with our member stations and producing partners, we will use every tool at our disposal to prepare the next generation for success in school and life.”
Local PBS stations will work with community partners, including schools, public libraries, museums, businesses, local Chambers of Commerce and other stakeholders, as part of a national network devoted to supporting the early learning needs of children in low-income communities. Critical national partners include the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation and Parents As Teachers.
The first phase of work will take place in 12 communities, including Southern Nevada through Vegas PBS, in addition to 11 others: Anchorage, Alaska (Alaska Public Media); Austin, Texas (Austin PBS); Birmingham, Alabama (Alabama Public Television); Detroit (Detroit Public TV); Lexington, Kentucky (Kentucky Educational Television); Los Angeles (PBS SoCaL); Madison, Wisconsin (PBS Wisconsin); New York (WNET); Owings Mill, Maryland (Maryland Public Television); Pittsburgh (WQED); and Tallahassee, Florida (WFSU). Additional communities will be added during years 2-5 of the grant.
The Education Development Center (EDC) will lead a research effort to assess the success of the five-year initiative, with emphasis on the new content’s ability to build key skills and inspire children to explore the “world of work.” Project research will also provide new insights into the ways in which newer media and intergenerational engagement can support children’s learning. Data analytics will advance the understanding of how games can influence learning gains, and formative studies will drive informed content creation.
*Additional years of funding are contingent on Congressional appropriations.
About Vegas PBS
Vegas PBS is a member-supported public television service providing educational content for over 50 years. Vegas PBS builds community through television, education services, and unique experiences that create a sense of place, civic and social capital. For 11 consecutive years, Vegas PBS has remained among the top three most-watched PBS stations in the country. The station offers five unique secondary channels: Create, VEGAS PBS KIDS, WORLD, Rewind and Jackpot! The station collaborates with community partners to create award-winning content that examines informational, cultural, historic, and educational regional issues.
Vegas PBS provides a robust variety of education services that extend the educational experience beyond the broadcast. Resources and services include Vegas PBS’ Ready To Learn educational workshops for children and families, professional development for teachers, online learning courses and certifications for adults, multimedia educational support for educators, 25+ channels of educational and local news for in-classroom viewing, and a Special Needs Resource Library serving those with special needs throughout the state of Nevada.
Vegas PBS viewers can access their favorite shows across multiple platforms including broadcast, vegaspbs.org, the PBS Video App and the PBS KIDS Video App. For more information, visit vegaspbs.org or find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube.