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WFSU One Of 12 PBS Stations To Benefit From U.S. Department Of Education Ready To Learn Grant Awarded To CPB And PBS

teacher instructing students who are standing up in front of their chairs in tv studio
WFSU Public Media
These elementary students are Ready To Learn

Tallahassee, FL - 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 over $24 million in year one of a five-year cycle* to fund CPB and PBS’s comprehensive multi-media learning and member 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 WFSU Public Media. WFSU plans to perform work implementing local partnerships in the capital region of North Florida

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 as well as leading children’s media producers to create new PBS KIDS multi-platform 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 five through six 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 WFSU-HD and WFSU KIDS 360 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.

“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 North Florida through WFSU Public Media, 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 Las Vegas, Nevada (Vegas PBS). Additional communities will be added during years two through five 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 WFSU Public Media

WFSU Public Media provides quality public broadcasting services to the north Florida and South Georgia areas. WFSU Public Media is both an NPR and PBS member station, with both TV and FM housed together in one building near Innovation Park. In Panama City, WFSU Public Media is known as WFSG-TV and WFSW-FM. WFSU Public Media also provides community outreach and educational services. Examples include the American Graduate Project and children's projects associated with PBS KIDS. WFSU Public Media enriches lives and cultivates diverse perspectives by connecting our community through content and services that inform, educate, and entertain.

WFSU Public Media provides a robust variety of education services that extend the educational experience beyond the broadcast. Resources and services include WFSU PBS’ Ready To Learn educational workshops for children and families, professional development for teachers, multimedia educational support for educators, virtual programs and workshops and asynchronous educational engagement backpacks as well.

Viewers can access their favorite shows across multiple platforms including broadcast, wfsu.org, the WFSU PBS KIDS 24/7 channel, WFSU KIDS 360 (for young learners ages 2-8), and WORLD Channel At-Home Learning Service (for learners grades 6-12). For even more find us on Facebook, WFSU Education Facebook, WFSU Instagram, WFSU Education Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.

For more information, please contact:

Tasha Weinstein

WFSU Education & Engagement Manager