CPB, RTL award $2.2 million for public TV school-readiness projects

By Dru Sefton

CPB and Ready to Learn, a U.S. Department of Education program supporting preschool learning, will provide $2.2 million in grants to 21 public television stations to create new or expand existing school-readiness projects.

One of the new grants, announced June 3, will establish an Illinois Ready to Learn transmedia network with pubTV partners WILL in Champaign-Urbana, WSIU in Carbondale and WTVP in Peoria, to reach 12,000 educators and 13,000 school children. Partnering with community coalitions in central and southern Illinois, the effort will provide educational programs to three low-income communities, as well as offer professional development for educators. The stations received just over $105,000 for that work.

Since 2011, pubTV stations nationwide have used Ready to Learn grants specifically to extend the educational benefits of PBS Kids content by providing interactive math and literacy programs and services to local communities. The latest round provides first-time grants to 12 stations, and renewals to nine more that will continue their projects. All grants run through September 2015.

The largest of this round, for just over $139,000, backs Detroit Public Television’s ongoing Ready to Learn work. That station will provide five community partners with technology as well as professional teacher development for 70 educators and parent workshops. Michigan Public Health Institute will measure impact.

New grants are going to:

  • NET, Lincoln, Neb., $123,789, to target four communities with low-income, high-risk young learners;
  • KET, Lexington, Ky., $123,256, to incorporate content into its early-childhood initiative, Everyday Learning;
  • WNED, Buffalo, N.Y., $111,761, to collaborate with Buffalo Promise Neighborhood and Read to Succeed Buffalo and fund mobile learning labs;
  • WMHT, Albany, N.Y., $110,489, to create Albany Kids Ready To Learn for the low-income South End neighborhood of nearly 300 children;
  • Mississippi Public Broadcasting, Jackson, Miss., $105,000, to focus on the Jackson neighborhood that feeds into Lanier High School, which has high poverty, unemployment and dropout rates;
  • Twin Cities Public Television, St. Paul, Minn., $105,000, to serve the Summit-University Frogtown Neighborhood in St. Paul and the Northside Achievement Zone in Minneapolis, translating materials when necessary, and integrate content into the station’s larger Children’s Initiative;
  • Prairie Public Broadcasting, Fargo, N.D., $105,263, to focus on preschool through 2nd-grade students and their parents and teachers in the five-county Northeast Education Services Cooperative region of the state;
  • WCTE, Cookeville, Tenn., $104,807, to facilitate projects working with a full-time Ready to Learn project manager in the Putnam County School System;
  • WHRO, Norfolk, Va., $104,790, to work with three public schools in at-risk neighborhoods;
  • WQED, Pittsburgh, $94,600, for work including a scalable toolkit of educational materials that can be delivered to a broader network of schools by the 2014-15 school year; and
  • WGBH, Boston, $87,091, to partner with Imajine That, a Massachusetts-based organization that delivers extended learning opportunities to low-income children and families.

Stations receiving grants to bolster their ongoing  work include: KBTC, Tacoma, Wash., $126,485; PBS SoCal, Costa Mesa, Calif., $107,406; KLRU, Austin, Texas, $107,914; Maryland Public Television, Owings Mills, $105,000; WVIZ, Cleveland, $105,001; Vegas PBS, Las Vegas, $102,516; Iowa Public Television, Johnston, $101,735; and WFSU, Tallahassee, Fla., $64,862.

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