PBS funds embedded teachers at public TV stations

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BALTIMORE — PBS is in the early stages of a pilot program to improve its support for education in underserved communities by embedding teachers within member television stations.

Barzilay speaks to the NETA crowd in Baltimore. (Photo: Bob Petts)

Barzilay speaks to the NETA crowd in Baltimore. (Photo: Bob Petts)

Five stations will receive funding to develop and implement teacher engagement and professional development activities in rural and high-need communities, COO Jonathan Barzilay told attendees Tuesday at the NETA Professional Development Conference.

Barzilay called the initiative “hugely exciting.”

“The goal is to better understand what educators in low-income rural areas need to be more effective, to create teacher engagement activities that will help narrow the opportunity gap and to ensure that member stations remain at the center of the conversation,” he said.

Participating stations Iowa Public Television, Idaho Public Television, MontanaPBS, Prairie Public Broadcasting and Southern Oregon Public Television will conduct  need assessments with local teachers and develop plans for their pilots this fall and winter. PBS expects the projects to launch in spring 2017 and run through June 2019.

If the pilot work looks promising, PBS will create a model that can be replicated throughout the system.