New Ready To Learn grants will center on ‘community collaboratives’

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Fourteen public television stations will each get $175,000 Ready To Learn grants from the U.S. Department of Education to work with local organizations on early-childhood learning.

CPB and PBS announced the two-year grants Thursday. The funding round, dubbed “Ready To Learn Community Collaboratives for Early Learning and Media,” will focus on supporting science and literacy education for children, families and caregivers in low-income communities.

Stations will partner with community organizations on the work. For instance, Alabama Public Television will work in the northwest corner of the state, where poverty is rising, along with the YMCA of Greater Birmingham, the United Way of Central Alabama, the Walker County Board of Education and the Walker Area Community Foundation.

Seven stations are first-time RTL grant recipients: Alaska Public Media, Anchorage; Georgia Public Broadcasting, Atlanta; UNC-TV Public Media North Carolina, Research Triangle Park; WCNY, Syracuse, N.Y.; WIPB-Indiana Public Broadcasting, Muncie; WLVT-PBS 39, Allentown, Pa.; and Wisconsin Public Television, Madison.

Other stations to receive grants: Arizona PBS, Phoenix; Louisiana Public Broadcasting, Baton Rouge; Maryland Public Television, Owings Mills; WHRO Public Media, Norfolk, Va.; WHUT-Howard University Television, Washington, D.C.​; and WNET, New York City.

Stations will use PBS Kids content, apps and digital games to work with children. Educators will get professional development, and caregivers will receive training on how children learn more efficiently through digital media, according to the announcement.

“Public media’s high-quality children’s content has proven effective in helping our youngest learners make academic gains and experience social-emotional growth to get on the right track for school,” said Deb Sanchez, CPB’s SVP of education and children’s content, in the announcement.

The work is part of a five-year grant to CPB and PBS through the Department of Education’s Ready To Learn initiative. It seeks to create new learning tools, establish community collaborations and research the impact of the educational resources.

Congress first authorized Ready To Learn in 1992 to support production and distribution of educational programs for preschool and elementary-school children.

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