Since COVID-19 created an urgent need for Virtual Distance Learning, Valley PBS, which covers seven counties in the impoverished Central Valley region of California, partnered with our school districts to develop, film and air Local Learning, a program targeting young students in English, Spanish and Hmong, the three primary languages spoken in our area.
Taught by credentialed teachers, the first 10 weeks of Local Learning have focused on literacy for K-3 students. Each segment is 15 minutes daily and the four segments air together in a one-hour block from 8am to 9am each weekday while also streaming on Facebook Live. All lessons are collated for review on a dedicated landing page on our website.
As students in our footprint are all beginning classes at home, starting August 31st, we will expand the program by 30 minutes daily to include Pre-K and T-Kindergarten classes as well. The school districts have incorporated Local Learning into their Distance Learning plan, but their online instruction won’t begin until after our program ends at 9am. Between June and December, we will have taped, edited, captioned and aired 600 individual segments to help our youngest scholars have equal access to the tools they need to succeed during this unprecedented time. V
alley PBS is a community licensee in a service area from Kern to Merced counties in the one of the most underserved and disadvantaged areas of the nation. Over 55% of our population is Latino, with many farm laborers and factory workers who are unable to stay home with their children during the pandemic. Their children rely on school meals and caregiving, which have now been paused. Often, these households don’t have access to reliable, high-speed internet service or cable TV, nor do they have the means to supply computers to their children.
Our airwaves are a trusted partner. This pandemic has had a disproportionately high impact on our rural communities of color and Local Learning ensures our free, over-the-air services are there for those who may not have access to other resources while schools are closed.