Valley PBS Local Learning

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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, has 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 Kindergarten, 1st, 2nd and 3rd grade students. Each segment is 15 minutes in length 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; 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. Valley 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. There is no greater gift we can offer our children than the ability to stay on grade-level in reading. This program is truly LOCAL THAT WORKS. To us, THIS is how public television must respond to the individual needs of the community it serves. Since March, we have aired 38 graduation ceremonies, produced 38 episodes of The Valley PBS Reading Room, an evening show where teachers and community members could virtually read stories to children, created and aired 11 episodes of Valley PBS Community Conversations: COVID-19 in the San Joaquin Valley-a news program that brought viewers the latest information as the pandemic began to spread in the spring and, along with 80 other PBS stations, we turned our daytime schedule into an At Home Learning classroom. We ARE the Valley’s educational resource, not only in times of crisis, but each and every day.