When the pandemic caused schools across Northern New York to close in March, WPBS-TV, the leading provider of educational television programming in the region, moved immediately to increase the availability of curriculum-aligned content for students and families. WPBS created a new at-home learning afternoon block on its PBS Kids 24/7 and PBS World channels, making available an additional 40+ hours/week of learning content. The addition of curriculum-aligned programming provided an avenue for students and educators to bridge the divide between virtual and hands-on learning experiences. This was especially important for the estimated 25% – 30% of students in Northern New York who lack reliable broadband Internet access and who experienced challenges in accessing course content to continue their schoolwork.
After consulting with local school districts and BOCES and surveying individual teachers, WPBS Educational Services staff selected programming for the PBS Kids 24/7 block to reflect areas of highest priority in NYS elementary, middle and high school curricula. Working with local educators, WPBS Classroom content was created and added. WPBS Classroom, featuring phenomenal science lessons with Mr. Kris Alsup from South Lewis Middle School, provided direct instruction from local teachers and educators available right to students in their own homes. Graphics were created to let parents and students know which subject areas and grade levels each program aligned with. A landing page with resources for students, parents, and educators was added to the WPBS website and a comprehensive list of PBS LearningMedia resources was created and circulated to teachers and school districts. The WPBS At-Home Learning page continues to grow and will be available indefinitely to all who wish to access materials. Teachers were also given the option to sign up for individualized resources collected by the WPBS education services to support their individual needs.
As the 2019/2020 academic year comes to a close, WPBS Educational Services will conclude the offering of this at-home learning content on the PBS Kids 24/7 channel effective June 26, 2020. However, at-home learning content will continue to be available on PBS World Channel throughout the summer.
WPBS Educational Services is working on two new initiatives to help students and families in the summer months – a virtual summer camp experience for campers in early childhood ; and a customized and curated package of learning content with support materials for students who were unable to fully participate in distance learning during the pandemic, and for those who wish to catch up or review subject areas to increase their preparedness for return to classes, continue distance learning, or begin college coursework this fall.
Announcements regarding both initiatives will be made shortly.
For further information, please contact:
Education & Lifelong Learning Partnership and Services Manager
315-782-3142 ext 320