CPB Media Room

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting Selects Maryland Public Television to Develop Out-of-School Learning Resources

  • April 3, 2013

New educational resources will help children from low-income families strengthen math, literacy learning using PBS KIDS content and games

Washington, D.C. – The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) announced today that it has awarded Maryland Public Television (MPT) $740,000 in funding through Ready To Learn, a cooperative agreement funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Innovation and Improvement, to develop out-of-school learning resources for children ages 4-8 from low-income backgrounds. These new resources will build upon content and games created by PBS KIDS in partnership with leading public media children’s producers as part of the Ready To Learn Initiative.

Research has shown that children under the age of six living in low-income households tend to score on average as much as 25 points lower on standardized tests in both math and literacy than their higher-income peers. To help bridge this achievement gap, CPB and PBS KIDS are assisting public media stations in strengthening children’s math and literacy skills by supporting learning in all areas of their daily activities, including at home, at school, after school, during the summer, and across a range of media technologies – from television series to interactive games and websites.

With CPB support, MPT will integrate content developed under the CPB-PBS Ready To Learn Initiative into an expanded out-of-school curriculum focused on specific math concepts, such as measurement and data analysis. These resources, which utilize math and literacy curricula developed by a national team of education advisors, will be designed specifically for use by local public media stations in collaboration with informal education partners, including afterschool programs and summer learning camps. MPT will also create professional development materials for educators to support effective use of these materials, as well as resources to help parents and caregivers reinforce math and literacy concepts through family activities. Additionally, researchers from Johns Hopkins University’s School of Education will pilot test these resources with out-of-school practitioners during summer and fall 2013.

“Parents, caregivers and educators trust public media to provide educational content that helps young children learn – anytime, anywhere and across multiple devices,” said Debra Sanchez, senior vice president for education and children’s content at CPB. “Through Ready To Learn, Maryland Public Television, working closely with CPB and PBS KIDS, is developing new math and literacy resources that can be used in out-of-school settings to prepare every child for success in the classroom.”

Once completed, MPT will make the curricula and supporting materials available to after-school and summer programs through local public media stations and partners via PBS KIDS Lab (PBSKIDS.org/lab).

“There's no question that developing math and literacy skills in young children pays off in their later success in school and in life. MPT is delighted to help enrich children’s learning during out-of-school time by developing high-quality resources for them as well as for their teachers, parents and caregivers,” said Larry D. Unger, president and CEO of Maryland Public Television. “Public television is a strong education partner in communities across the country, and we're confident that children of all backgrounds will benefit from this important initiative.”

CPB-PBS Ready To Learn Initiative partners, including the National Summer Learning Association (NSLA) and the Collaborative for Building After-School Systems (CBASS), will provide technical assistance to MPT as well as to public media stations as they begin using these Ready To Learn resources with local organizations.

MPT has participated in the Ready To Learn Initiative since 1994 and has implemented innovative education and outreach initiatives, including Super WHY! Summer Reading Camps, Martha Speaks Reading Buddies and PBS KIDS Island, with an emphasis on serving low-income communities. The station is also a public media leader in education, producing educational media and online courses, launching educational outreach projects, and creating online digital content and delivery systems, such as Thinkport , Maryland’s PreK-12 education portal.

Ready To Learn, funded by Congress and the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Innovation and Improvement, supports the development of innovative educational television and digital media targeted at preschool and early elementary school children and their families. Its goal is to promote early learning and school readiness, with a particular interest in reaching low-income children.

CPB and PBS received funding from Ready To Learn in 2010 to focus on math, continue early literacy projects and develop innovative new teaching tools over a five-year period. CPB and PBS were the recipients of previous five-year Ready To Learn funding in 2005 to develop children’s programming with an emphasis on early literacy skills. Research and findings conducted on the content created under this program are available here.

This project with Maryland Public Television is fully funded by the U.S. Department of Education.

About PBS KIDS PBS KIDS, the number one educational media brand for kids, offers all children the opportunity to explore new ideas and new worlds through television, online, mobile and community-based programs. Kidscreen- and Webby-award winning pbskids.org provides engaging interactive content, including the PBS KIDS video player, now offering free streaming video accessible on computer- and mobile-device-based browsers. For more information on specific PBS KIDS content supporting literacy, science, math and more, visit pbs.org/pressroom, or follow PBS KIDS on Twitter and Facebook.

About Maryland Public Television Launched in 1969, Maryland Public Television (MPT) is a not-for-profit, state-licensed public television station, which serves the citizens of Maryland and beyond through a variety of broadcast and non-broadcast activities. MPT’s long-standing commitment to education provides the PreK-12 education and child care communities with extensive on-air programs, online content, and professional development training. MPT’s education website, Thinkport.org, provides teachers, students and families with rich multimedia content, online professional development and resources to extend learning into the home. To learn more visit www.mpt.org

About The Ready To Learn Initiative The Ready To Learn Initiative is a cooperative agreement funded and managed by the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Innovation and Improvement. It supports the development of innovative educational television and digital media targeted at preschool and early elementary school children and their families. Its general goal is to promote early learning and school readiness, with a particular interest in reaching low-income children. In addition to creating television and other media products, the program supports activities intended to promote national distribution of the programming, effective educational uses of the programming, community-based outreach, and research on educational effectiveness.

About CPB

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), a private, nonprofit corporation created by Congress in 1967, is the steward of the federal government's investment in public broadcasting. It helps support the operations of more than 1,400 locally-owned and -operated public television and radio stations nationwide, and is the largest single source of funding for research, technology, and program development for public radio, television and related online services.

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CPB awards grants to stations and independent producers to create programs and services.