Department of Education to continue PBS programming partnership

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The Tennessee Department of Education  (TDOE) has announced a second phase of its partnership with statewide PBS stations to help ensure children continue to have access to educational content during the summer.  

Starting June 1, all six Tennessee PBS stations — WNPT Nashville, East Tennessee PBS, WCTE Upper Cumberland, WKNO Memphis, West TN PBS and Chattanooga WTCI — will offer high-quality educational programming for grades kindergarten-three on weekdays from 10 a.m.-noon through June and July.  

“We are incredibly grateful for this PBS partnership which has made it possible to provide more students with access to educational content,” Tennessee Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn said. “We have seen an overwhelming response to the Teaching Tennessee Learning Series, created by Tennessee teachers in Tennessee classrooms, so we are excited about the opportunity to continue the partnership and keep students engaged, learning and growing all summer long.” 

The TDOE-PBS partnership launched April 6 in response to COVID-19 school closures. The department worked with Tennessee teachers and districts to create Tennessee Teaching, an at-home learning series consisting of a total of 320 virtual classroom lessons providing ELA and math instruction for first-eighth grade students to help ensure children had access to learning opportunities regardless of internet connectivity in their home.  

In addition to broadcasting these resources over eight weeks of programming across all Tennessee PBS stations, all 320 lessons have companion teacher lesson plans and student packets which are available on the department’s website.

The lessons are also provided on the department’s YouTube page, 20 lessons for each subject in each grade, and have had more than 75,000 views over the past two months. 

“The PBS programming helped in a time of transition and gave many of our students a way to engage without having to have broadband internet. The lessons became an important tool for us to help keep students learning,” said Shawn Kimble, superintendent of Lauderdale County Schools. “The department was swift in getting us that help when we most needed it, and I think the effort was appreciated by many."  

On just one of Tennessee’s PBS Stations, WCTE, viewers also streamed over 60,000 minutes of Teaching Tennessee content through YouTubeTV.

In order to continue ensuring students have access to learning opportunities over the summer, starting June 1, the Summer Learning Series will feature PBS LearningMedia programming that has been specifically chosen for a continued focus on early literacy and math, aligned to Tennessee standards. Each of these programs also have teacher, family and student resources available online.  

The schedule for June 1-June 15, Monday through Friday, includes: 

• 10 a.m. CT: Xavier Riddle and the Secret Museum  

• 10:30 a.m. CT: Peg + Cat  

• 11 a.m. CT: Cyberchase 

• 11:30 a.m. CT: MOLLY OF DENALI™ 

“I'm so excited to be working with all of the Tennessee PBS stations to continue this important collaboration with the Department of Education and Commissioner Schwinn,” said Becky Magura, president and CEO of WCTE. “Our unified goal of keeping children excited about learning over the summer with quality educational content and learning activities from PBS LearningMedia builds on the foundation of TDOE’s At Home Learning schedule. We make a great team.”      

Since the COVID-19 pandemic forced school closures across the state, the Tennessee Department of Education has developed partnerships and designed several resources for optional, free use by local districts. This includes three times per week superintendent calls, provided access to SchoolMealFinder.cominstructional programming on PBS, an online learning platform ReadyRosieTennessee Principal Learning SeriesSTE(A)M Resources Hubfree training for teachers on digital teaching and learning and acquired an unprecedented approval of federal waivers with a focus on nutrition, accountability and special education. 

For Tennessee Department of Education media inquiries, contact Edu.MediaInquiries@tn.gov.    

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