Arkansas PBS > Engage > Pressroom > Arkansas PBS selected to receive Ready To Learn Grant to support early literacy, critical thinking skills
Posted 06 Oct 2021
Arkansas PBS to partner with CPB, PBS to develop ‘Learning Neighborhood,’
with additional support from the Windgate Foundation
CONWAY, Ark. (Arkansas PBS) — Arkansas PBS has been awarded a $260,000 grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) and PBS to extend the reach and impact of PBS KIDS early learning resources to local communities. Over the next four years, Arkansas PBS will collaborate with local partners to create a “Learning Neighborhood” that fosters a community-wide culture of learning at home, in the neighborhood, and within local systems and spaces. The program is part of the CPB-PBS Ready To Learn Initiative, funded by the U.S. Department of Education.
Additional support will be provided through a $200,000 matching grant from the Windgate Foundation. This additional support, spread across four years, will enable Arkansas PBS to create a new education staff position, dedicated to the Ready To Learn Initiative.
“We are deeply grateful to CPB, PBS and the Windgate Foundation for their support of Arkansas PBS’s enduring commitment to education,” Arkansas PBS CEO Courtney Pledger said. “We know that when community partners work closely together, early learners’ chances for success in school truly soar – and we are thrilled to serve Arkansas children, parents and educators through this exceptional initiative.”
The 2020-2025 Ready To Learn Initiative is focused on connecting children’s media and learning environments to build key skills for success in school and life, including functional literacy, critical thinking and collaboration, as well as showing them career options in age-appropriate ways.
“Local public media stations and their community partners will play an essential role in pioneering this impactful Learning Neighborhood approach by using and curating public media’s high-quality children’s content as a catalyst for school readiness,” Deb Sanchez, CPB’s Senior Vice President of Education and Children’s Content, said. “By working closely with local organizations, public media can provide engaging learning opportunities – anytime and anywhere – for children and families, especially those living in low-income communities.”
“PBS KIDS believes that the world is full of possibilities and so is every child,” Sara DeWitt, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Children’s Media and Education, PBS, said. “Through their work on the ground and partnerships with local organizations across the country, PBS stations are uniquely positioned to help serve children, parents and caregivers in their communities, ensuring access to invaluable learning resources.”
Arkansas PBS is one of 10 public television stations receiving grants in this cohort, along with Georgia Public Broadcasting, Ball State PBS (Muncie, IN), Nine PBS (St. Louis, MO), WXXI (Rochester, NY), PBS39 (Lehigh Valley, PA), Rhode Island PBS, East Tennessee PBS (Knoxville, TN), KERA (Dallas, TX) and KSPS (Spokane, WA). They join 12 stations who began their “Learning Neighborhood” models in October 2020: Alaska Public Media; Austin PBS; Alabama Public Television; Detroit Public TV; Vegas PBS; Kentucky Educational Television; PBS SoCal (Los Angeles, CA); PBS Wisconsin; WNET (New York, NY); Maryland Public Television; WQED (Pittsburgh, PA); and WFSU (Tallahassee, FL). Additional communities will be added in the coming years.
This effort is part of a five-year grant awarded to CPB and PBS through the U.S. Department of Education’s Ready To Learn Initiative to develop new multiplatform media and engagement tools that introduce children to career and workforce options and help them build everyday literacy skills. The effort will empower and equip parents, caregivers and communities to support children’s learning and growth in these areas through a network of “Learning Neighborhoods,” and conduct efficacy research on the newly produced educational resources.
About Arkansas PBS
Arkansas PBS, Arkansas’s only statewide public media network, enhances lives by providing lifelong learning opportunities for people from all walks of life. Arkansas PBS delivers daily, essential, local, award-winning productions and classic, trusted PBS programs aimed at sharing Arkansas and the world with viewers through multiple digital platforms, including livestreaming at myarpbs.org/watchlive, on-demand services and YouTube TV, and the distinct channels Arkansas PBS, Arkansas PBS Create, Arkansas PBS KIDS, Arkansas PBS WORLD and Arkansas PBS AIRS on SAP. Members with Arkansas PBS Passport have extended on-demand access to a rich library of public television programming. Arkansas PBS depends on the generosity of Arkansans and the State of Arkansas to continue offering quality programming. Additional information is available at myarkansaspbs.org. Arkansas PBS is broadcast on KETS (Little Rock), KEMV (Mountain View), KETG (Arkadelphia), KAFT (Fayetteville), KTEJ (Jonesboro), KETZ (El Dorado) and KETS (Lee Mountain).
About Windgate Foundation
Windgate Foundation was established in 1993 and is a private, family foundation based in Little Rock, Arkansas. Windgate's goal is to advance contemporary craft and strengthen visual arts education in the United States. The foundation also supports children and youth in the State of Arkansas. windgatefoundation.org
The Corporation for Public Broadcasting, 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 1,500 locally managed and operated public television and radio stations nationwide. CPB is also the largest single source of funding for research, technology and program development for public radio, television, and related online services. For more information, visit cpb.org, follow us on Twitter @CPBmedia, Facebook and LinkedIn, and subscribe for email updates.
About PBS KIDS
PBS KIDS believes the world is full of possibilities, and so is every child. As the number one educational media brand for kids, PBS KIDS helps children ages 2-8 learn lessons that last a lifetime. Through television, digital media, and community-based programs, PBS KIDS wants children to see themselves uniquely reflected and celebrated in lovable, diverse characters who serve as positive role models, and to explore their feelings and discover new adventures along the way. Families can watch PBS KIDS anytime on the free PBS KIDS 24/7 channel and the PBS KIDS Video app, available on mobile and connected-TV devices, no subscription required. PBS KIDS’ large collection of mobile apps and pbskids.org provide accessible content, including digital games and streaming video to spark kids’ curiosity. PBS KIDS and local stations across the country support the entire ecosystem in which children learn and grow – including their teachers, parents, and community – providing resources to support children’s learning, anytime and anywhere. For more information, visit pbs.org/pressroom, or follow PBS KIDS on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
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 Elementary and Secondary Education. 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.
The contents of this release were developed under a grant from the Department of Education. However, those contents do not necessarily represent the policy of the Department of Education, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government. The project is funded by a Ready To Learn grant (PR/AWARD No. S295A200004, CFDA No. 84.295A) provided by the Department of Education to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.