TOLEDO — WGTE Public Media will be working with local summer and afterschool programs throughout Northwest Ohio to address disruptions to learning caused during the COVID-19 pandemic thanks to a partnership between Ohio’s eight PBS stations and the Ohio Department of Education.
Called Ohio Learns 360, this new initiative will provide programs with PBS resources, including standards-based curriculum and materials, virtual field trips, interactive video programs, community events and more, all designed to accelerate student learning and support the state’s most vulnerable learners.
“Ohio’s PBS stations have been wonderful partners in prioritizing additional education opportunities to support Ohio’s students since the beginning of the pandemic,” Interim Superintendent of Public Instruction Stephanie Siddens said. “The Ohio Learns 360 initiative will give families an additional pathway to support student learning beyond the school day.”
Ohio Learns 360, which targets kindergarten through fifth-grade students from underserved communities, kicks off this April and will continue through September 2024. The Ohio Department of Education will provide $5 million in funding through the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER), first authorized by Congress in 2020.
“WGTE Public Media is ecstatic and grateful to be a partner alongside our fellow Ohio public media stations in the Ohio Learns 360 initiative,” said Katie Budas, director of Educational Services. “This initiative helps us further expand our educational reach across the northwest Ohio region to those that need it most. Providing both in-person and virtual resources is important in making sure we are reaching as many families as possible with these new programs.”
Students in out-of-school-time programs will be able to engage in hands-on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) activities with some of their favorite characters, such as Cat in the Hat, or go on a virtual field trip to one of Ohio’s leading science museums. Students at home will also be able to participate in virtual afterschool programs that feature a well-known PBS Kids character. Parents can learn how to support their child’s learning through Parent Power webinars, and families will be able to attend WGTE-hosted community events. The project is being led by Public Media Connect in Dayton and Cincinnati.
“Ohio Learns 360 exemplifies what Ohio public media does best, coming together and using our resources to provide a needed statewide service,” said Kevin Martin, president of Ohio Educational Television Service and Ideastream Public Media. “Our colleagues at Public Media Connect in Dayton/Cincinnati will continue to lead this effort on behalf of all of the Ohio PBS stations, so we can be assured to meet the very high expectations and standards of the Ohio Department of Education, educators and parents.”