California’s public television stations have joined with the state’s county school superintendents to launch a new online service for educators and parents. The collaboration comes at a time in which teachers and families are grappling with the ongoing challenges of virtual learning.
California’s teachers and about 6.2 million students in kindergarten through high school moved to online learning with the pandemic, and that’s when public media stations began talking with educators to help smooth the transition.
“It’s the culmination of lots of collaboration and conversations from our station and KQED and our partner stations across the state of California,” said Jamie Myers, chief operating officer at PBS SoCal.
The California Public Media Education Service launched this week. It’s a joint effort among PBS SoCal, KQED, and several other public television stations and a statewide association of 58 county school superintendents called the County Superintendents Educational Services Association.
PBS and KQED have a long history of providing quality educational programming for kids and strong support for teachers.
“We’re working to coordinate and strengthen the efforts that public media can bring to public schools,” said Robin Mencher, executive director of education at KQED.
Mencher said all materials on the site are thoroughly vetted and aligned with California state educational standards.
The new service is housed on the PBS Learning Media website and accessed free online. The site includes a wide variety of classroom lessons designed for distance learning, and training opportunities to help teachers gain confidence and skills for this new way of teaching.
“There will be resources for educators such as professional development courses, webinars, classroom media lessons that can be used with students, and a digital collection that will be accessible to students and their families,” said San Luis Obispo County Superintendent of Schools Jim Brescia.
Brescia said teachers on the Central Coast have been requesting these types of resources since the move to distance learning.
“What has been requested the most is access to multimedia materials in a curated sense— access to films regarding history, art, music and literature,” said Brescia.
Some resources on the website are geared toward parents and caregivers. For families with limited access to the internet, educational television programming is also available. Myers said the Public Media Education Service provides options for families looking to support their child’s education.
“It may be that you’re looking for supplemental content and resources to connect with your young child while they’re doing distance learning,” Myers said. “Or it could be to look for additional ways to support your child.”
Myers and Mencher said public media stations are working closely with county education offices across the state to get the word out to teachers and parents alike.