Ohio’s eight PBS stations will be working with local summer and afterschool program staff from across the state to help address disruptions to learning caused during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Through a new partnership with the Ohio Department of Education, “Ohio Learns 360” 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,” said Stephanie Siddens, Ohio’s interim superintendent of public instruction. “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 of 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.
“PBS stations have been working with our local communities and school districts to offset learning loss since the earliest days of the pandemic,” said Kitty Lensman, president and CEO of Public Media Connect, which operates CET and ThinkTV in Cincinnati and Dayton. “The lessons learned over the past two years have allowed all of the Ohio stations to come together with ODE and identify best practices. Ohio Learns 360 will benefit students as well as program staff and the parents and families of the students being served.”
Students in out-of-school-time programs will be able to engage in hands-on STEM 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 community events offered by their local PBS station.
“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.”