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CARES Funding for PBS to Continue Supporting Families and Students

WEST TENNESSEE (January 12) – The Tennessee Department of Education announced $1 million will be awarded to Tennessee’s six PBS stations – West TN PBS, WNPT Nashville, East Tennessee PBS, WCTE Upper Cumberland, WKNO Memphis, and Chattanooga WTCI – for their partnership to engage families and support quality education for students across the state.

“The department is pleased to award the state’s six PBS station $1 million to support the critical role our public television stations have played, especially throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, to engage families and provide access to educational resources and supports,” said Commissioner Penny Schwinn. “We thank the Tennessee PBS stations for their partnership to ensure students can have daily access to Tennessee teachers and classroom lessons.”

In collaboration with Tennessee teachers and districts, the department created an at-home learning series with over 300 instructional classroom video lessons for first- through eighth-grade students airing across all six Tennessee PBS stations since the spring.

“It is an honor to work closely with Tennessee Department of Education on providing teacher created content for an At Home Learning Block in this trying time for our Tennessee families and children. The six PBS stations across the state work together to bring educational content to Tennessee’s children in these important days of virtual learning” said Mike Peery, General Manager and CEO of West TN PBS. “We thank Commissioner Schwinn, Governor Lee, the state senators and representatives that serve the West Tennessee area. In particular, West TN PBS appreciates the work of Representative Johnny Shaw who provides leadership serving on our board. Reaching Jackson and West Tennessee students through classroom content falls directly in our mission. It’s our job. I hope this partnership leads to additional educational outreach to children without broadband coverage, through datacasting, in the near future.  We are working on that,” Peery added.

This additional $1 million is one-time funding from the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund (GEER) through the CARES Act.

This winter, families and students have had the opportunity to utilize the Winter Foundations Bootcamp, which focuses on literacy and math foundational skills for Pre-K through 2nd grade students with additional content on science. These lessons are airing on all six Tennessee PBS stations weekdays from 9 a.m. –11 a.m. CT through the end of January. The schedule and additional information can be found on the department’s website.

Since April, the department has aired academic instructional classroom videos on Tennessee’s PBS stations across the state. The video lessons are also available on the department’s YouTube page and have had more than 100,000 views there since the spring.

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