BOSTON (March 19, 2020) – With schools across the state closed in response to the COVID-19 virus, public media outlets WGBH in Boston and WGBY/New England Public Media in Springfield are partnering with the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) to provide distance learning opportunities on broadcast television, ensuring students continue to have access to educational programs regardless of their access to broadband internet.
“The core mission of public broadcasting always has been to support students in every community with the educational resources they need to thrive. That mission is even more important in challenging times,” said Jon Abbott, president and CEO of WGBH. “We know not everyone has access to the internet or cable, which is why we are also going to begin broadcasting educational content for middle and high school students on television, free over the air.” WGBH will leverage its public media TV broadcast channels to reach teachers, students and caregivers across the Commonwealth, including English language learners. Students at home will be able to tune in to the WORLD Channel starting Monday, March 23, 2020 from noon to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday; the programming is being finalized. WORLD is a WGBH 24/7 channel that offers news and documentaries, and is now shifting some of its schedule to meet this urgent need.
In the greater Boston region, WORLD Channel is broadcast over-the-air on channel 2.2, and carried across the state on these cable services: Comcast 956, FIOS 473, RCN 94, Cox 807, Charter 181. In the Springfield area WORLD is broadcast over-the-air on channel 57.2 and on Comcast 209. Spectrum carries it in the Pioneer Valley on 181 and in the Berkshires on 1275. Younger children can tune into WGBH 2 and WGBX 44 for educational programming during the day and WGBH Kids 24/7.
“WGBH’s longstanding work with educators and the station’s experience with children’s programming make their work with DESE a natural partnership,” Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner Jeffrey C. Riley said. “Their willingness to partner with us in providing supplemental educational resources to students and educators during these unprecedented times is admirable.”
The new broadcast programming is in addition to two other resources from WGBH Education:
● PBS LearningMedia, a free online service of thousands of compelling educational resources. Aligned to state standards and contextualized for educational use in grades PreK-12, resources include videos, comprehensive lessons, interactive activities, and support materials across subjects. WGBH co-founded and co-manages PBS LearningMedia with PBS, which has 1.9 million registered users nationally, including 60% of K-12 teachers in Massachusetts.
● The newly launched WGBH Distance Learning Center (wgbh.org/distancelearning), makes these PBS LearningMedia resources more accessible to families, as well as educators, to support students PreK-12. The portal offers curated resources by grade and subject for use by students in remote learning situations, allowing them to self-pace and self-monitor their learning. Educators are also able to assign certain lessons and resources through Google Classroom and the PBS Learning Media assignment features. The broadcast schedule will also be published here as it is completed.
“As a pioneer in educational multimedia, WGBH produces and delivers curriculum-based resources that support parents and teachers in achieving children’s learning goals,” said Seeta Pai, executive director of education at WGBH. “With our expertise in producing educational media for the home and the classroom, combined with our statewide reach, WGBH is uniquely positioned to partner with the state on this initiative.”
To ensure educators get the most out of PBS LearningMedia, WGBH Education will host free, virtual events for educators to acquaint them with the resources, provide professional development on the subject matter and on teaching with technology, and to share general tips and resources for effective distance learning. For more information or to sign up, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
WGBH Boston is America’s preeminent public broadcaster and the largest producer of PBS content for TV and the Web, including Masterpiece, Antiques Roadshow, Frontline, Nova, American Experience, Arthur and more than a dozen other primetime, lifestyle and children’s series. WGBH’s television channels include WGBH 2, WGBX 44, and the digital channels WORLD and Create. WGBH TV productions focusing on the region’s diverse community include Greater Boston, Basic Black and High School Quiz Show. WGBH Radio serves listeners across New England with 89.7 WGBH, Boston’s Local NPR®; 99.5 WCRB Classical Radio Boston; and WCAI, the Cape and Islands NPR® Station. WGBH also is a major source of digital content and programs for public radio through PRX, including The World and Innovation Hub, a leader in educational multimedia with PBS LearningMedia™, providing the nation’s educators with free, curriculum-based digital content, and a pioneer in services that make media accessible to deaf, hard of hearing, blind and visually impaired audiences. WGBH has been recognized with hundreds of honors: Emmys, Peabodys, duPont-Columbia Awards and Oscars. Find more information at wgbh.org.