WVIA to Expand Learn at Home Opportunities for Students Beginning on May 4, VIA Public Media will expand its Learn at Home weekday television schedule to present 6 hours of programs that can provide learn-at-home opportunities for students as well as include on air lessons from educators and IU school districts from across WVIA TV’s 22 county viewing area. These changes include the addition of programs airing from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. which have curriculum and additional resources that parents and educators can use for students in grades PreK-3. From 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. VIA will continue to air curriculum-based programming geared toward students in grades 4-12. All of the programs have educational resources that can be found free of charge at wvia.org. In addition to the expansion of on-air programming WVIA is partnering with regional Intermediate Units including BlaST IU, CSIU, LIU, NEIU and Colonial IU to provide on air lessons from educators throughout the 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. time block. This includes Special Needs lessons every Monday in May at noon with Jim Rinehimer, Special Needs Educator & Educational Consultant, BLaST IU and many more. All lessons are coordinated to programming on WVIA TV and are aligned to Pennsylvania State Learning Standards. “WVIA is committed to bridging the equity gap in education during this difficult time. By providing lessons on our TV channel, we can reach thousands of students and families regardless of access to the internet and computers. It is an opportunity to provide content rich lessons with teachers from all around NEPA and provide a much-needed connection between teachers and students.” said Kirsten Smith, Grants & Education Officer at VIA Public Media. “Learn at Home TV offers an awesome opportunity for students across NEPA to see and learn from their teachers,” remarked Alexandra Konsur-Grushinski, NEPA STEM Ecosystem Leader and NEIU 19 STEM Services Coordinator. “Students unable to access the internet or without computing devices now have direct access to high quality educational programming and engaging lessons from our area’s dedicated teachers right through their televisions. It is our sincere hope that students tune in and learn on with their local PBS station.” Dr. Christina Steinbacher-Reed, executive director, BLaST IU states “With the support of the Pennsylvania Department of Education, WVIA, and our member districts, we are making every effort to overcome obstacles and geographic boundaries to provide students and families with educational opportunities in remote learning. Our educational community is working together to develop teacher-directed lessons that will air on WVIA daily for offline instruction efforts. Plus, we have a number of guest readers for Storytime with WVIA which is streamed every weeknight at 7 p.m. This is a true example of the power of community and the ongoing efforts to support learning outside the walls of the classroom.” “These unprecedented times have really brought some unexpected shifts in education. While some of these shifts may be viewed as challenges, I see them as opportunities. As a result of these times, this strong partnership has been created. Now, BLaST Intermediate Unit 17 and its member districts are collaborating with WVIA to think outside-the-box to provide educational opportunities to our students through teacher-led broadcasts, story time with WVIA and Learn at Home opportunities. We are problem-solvers, who are finding creative solutions to reach our students, and I look forward to continuing to serve students in our region” said Rebecca Gibboney, Curriculum and Online Learning Specialist, BLAST IU 17 – Williamsport. Richard Mackrell, Assistant Director of STEM & Innovative Practices, LIU states “As families across the commonwealth make great efforts to ensure their children’s education is maintained, partnerships like those forged between the public-school system, intermediate units, and civic-minded agencies like WVIA are more vital now than ever. I look forward to working alongside these teams in order to ensure all students have the opportunity to learn.” “This is one of the most valuable services VIA can provide during this crisis, and I’m proud to see the enthusiasm and teamwork with which this is all coming together to support the schools and families of Northeastern Pennsylvania and the Central Susquehanna Valley” said Chris Norton, Senior Vice President of VIA Public Media. “Across the state all of the Pennsylvania PBS stations are working with the Pennsylvania Department of Education to serve students as part of the continuity of education plan.” The upcoming schedule and curriculum can currently be found at wvia.org with future weeks’ schedules and resources being posted to the website within the coming days. Information on the other Pennsylvania PBS stations educational outreach initiatives is available at www.learningathomepa.org. WVIA-TV can be found on over-the-air antenna on channel 44 and on all major network providers in Northeast Pennsylvania and the Central Susquehanna Valley. WVIA carries PBS Kids programming all day on its second channel 44.2, corresponding educational resources for PBS Kids programming can also be found at wvia.org. This expansion of the Learn at Home initiative is the latest in a series of initiatives launched by VIA in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Previously announced initiatives include the Look for the Helpers series which highlights the good deeds of those in our region, the virtual Town Hall, Keystone Edition: Corona Crisis, additional news and updates on WVIA Radio, Nightly Storytime with VIA on WVIA’s social channels, opening up the entire WVIA original documentary catalog for free online at wvia.org as well as VIA’s partnership with the 6 other Pennsylvania Public Media stations as well as the Pennsylvania Department of Education on the Learning at Home initiative.