WITF and Harrisburg School District partner on free curriculum for students
Families without Internet Have Access to Curriculum-aligned Television Programming
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
[HARRISBURG, PA] – March 30, 2020 – Today, WITF and the Harrisburg School District announced that they are partnering together to bring free, over-the-air curriculum to students and families who have been tasked with learning at home due to the coronavirus.
WITF will broadcast programming linked to curriculum over both of its channels, WITF and WITFK PBS KIDS 24/7. Its Educational Services department has arduously worked with the Office of Academic Affairs to assess which currently scheduled programs align with the standards and curriculum of the Harrisburg School District.
“We truly appreciate the partnership and support from WITF. Based on recent survey data, over 95% of our students and families have access to “Over-the-Air” educational offerings,” Chris Celmer, Acting Superintendent of Harrisburg School District explained. “Equitable access is critical to a good faith effort to offer a continuity of education using alternative means.”
“PBS KIDS programming on WITF starts with children’s needs, then works with advisors and award-winning producers to develop content that addresses them,” Ron Hetrick, WITF President and CEO explained. “Throughout the process, research ensures that PBS KIDS shows, games and activities are developmentally appropriate, safe and effective learning tools.”
Beginning today, caregivers and parents will have a schedule they will be able to rely on: they will know what time and channel their children should watch to connect with the education they would otherwise have received in the classroom. Educators are working to build schedules for all students in preschool through twelfth grade. From shows like Sesame Street for preschoolers to NOVA for high schoolers, WITF TV offers something educational for all age groups.
WITF Director of Education Debbie Riek elaborated on the ongoing initiative, “Working with the Harrisburg School District, WITF will identify any gaps between current programming and curriculum. If school closures are extended, WITF will attempt to find new programming to address the learning goals of all kindergarten through twelfth grade students.”
“Learning is about exposure, reflection, feedback and application. The District wanted to think differently in the way learning can be provided and ensure all Harrisburg SD students had access,” added Dr. Susan Sneath, Chief Academic Officer for Harrisburg School District. “We’ve partnered with WITF experts to bring this concept to reality.”
WITF’s programming schedule that includes target grades and subjects will be available for anyone to use at witf.org/learningathome. You can find WITF TV and WITFK on your television at the channels below.
WITF is a trusted provider of public media news and programming for approximately 2.3 million citizens in 19 counties of Central Pennsylvania, encouraging children and adults to Live Inspired®. A member station of PBS and NPR, WITF children’s programming includes public television on WITF TV, WITFK PBS KIDS 24/7 channel and the PBS KIDS app. Other services include an English and Spanish website for caregivers of early learners at ready.witf.org, an EITC program Explore in the Classroom, WITF Kids Club and a variety of free family events that bring PBS KIDS Characters, STEAM activities and families together. WITF’s mission is to strengthen our communities by connecting us to each other and to opportunities for lifelong learning. For more information, visit witf.org.
About Harrisburg School District
The Harrisburg School District educates nearly 7,000 students who reside in the city of Harrisburg. Offerings begin with preschool partnerships in collaboration with Capital Area Head Start, and include full-day kindergarten through secondary education. The District includes 11 school sites offering a variety of educational opportunities that support the academic growth and development of our students. The Harrisburg School District is committed to excellence, including high quality teaching and innovative learning that aims to empower ALL students to become strong academic achievers and lifelong learners.