Nebraska Public Media will support early literacy with ‘Ready To Learn’ grant


Nebraska Public Media has been awarded a $150,000 grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) and PBS to extend the reach and impact of PBS KIDS early learning resources to local communities.

“During the next two years, contingent on congressional funding, we will use these grant monies to create ‘Learning Neighborhoods’ that foster a community-wide culture of learning at home, in the neighborhood and within local systems and spaces. PBS stations are uniquely positioned to serve children, parents and caregivers,” said Nebraska Public Media General Manager/CEO Mark Leonard.

In Fremont, the network is focusing its efforts on multilingual children and families whose first language is Spanish or K’iche’, which is spoken by Guatemalan refugees. Nebraska Public Media will collaborate with local partners Washington Elementary, Keene Memorial Library and the Fremont Family Coalition to create a ‘Learning Neighborhood’ in Fremont. It will be designed to establish connections, build on the community’s strengths and support access to literacy across languages.

“Our work in Fremont is like an incubator, and it will guide our outreach to other Nebraska communities,” said Jessica Mitchell-McCollough, Nebraska Public Media’s director of education. “There is already incredible work being done to support multilingual education in Fremont. Our ‘Learning Neighborhood’ is a community approach that will build on existing efforts.”

The 2020-2025 Ready To Learn Initiative is focused on connecting children’s media and learning environments to build key skills for success in school and life, including functional literacy, critical thinking and collaboration, as well as showing them career options in age-appropriate ways. 

“Local public media stations and their community partners play an essential role in pioneering the ‘Learning Neighborhood’ approach by using and curating public media’s high-quality children’s content as a catalyst for school readiness,” said Debra Tica Sanchez, CPB’s Senior Vice President of Educational Media and Learning Experiences.

Nebraska Public Media is one of 19 stations in the third and final cohort developing “Learning Neighborhoods” in the 2020-2025 CPB-PBS Ready To Learn Initiative, bringing the total number of station partners to 41.

The other stations are: Arizona PBS, Buffalo Toronto Public Media, Idaho Public Television, Ideastream Public Media (Cleveland, Ohio), Iowa PBS, KBTC (Tacoma, Wash.), KLRN (San Antonio), PBS Charlotte (N.C.), VPM (Richmond, Va.), WEDU (Tampa, Fla.), WETA and WHUT (Washington, D.C.), WFYI (Indianapolis, Ind.), WIPR (San Juan, Puerto Rico), WOSU (Columbus, Ohio), WPSU (University Park, Pa.), WTCI (Chattanooga, Tenn.) and WUCF (Orlando, Fla.).

The program is part of the CPB-PBS Ready To Learn Initiative, funded by the U.S. Department of Education.