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School districts aren’t the only ones creating lesson plans for students barred from their classrooms because of the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak.

Valley PBS is partnering with public television stations in Los Angeles and the Bay Area to provide curriculum that teachers and parents can use for students, and is also looking at ways to put teachers on TV, station officials told GV Wire on Tuesday.

The on-air curriculum will be linked to online lessons using the Common Core standards for English language arts and math, said Allison Hopkins, director of education services for Valley PBS.

She acknowledged that not all families can afford internet service in their homes. But discussions are underway with companies to provide free internet access so students and their families can take advantage of the online lessons, Hopkins said.

Kids Programming Available Over the Air on Ch. 18.2

Valley PBS operates four over-the-air channels, 18.1 through 18.4, of which 18.2 is already designated specifically for kids educational programming, and that likely would not change, she said.

The public television station serves residents throughout most of the San Joaquin Valley, from Merced County to Kern County.

CEO/President Lorenzo Rios

CEO/President Lorenzo Rios said the station is working with the Fresno Teachers Association and other partners to craft the curriculum.

“Our goal is to complement their efforts,” he said.

FTA Backs PBS Efforts

FTA President Manuel Bonilla said he is enthusiastic about the prospects of additional education options for parents to provide their children on Valley PBS and possibly on public access television channels.

The first priority for teachers will be to implement the lesson plans that are being developed by the district, which FTA is weighing in on, Bonilla said. What he’s seen so far is definitely heading in the right direction, he said Tuesday.

Education Is Job One

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting has always made education a top priority, Rios said.

At this time of school closures, public television recognizes that some of the burden of educating kids will be shifted to parents, so providing online curriculum and education shows could help lighten that load, he said.

But some families for whom English is not their primary language may not be able to take full advantage of the education materials, Hopkins acknowledged.

However, much of the curriculum is being translated into Spanish, she said.

And the station will continue to explore providing content in other languages so as to reach as many students and families as possible, Rios said.

‘Reading Corner’ Starts Monday

The station is planning to add a “Reading Corner” starting Monday, with a local teacher reading a story from 7 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Some of those stories could be in Spanish, Hopkins said.

It will be provided in the evening as a kind of “bedtime story” for younger kids, she said.

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