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BRIDGING THE GAP: LPB LAUNCHES ENHANCED DISTANCE LEARNING EDUCATION PLAN FOR STUDENTS AND EDUCATORS

Louisiana Public Broadcasting launches Bridging the Gap, a comprehensive and enhanced distance learning education plan designed to support all K-12 Louisiana educators, students and families in coordination with the Louisiana Department of Education. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the digital divide that exists among Louisiana schools and students, presenting significant challenges to at-home learning. A recent survey by the Louisiana Department of Education showed that more than half of the students in 27 of 69 Louisiana school districts lack access to a school-issued or personal laptop computer or tablet — more than 200,000 students.

Bridging the Gap is intended as a comprehensive combination of free high-quality, educational resources for ALL students in Louisiana, broadcast over-the-air and on digital platforms. Bridge #1 is designed for all Louisiana school districts, private, parochial and homeschool environments with standards linked, grade-level specific digital and broadcast resources. Bridge #2 is designed for Louisiana school districts and schools with limited computer or internet access, featuring broadcast resources and teacher training. The initiative includes Summer Sessions, instructional grade-level math content and standards-linked science and social studies content, Monday through Friday during the month of July, along with teacher and caregiver training on how to use free digital resources to prepare students for a return to school this fall.

"LPB is proud to offer essential educational services to communities across Louisiana every day with at-home learning resources for families and local school districts who need us — and it is something public media is positioned to do best," according to Christina Melton, Deputy Director for LPB. "The Bridging the Gap initiative, as well as the state’s critical news that LPB provides, helps deliver and make accessible this vital information to everyone."

LPB kicked off the initiative with a free Superintendents' LPB Bridging the Gap Distance Learning Informational Webinar to build awareness about the resources. Darwan T. Lazard, Superintendent of Schools with Evangeline Parish School District recognized the value of the resource in his parish and of getting teachers on board, “I am planning to direct our principals and assistant principals to join your next Zoom call,” with agreement from Assistant Superintendent Michael Lombas, “This is incredible! I had no idea LPB had all this offer. Thank you for sharing all these resources with us.”

Bridging the Gap: Summer Sessions:

In an effort to reach all students regardless of access to technology, help make up lost instructional time due to COVID-19 social distancing, and to prepare students for the 2020-2021 school year, LPB is dedicating a portion of its summer, daytime broadcast schedule to educational programming, during the month of July on LPB’s main broadcast channel statewide, and on WYES and WLAE in New Orleans. Monday – Friday from 12:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m., LPB will broadcast Great Minds’ Eureka Math instruction videos for grades K-5 and Illustrative Math instruction videos for grades 6-8 and Algebra. Full details here: Critical Math Lessons Broadcast Schedule. Science and history programming will air from 3:00 - 5:00 p.m. weekdays.

Bridging the Gap: Training for Districts, Educators, Parents and Caregivers:

Intensive virtual trainings teaching best practices in distance learning (broadcast and digital) will be held every week for teachers to learn how to best utilize the PBS LearningMedia and Discovery Education digital media libraries. Both digital libraries have free, distance learning platforms that allow teachers to search for standards-linked content by subject and grade level, with features that allow teachers to import class rosters, and engage and assess student progress. Teachers can work together to build grade level resources that can be shared. LPB can work directly with Louisiana school district representatives to create customized lesson plans according to local standards and goals. Furthermore, LPB is offering free tools like LPB Bright by Text, a free, localized, customized, direct-to-parent texting service that can be used by local school districts to contact parents and caregivers directly via text with local resources, information and age appropriate information.

LPB Resources:

LPB's new Bridging the Gap Initiative

Critical Math Lessons Broadcast Schedule

LPB’s Education Page to access PBS LearningMedia and Discovery Education (lpb.org/education)

LPB’s Learning@Home Page featuring Super Summer Learning at Your Fingertips (lpb.org/athome)

LPB’s Newsletters – (lpb.org/newsletters)

LPB Bright by Text – texting platform for parents of children ages prenatal to 8 years old (lpb.org/BBT)

LPB’s Top 5 Learn @Home Resources weekly in The Advocate and online in the weekly LPB programming newsletter here.

Bridging the Gap is an initiative from Louisiana Public Broadcasting and the Louisiana Educational Television Authority, supported in part by the Louisiana Department of Education and a grant from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana. The Math Video Project is a joint production of Louisiana Public Broadcasting, the Louisiana Department of Education, Illustrative Mathematics, and SchoolKit, made possible by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation.

About LPB

Louisiana Public Broadcasting has been the public television network for the state of Louisiana since 1975 with stations in Alexandria, Baton Rouge, Lafayette, Lake Charles, Monroe and Shreveport. LPB’s mission is to improve the lives of all Louisianans with the highest quality programming that educates, enlightens and entertains and that showcases Louisiana’s unique history, people, places and events reaching audiences over-the-air, on the web, in the home and in the classroom.

Since the start of the COVID-19 crisis, Louisiana citizens have recognized the value of LPB, whether it is LPB's daily reach to communities across our state with critical news and information, at-home learning for families and local school districts, or free, quality entertainment. LPB has recently experienced a 220% increase in web viewing traffic. Since its launch in mid-March, LPB's new Learning@Home page has been used nearly 50,000 times, and PBS's premiere member, on-demand, streaming service, Passport, is up 33% over the last three months, as the Friends of LPB sees a boost in new membership support. Learn more at www.lpb.org.

For more information contact:

Christina Melton

LPB Deputy Director

cmelton@lpb.org

225-921-0251

Nancy Tooraen

LPB Education Manager

ntooraen@lpb.org

225-767-4445