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A child's learning potential is multiplied when family engagement is at the core of educational outreach efforts for students and the classroom.

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A child's learning potential is multiplied when family engagement is at the core of educational outreach efforts

Learning doesn’t just happen inside the classroom, and Louisiana Public Broadcasting (LPB) is working to ensure family engagement plays a vital role in students’ education.

LPB is Louisiana’s largest classroom over the air, on every device, in schools, and in the community. LPB’s Educational Services Department is committed to providing extensive information, lesson plans, materials, and digital resources to support formal K-12 education statewide.

LPB’s top priority focuses on family engagement in order to extend learning and help build critical skills in students.

“That’s the piece that’s missing from school, and it’s something schools struggle with–to engage families,” said Nancy Tooraen, Educational TV Technology Director at LPB. “I think our PBS content just lends itself beautifully to help families and caregivers learn and play with their children. Sometimes they don’t know how to be involved with their child’s learning. We teach families how to use all the wonderful PBS Kids resources at home and how to extend learning.”

At-home learning activities can reinforce vocabulary, lesson comprehension, STEM activities, engineering design process, science inquiry, and more–all things that are important for children to learn.

“When you start learning at ages 2 through 8, it makes it easier in grades 6, 7, and 8 when you’re tackling these big concepts,” Tooraen said. “Parents don’t understand how easy it is to do this at home.”

LPB holds in-person and virtual training for facilitators, school districts, and family engagement coordinators around the state. Once trained, they go into their local communities and build confdience with parents and caregivers.

Another big part of LPB’s strategy includes key partnerships with organizations that champion teacher and student access to high-quality learning resources. LPB recently renewed its long-term partnership with  Discovery Education, giving learners access to a K-12 learning platform that supports the design and delivery of engaging learning experiences and digital resources in classrooms statewide.

Teacher training and buy-in are two major components that make an edtech initiative a success, and Tooraen said Discovery Education’s work in the state’s districts to train teachers on its learning platform are invaluable–not only due to COVID-related distance learning, but especially in a state that faces frequent learning disruptions due to weather events.

“It’s a big lesson in how important online resources are. It was a godsend to have that,” she said. “Not only was the content there, they were able to deliver to families at home, make assignments, and have kids log in at home.”

 “Louisiana Public Broadcasting has made maintaining and enhancing Louisiana’s role as a national leader in emerging television and educational technologies one the goals of its strategic plan,” said Clarence Copeland, Louisiana Public Broadcasting’s Acting Executive Director. “Our partnership with Discovery Education—which is now closing in on the 20-year mark—is a key component of this effort and we are pleased to continue this valuable relationship.” 

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Laura Ascione

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