JACKSONVILLE – As many schools and districts across Florida shift to online and at-home learning in an effort to lessen the spread of COVID-19, WJCT Public Media, in partnership with public media organizations across the state, has launched a new, weekday television schedule of educational programs aligned with state standards. The new programming began on Monday on channel 7.1 (Comcast 8 and 440).
WJCT will also offer a suite of free digital learning resources accessible from home. The service has been developed over the past two weeks in consultation with educators, and shared with Clay, St. Johns and Duval county public schools.
“These school closures bring challenges for parents and teachers in keeping students engaged and learning,” says WJCT President and CEO, David McGowan.
“We are really pleased to be able to create this service and to restructure our educational offerings in ways that make them most useful to educators, parents, and children as we all confront schools being closed. As Jacksonville’s public media organization, we have education in our DNA, so this is a natural way for us to help make a bad situation a little bit better.”
WJCT will dedicate its daytime weekday schedule on channel 7.1 (Comcast 8 and
440) to Florida standards-aligned educational programming. The new schedule,
airing from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., follows WJCT’s current block of programming for early learners (Pre-K through third grade) from 6 a.m.-11 a.m., and includes specific blocks of time for high school content (11 a.m.-3 p.m.) and middle school content (3 p.m.-6 p.m.).
These new blocks will cover topics such as English language arts, social studies, science and math. Programs can be incorporated into lesson plans for teachers, while providing parents and caregivers with quality, educational content to supplement their child’s academic studies. More information on the schedule and
available resources can be found at wjct.org/education.
Each week’s program schedule will be shared with teachers across the First Coast,
who can follow up with discussion questions, worksheets or hands-on projects and
experiments when they communicate with their students. Resources will also be
integrated into the Duval County Public Schools’ Parent Academy.
“Duval County Public Schools’ Parent Academy, a free family resource traditionally offering face-to-face classes, has now moved to virtual courses, and soon can add television to our educational offerings,” said Regan Copeland, Parent Academy Supervisor with Duval County Public Schools. “We are thrilled to have this opportunity to partner with WJCT in providing our families with additional
enrichment opportunities as a supplement to our HomeRoom environment.”
This new programming builds upon WJCT’s education-focused initiatives, including the region’s pre-eminent professional development conference for teachers (TEACH, scheduled for Saturday, November 7, 2020) the PBS Kids Writing Contest, and additional resources available to educators and parents, such as:
• Florida PBS LearningMedia: WJCT and PBS have curated free, standards-aligned videos, interactives, lesson plans and more for all Florida educators. Collections include videos, lesson plans and activities, sorted by grade level (Pre-K through high school), subject area and state standard.
• WJCT Kids Connect Newsletter: WJCT’s new weekly e-newsletter provides
engaging educational activities every Monday morning, with fun family
learning ideas from sources such as PBS, The Fred Rogers Company and other
local educational community partners.
• WJCT World: Effective March 30, 2020, the public media WORLD Channel
(WJCT 7.4, Comcast 212) will provide a five-hour At-Home Learning Service for
students in grades 6-12 every weekday. Programs will highlight topics such as
science, history and English language arts.
• Support for Teachers: Through PBS LearningMedia, teachers can access
webinars from PBS master trainers and educators about how to create
engaging and effective distance learning plans.
• WJCT-TV (Comcast 8 and 440): WJCT’s main PBS channel will continue
broadcasting standards-aligned programs like Nova, SciGirls, History
Detectives, American Masters, Breakthrough: The Ideas That Changed The
World and Africa’s Great Civilizations weekdays from 11 a.m. through 6 p.m.
Many public media organizations across the country are providing enhanced
at-home learning resources and revised programming schedules in response to the
widespread school closures which have resulted from the coronavirus pandemic.
More information on those initiatives can be found at pbs.org/education.