Arkansas PBS and state education officials are collaborating on a new program to boost summer learning for younger students challenged by the COVID-19 pandemic, a six week program of lessons led by Arkansas teachers beginning Tuesday, July 6.
The teaching sessions, called “Rise and Shine,” will air from 8 to 11:30 a.m. weekdays for students from kindergarten to fifth grade, featuring key subjects like literacy, mathematics, science and social studies.
“During the pandemic, when many students were learning from home, our partnership with Arkansas PBS produced some fantastic educational content that aired on PBS stations, giving students around the state access to high-quality lessons,” Stacy Smith, deputy commissioner for ADE’s Division of Elementary and Secondary Education, said in a news release.
“Rise and Shine” will consist of more than 90 hours of high-quality programming – much of it locally produced – and resources available at no cost to families. The over-the-air broadcast of “Rise and Shine” was conceived to fill a void for students who do not have internet access outside of school. The Arkansas educational network is broadcasting the lessons for those students even as it is expanding television transmitter coverage to almost all pockets of the state with money provided through the Arkansas CARES Act Steering Committee.
In addition to broadcast TV, the programming will be available on-demand through streaming devices, the Engage Arkansas PBS app and on the Arkansas PBS website. A “robust community outreach component” is underway to spread the word, officials said.
“We are thrilled to collaborate with the Arkansas Department of Education and partners across the state to bring an essential summer learning experience to our K-5 students,” Arkansas PBS Education Director Sajni Kumpuris said in a public statement. “Our organization is committed to enriching and empowering Arkansans through relevant, daily content, and this partnership allows us to bring more value to education and provide a new avenue for teachers to connect with students during the summer months.”
Program designers are working within the Arkansas Academic Standards framework set by the state’s Division of Elementary and Secondary Education, with Arkansas teachers and partners statewide, including winners of Arkansas Teacher of the Year recognition. Students will view segments produced with the Arkansas Game & Fish Commission, the Little Rock Zoo, the Museum of Discovery, Botanical Gardens of the Ozarks, the Museum of Native American History, the Central Arkansas Library System, Mid-America Science Museum, the Scott Family Amazeum, the Arkansas Travelers baseball club and many others.
“We are proud to be partnering with Arkansas PBS and other great community partners to do what we can to help our students reinforce and retain academic milestones during the summer,” Johnny Key, commissioner of education and cabinet secretary at the Arkansas Department of Education, said in the release. “This summer comes at a special time for educators, which is why this community-backed, all-inclusive education initiative is just the type of summer program our state needs to promote student learning during such a critical time.”