by Tracey Drury
Buffalo Business First

WNED, which is owned by the nonprofit corporation, is among 20 public television stations around the nation participating in the CPB-PBS Ready To Learn Initiative.

Funding includes $1.5 million from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and $700,000 from the Ready To Learn Initiative through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Department of Education.

The Ready To Learn Initiative addresses school readiness, particularly in low-income communities, to engage and strengthen early learning experiences for children ages 2 through 8 at home, in preschool and in other out-of-school settings. The initiative focuses on multiplatform media and other learning tools such as television programs, interactive games and mobile apps, as well as hands-on activities.

The program enables public television stations to collaborate with community-based educational partners who serve children in school, after school and throughout the summer. It will also provide training to educators on how to use RTL multiplatform content and to parents on how to engage their children in math and literacy activities at home.

Locally, WNED has developed a model to increase math and English proficiency in preschool through third grade in the 14215 zip code, with plans to collaborate with the Buffalo Promise Neighborhood and Read to Succeed Buffalo.

The project includes providing mobile learning iPad labs for schools and partners using the PBS KIDS Lab, a web and applications-based portal that aligns PBS characters with math activities, lessons and games aligned with Common Core Learning Standards for children ages 3 to 8. The project also provides professional development, outreach and a variety of targeted activities for children, parents, caregivers and educators.

Western New York Public Broadcasting Corp. will share in a $2.2 million pool of funding to expand school readiness programs around the country.