Public media stations team up with education department for 'VA TV Classroom'

Published: Apr. 8, 2020 at 3:12 PM EDT
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Four public media TV stations across Virginia are partnering with the Virginia Department of Education to provide classroom instruction over-the-air for students without high-speed internet.

According to Superintendent of Public Instruction James Lane, the department is working with Blue Ridge PBS, VPM, WETA and WHRO Public Media to create what they're calling "VA TV Classroom."

From 1-3 p.m., Monday through Friday, each of those stations will broadcast teacher-led classroom instruction aligned with Virginia's academic standards.

“I would like to thank Blue Ridge PBS, VPM, WETA and WHRO Public Media for providing this resource for students while schools are closed as part of the commonwealth’s strategy to slow the spread of the coronavirus and protect public health,” Lane said. “It is nothing short of amazing that these public media stations were able to create ‘VA TV Classroom’ and schedule its launch within a month of the governor’s initial order to close schools.”

The “VA TV Classroom” on-air schedule will go like this:

• K-3 instruction airs from 1-2 p.m. with Standards of Learning-aligned content provided by WHRO Public Media. “Learn to Grow with WHRO” segments will be 15 minutes in length and led by teachers.

• Grades 7-10 instruction airs from 2-3 p.m. with SOL-aligned content provided by WHRO Public Media focusing on Earth Science and Algebra 1.

• During the week of April 27, “VA TV Classroom” will add a special hour from 3-4 p.m. called “AP Prep Week,” with content provided by Virtual Virginia — in collaboration with WHRO — focusing on a different AP subject each day. The hour will include two 30-minute segments.

“At a time when all of Virginia’s students are out of school, public media is a valuable, trusted resource our communities can rely on to deliver high-quality educational content for all ages. VPM is honored to partner with Virginia’s public television stations and the state Department of Education to give students and their families a way to continue their learning at home,” said Jayme Swain, President of VPM and CEO of the Virginia Foundation for Public Media.

“Blue Ridge PBS is committed to our community and helping our children and families during this unprecedented time,” said Will Anderson, President and CEO of Blue Ridge PBS. “We will continue to use our broadcast and online resources to provide meaningful educational content to Southwest Virginia.”

“VA TV Classroom” will be able to be watched on the following channels:

• WHRO – WHRO World: via antenna 15.2, Cox 107 and Verizon FiOS 460

• VPM – VPM Plus

--- Richmond area: via antenna 57.1, Verizon FiOS 24 and 524 (HD), Comcast 24 & 797 (HD), DIRECTV 57, DISH 57 and 9392 (HD)

--- Charlottesville area: via antenna 41.2, Comcast 265 (HD) and 1146 (HD)

--- Shenandoah Valley: via antenna 51.2, Comcast 9, 798 (HD) and 1042 (HD)

• WETA – WETA PBS Kids: via antenna 26.3, Comcast 266, Cox 801, Verizon FiOS 472 and RCN 38

• Blue Ridge PBS – SWVAPTV: via antenna 15.2, streaming services Blue Ridge Streaming and Project Southwest on YouTube, Citizens Cable 82, Cox 107, Comcast/Xfinity 264 and Lumos 17 (Shentel, Bedford, Covington, Glade Hill, Radford, Rocky Mount, Rustburg and Wytheville: 157)

“I believe that ‘VA TV Classroom’ will make a tremendous difference this spring as schools endeavor to provide continuity of learning for students, especially in communities where online learning is a challenge,” Lane said. “This programming builds on the long-standing partnership between VDOE and public television to support teaching and learning across the state.”