The Ready To Learn (RTL) grant is a competitive grant program administered by the U.S. Department of Education and awarded to public telecommunications organizations, like KET. The purpose for the grant is to develop and distribute educational media programming and a variety of resources for preschool and elementary age children, particularly in low-income communities, to promote school readiness.
RTL launched in 1995 and grants are awarded in five-year cycles. KET was selected to be a participant of the 2015-2020 grant cycle from the beginning with much of the work carried out in Louisville and Eastern Kentucky. However, KET’s vision and goals for the 2015-2020 RTL grant were not limited to targeted areas, but also children, families and educators across Kentucky.
Over the last five years, KET has worked with community partners to ensure that developed content was user friendly. KET’s primary partners were the Ready for K Alliance in Louisville and the Appalachian Renaissance Initiative in Eastern Kentucky. These partnerships expanded into two Community Collaborative for Early Learning and Media (CC-ELM) groups, which consisted of many key community partners that serve low-income and underserved populations in Kentucky. The CC-ELM partners assisted in KET’s work to prepare children for kindergarten and school success by providing high quality resources to children, families and educators.
KET worked to reach and engage families and communities that are under-resourced by connecting and engaging local community agencies that work with families in those areas. KET and its CC-ELM partners took advantage of the vast amount of RTL resources and made them available to educators, family resource centers and out-of-school programs among others. The resources and information were passed on to families through a variety of family engagement events and at professional development opportunities.
The Ready to Learn 2015-2020 grant cycle, which KET was a part of, focused on the creation of science and literacy-based television series and/or related materials:
- The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That!
- Ready Jet Go!
- The Ruff Ruffman Show
- Molly of Denali
- PBS KIDS for Parents Play & Learn app
- Elinor Wonders Why
KET piloted three main resources throughout the grant cycle: Out-of-School resources, Educator and Community Learning Workshops (formerly Playful Learning for Educators), and Family and Community Learning (FCL) Workshops with various community partners. Throughout the course of the 2015-2020 RTL grant, KET conducted 9 out-of-school experiences with 250 kids in attendance, presented 22 ECL sessions granting 706 professional development certificates to educators in RTL communities, and conducted 16 FCL workshop series for 217 families in Louisville and Eastern Kentucky.
The goal of Educator and Community Learning Workshops is to empower educators with the tools, skills, and confidence to bring similar media-rich, play-based, and learner-centered experiences into their own environments and communities. Family and Community Learning Workshops consist of 4 session that engage families, with children ages 3-8, in hands-on learning utilizing PBS KIDS media. The workshops aim to foster collaboration, communication, and fun among family members while supporting grown-ups confidence and comfort to support their children’s learning. PBSKIDS Camps are five day experiences designed for use in after-school programs and other out-of-school settings.
Ready to Learn 2020-2025
There is more work to be done! In October 2020, CPB and PBS KIDS announced approved federal funding from the U.S. Department of Education for year one of the 2020-2025 Ready To Learn grant. KET is again honored and privileged to be a part of this grant. We are excited and looking forward to carrying out this work in Kentucky.