As schools and districts across Montana suspend classes to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, MontanaPBS and the Montana Office of Public Instruction have announced an ambitious plan to support home learning for students.
Beginning Monday, a new weekday television schedule will debut, including educational programs aligned to state public education standards that complement a suite of free digital learning resources available from home.
“These school closures bring unique challenges for teachers, parents and caregivers in how to keep Montana kids engaged and learning,” MontanaPBS General Manager Aaron Pruitt said. “As our state’s public television service and as a hub for digital learning resources, MontanaPBS can play a critical role in helping create a learning environment with trusted and quality resources outside of the classroom and at home.”
Beginning Monday, March 30, MontanaPBS will dedicate its daytime weekday schedule to Montana state standards-aligned educational programming provided by MontanaPBS and the Office of Public Instruction.
The new 6:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. weekday schedule includes specific blocks of time for pre-K through eighth grade levels, covering English, language arts, social studies, science and math. MontanaPBS’ regular primetime schedule will not be affected by this change.
“During these unprecedented circumstances, teachers are continuing to teach, and students are continuing to learn through combination of digital and non-digital distance study,” said Superintendent of Public Instruction Elsie Arntzen. “This can present challenges for ensuring equitable delivery of education services. The new daily TV programming will help bridge this divide and provide additional opportunities for equitable access to education.”
As part of this unique collaboration between MontanaPBS and the Office of Public Instruction, MontanaPBS curated corresponding free digital content for at-home learning and support for teachers navigating this new learning landscape. Aligned to the same Montana content standards and topic areas as the broadcast service, MontanaPBS is creating and sharing the following free resources for teachers here:
- Educational TV schedule: MontanaPBS is broadcasting standards-aligned programs like “Nova,” “SciGirls,” “History Detectives,” “American Masters” and MontanaPBS programs that feature Montana History and Indian education content such as “Indian Relay” and “Montana Mosaics” weekdays from 6 a.m. through 6 p.m. Daily schedule here.
- Digital Media Collections: MontanaPBS is providing resource collections on PBS LearningMedia that correspond with our TV broadcast schedule. Collections include curated media and lessons sorted by grade level and subject area.
- Support for Teachers: MontanaPBS offers live webinars for teachers on how to start using these learning platforms. PBS LearningMedia webinars are offered weekly. A schedule can be found on our website.
- Curated Tips and Tools for Teachers: MontanaPBS published a webpage for teachers that points to articles and resources created or vetted by the MontanaPBS Education team, other public media organizations and other trusted education partners.
- Unplugged Learning Activities for Families: MontanaPBS published a webpage for parents with learning menus for K-12 students to be used for home learning. All of the learning menus feature activities that do not require technology or an internet connection.
For more about MontanaPBS Learn at Home resources, visit https://www.montanapbs.org/education/distance-learning/. Educators looking for support in implementing distance learning using the Learn at Home programming schedule can contact the MontanaPBS Education staff.
MontanaPBS is available to families via free, over-the-air broadcast, in the state’s larger cities and on translators in smaller communities, as well as on cable TV, Dish, Direct TV and the recently launched livestreaming service, YouTube TV. To watch MontanaPBS in your community, visit our Broadcast Area page.
About Montana’s Largest Classroom – MontanaPBS connects the residents of this state to each other, to their country and their world through broadcast television, the internet and community outreach projects. We are an electronic town square that encourages the sharing of ideas, opinions and information. MontanaPBS chooses programs based on community impact and engages in services that echo the independent spirit and neighborly concern that is the hallmark of our state.
MontanaPBS (KUFM-TV in Missoula, KUSM-TV in Bozeman, KUKL-TV in Kalispell, KBGS-TV in Billings, KUGF-TV in Great Falls and KUHM-TV in Helena) is a service of UM and Montana State University. For more information, visit http://www.montanapbs.org.