Los Angeles Unified ‘At-Home Learning’ Partnership With California PBS Stations Now Has Over 30 States with Local Stations Using the Model

Burbank, Calif.  – The Los Angeles Unified School District, along with PBS SoCal and KCET, as well as KLCS-TV (Los Angeles Unified’s television station) announced that their AT-HOME LEARNING initiative is attracting large audiences, and is being used widely by many PBS stations to develop their own local services for their communities. Under the joint leadership of PBS SoCal and KCET in the greater Los Angeles area and KQED in the San Francisco Bay area, a daily educational TV schedule with original short-form content and corresponding state standards curriculum-approved resources were created in collaboration with LAUSD. To date, the free program and its programming schedules and online resources are being used by over 70 stations in 30 states nationwide to help develop their local at-home learning services for children, youth, teacher, families and school districts across the United States.

The partnership was created when Los Angeles Unified Superintendent Austin Beutner reached out to PBS CEO Paula Kerger and PBS SoCal’s President and CEO Andrew Russell to help create an educational programming service to offer students and their families during school closures caused by the coronavirus. Educational and instructional experts from Los Angeles Unified worked with programming and content experts from the PBS stations to create the offering. It began airing on KLCS, KCET and PBS SoCal on March 16.

In Southern California there has been a marked response from television viewers. Over 200,000 daily viewers (140,000 homes) in the region have been reported as tuning in to the newly redesigned daytime broadcast schedules on PBS SoCal, KLCS-TV and KCET. Public television stations from around California are also collaborating to ensure all California students have access to the AT-HOME LEARNING programming and resources. Since the program started on March 16, KQED in the greater San Francisco Bay area, KPBS in the San Diego area, and KVIE in the Sacramento area began broadcasting 12-hour weekday educational programming in blocks by grade bands. The California PBS stations are working with school districts and county offices of education throughout the state to increase the reach of the program.

“We asked PBS to work with us to create a service to help our students continue to learn, even if they lack access to the internet,” Superintendent Beutner said. “This also presents an opportunity for families to watch, learn together and find a few minutes of escape from the difficulties they are facing.”

“Our goal here is for all students to have access to free educational resources,” Russell said.  “It’s encouraging to see that our audiences are responding and using our service — the numbers show increased viewership for the stations involved, and that caregivers and children are responding positively to our shift in programming. In our first week of the program, PBS SoCal and KCET saw 34% and 67% ratings increases respectively with our new schedule. We hope that viewers will continue connecting with our content to continue their learning in these unprecedented times.”

KCET and PBS SoCal produced 130 educational spots (some in Spanish) for students and parents that bookend each educational episode programmed on KCET and KLCS. Additionally, weekly newsletters are being distributed to parents and teachers in Southern California, and user-friendly, bilingual programming grids (available at athomelearning.org) are offered to viewers to see grades and subjects that accompany each programming schedule.

To help with At-Home Learning efforts across California, a variety of resources for teachers, caregivers and students have been organized and developed by careful collaboration with Los Angeles Unified.  PBS SoCal, KCET, and KQED have created toolkits for California PBS stations, as well as for other PBS stations adopting the model, to help make it easier to share information with their local students and families.

Los Angeles Unified serves almost 700,000 students in diverse communities spread across more than 700 square miles. 80% of students in Los Angeles Unified are from families who live in poverty and many students do not have access to the internet at home.

As Southern California’s flagship PBS organizations, PBS SoCal and KCET reach 19 million people in the area. Starting March 16, the regional public media stations – PBS SoCal, KCET, and KLCS — unveiled a curated schedule of programming and digital resources that are broadcast locally as follows:

●        PBS SoCal (Daytime programming from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. Pre-K through 3rd grade)

●        KLCS (Daytime Programming would highlight content for Pre-K through 12th grade from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. with additional educational programming in the evenings)

●        KCET (Daytime programming from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. 9th grade through 12th grade)

●        Additional educational programming on PBS SoCal and KLCS digital channels

The public media organizations collaborated with Los Angeles Unified to create a schedule by working with curriculum leads in subjects such as math and history and developed new online resources adhering to the state curriculum. Examples of programming on the newly redesigned schedules include the Emmy® Award-winning series NOVA and programming from notable documentary filmmaker Ken Burns and several PBS KIDS series including PEG + CAT and CYBERCHASE.

PBS SoCal and KCET developed a robust local At-Home Learning digital hub with content targeted to parents and students, offering a variety of resources for them to deepen their knowledge on subjects covered in the broadcast programming. Additional editorial content around AT-HOME LEARNING will continue to roll out over the coming weeks.

PBS content also streams on pbssocal.org and kcet.org, and on the PBS KIDS app and the PBS Video app (available on Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Samsung Smart TV, the App Store and Google Play), as well as on YouTube.

For updates, follow @AustinLASchools on Twitter/Instagram/Facebook, @LASchools on Twitter/Instagram, @LosAngelesSchools on Facebook, @PBSSoCal and @KCET on social media.


PBS SoCal and KCET are both part of the donor-supported community institution, the Public Media Group of Southern California, which was formed by the merger of PBS SoCal and KCETLink Media Group.  PBS SoCal is the flagship PBS station for 19 million diverse people across California and delivers content and experiences that inspire, inform and entertain – over the air, online, in the community and in the classroom. PBS SoCal offers the full slate of beloved PBS programs including MASTERPIECE, NOVA, PBS NewsHour, FRONTLINE, and a broad library of documentary films including works from Ken Burns; as well as educational content including PBS KIDS programs including DANIEL TIGER’S NEIGHBORHOOD and CURIOUS GEORGE. Programs are accessible for free through four broadcast channels, and available for streaming at pbssocal.org, on the PBS mobile apps, and via connected TV services Android TV, Roku, Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV. 

KCET is on-air, online and in the community, and plays a vital role in the cultural and educational enrichment of Southern and Central California. KCET offers a wide range of award-winning local programming as well as the finest public television programs from around the world. Throughout its 54-year history, KCET has won hundreds of major awards for its local and regional news and public affairs programming, its national drama and documentary productions, its quality educational family and children’s programs, its outreach and community services and its website, kcet.org. For additional information about KCET productions, web-exclusive content, programming schedules and community events, please visit kcet.org. Select original programming from KCET is also available for streaming on Apple TV, YouTube, Amazon and Roku platforms. For more information please visit kcet.org/apps.

About KQED
KQED is a San Francisco-based nonprofit, public media station and PBS and NPR member station. KQED serves educators and students nationwide by providing free, high-quality resources that strengthen media literacy skills, empower youth voice and encourage civil discourse. As a nonprofit and a leader in media innovation, KQED provides standards-aligned classroom content and professional development courses that educators can trust. The KQED education team is comprised of educators and experienced media professionals with a passion for equity and access in education. kqed.org