Nebraska Public Media Will Support Early Literacy with ‘Ready To Learn’ Grant


For Immediate Release

Nebraska Public Media Will Support Early Literacy with ‘Ready To Learn’ Grant

LINCOLN, Neb. (Nov. 28, 2023) – Nebraska Public Media has been awarded a $150,000 grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) and PBS to extend the reach and impact of PBS KIDS early learning resources to local communities.

“During the next two years, contingent on congressional funding, we will use these grant monies to create ‘Learning Neighborhoods’ that foster a community-wide culture of learning at home, in the neighborhood and within local systems and spaces. PBS stations are uniquely positioned to serve children, parents and caregivers,” said Nebraska Public Media General Manager/CEO Mark Leonard.

In Fremont, Neb., the network is focusing its efforts on multilingual children and families whose first language is Spanish or K’iche’, which is spoken by Guatemalan refugees. Nebraska Public Media will collaborate with local partners Washington Elementary, Keene Memorial Library and the Fremont Family Coalition to create a ‘Learning Neighborhood’ in Fremont. It will be designed to establish connections, build on the community’s strengths and support access to literacy across languages.

“Our work in Fremont is like an incubator, and it will guide our outreach to other Nebraska communities,” said Jessica Mitchell-McCollough, Nebraska Public Media’s director of education. “There is already incredible work being done to support multilingual education in Fremont. Our ‘Learning Neighborhood’ is a community approach that will build on existing efforts.”

The 2020-2025 Ready To Learn Initiative is focused on connecting children’s media and learning environments to build key skills for success in school and life, including functional literacy, critical thinking and collaboration, as well as showing them career options in age-appropriate ways.

“Local public media stations and their community partners play an essential role in pioneering the ‘Learning Neighborhood’ approach by using and curating public media’s high-quality children’s content as a catalyst for school readiness,” said Debra Tica Sanchez, CPB’s Senior Vice President of Educational Media and Learning Experiences.

Nebraska Public Media is one of 19 stations in the third and final cohort developing “Learning Neighborhoods” in the 2020-2025 CPB-PBS Ready To Learn Initiative, bringing the total number of station partners to 41.

The other stations are: Arizona PBS, Buffalo Toronto Public Media, Idaho Public Television, Ideastream Public Media (Cleveland, Ohio), Iowa PBS, KBTC (Tacoma, Wash.), KLRN (San Antonio), PBS Charlotte (N.C.), VPM (Richmond, Va.), WEDU (Tampa, Fla.), WETA and WHUT (Washington, D.C.), WFYI (Indianapolis, Ind.), WIPR (San Juan, Puerto Rico), WOSU (Columbus, Ohio), WPSU (University Park, Pa.), WTCI (Chattanooga, Tenn.) and WUCF (Orlando, Fla.).

The program is part of the CPB-PBS Ready To Learn Initiative, funded by the U.S. Department of Education.

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MEDIA CONTACT: Kim Rogers, 402-660-5521

About Nebraska Public Media

Nebraska Public Media has connected citizens with news, sports, education and entertainment since 1954. Providing global and compelling stories from PBS and NPR, the statewide public media network also produces award-winning local content. Its programs and services reach Nebraskans on television, radio, online, social media and mobile apps. Visit for more information.

About CPB
The Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private, nonprofit corporation authorized by Congress in 1967, is the steward of the federal government’s investment in public broadcasting. It helps support the operations of more than 1,500 locally managed and operated public television and radio stations nationwide. CPB is also the largest single source of funding for research, technology and program development for public radio, television, and related online services. For more information, visit, follow us on Facebook and LinkedIn and subscribe for email updates.

PBS KIDS believes the world is full of possibilities, and so is every child. As the number one educational media brand for kids, PBS KIDS helps children ages 2-8 learn lessons that last a lifetime. Through media and community-based programs, PBS KIDS wants children to see themselves uniquely reflected and celebrated in lovable, diverse characters who serve as positive role models, and to explore their feelings and discover new adventures along the way. Families can stream PBS KIDS for free anytime, no subscription required. A large collection of mobile apps and provide accessible content that spark kids’ curiosity. PBS KIDS and local stations across the country support the entire ecosystem in which children learn and grow – including their teachers and caregivers, parents, and community – providing resources accessible anytime and anywhere. For more information, visit, or follow PBS KIDS on Facebook and Instagram.

About The Ready To Learn Initiative
The Ready To Learn Initiative is a cooperative agreement funded and managed by the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Elementary and Secondary Education. It supports the development of innovative educational television and digital media targeted at preschool and early elementary school children and their families. Its general goal is to promote early learning and school readiness, with a particular interest in reaching low-income children. In addition to creating television and other media products, the program supports activities intended to promote national distribution of the programming, effective educational uses of the programming, community-based outreach, and research on educational effectiveness.