PITTSBURGH – Thanks to a grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), WQED is able to partner with community organizations in the region to expand its Ready To Learn Learning Neighborhoods initiative.


The four partners are in Washington County: Frank Sarris Public Library: Wylandville Elementary School; City Mission; and Blueprints. This five-year cycle project will be funded by a CPB and PBS comprehensive multi-media learning and station engagement initiative, which will connect children’s media and their learning environments to build key skills for success. The grant from CPB provides resources to PBS stations, including WQED, to implement Learning Neighborhood partnerships in the Pittsburgh region.


A fifth partner, the University of Pittsburgh will provide evaluations for the work the partners do together in Washington County. This data will help WQED and its partners help develop programming with the community.


The initiative will result in the development of new content by PBS that helps young children build vital skills to help them succeed in school and life, including functional literacy, critical thinking and collaboration — and will show them career options in age-appropriate ways. It will also help parents, caregivers and communities support children’s learning and growth, with a goal of putting children on a path to success in learning, work and life.


WQED’s partners in Washington County will host Ready To Learn events over the next five years, and will collaborate in the creation of new programs.

“Partnering with WQED for the Ready To Learn grant means expanding our reach with the children that we serve,” said Leah Dietrich Director of Residential Programs at City Mission.  “Through creative and impactful activities, reading centers, interactive tablets, and passive learning centers on our campus and in our residential and community spaces, we will be able to help families that we serve through shelter and through our community programming learn together.  What a wonderful opportunity for our organization.”

WQED will work with local community partners as part of a national network devoted to supporting the early learning needs of children in under-resourced communities. Critical national partners include the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, and Parents As Teachers.


The Education Development Center (EDC) will lead a research effort to assess the success of the five-year initiative, with emphasis on the new content’s ability to build key skills and inspire children to explore the “world of work.” Project research will also provide new insights into the ways in which newer media and intergenerational engagement can support children’s learning. Data analytics will advance the understanding of how games can influence learning gains, and formative studies will drive informed content creation.


About City Mission

For 80 years, City Mission has sheltered, healed, and restored the homeless to independent living—without discrimination. City Mission’s comprehensive program addresses both short-term needs like food and shelter, and long-term needs, including drug and alcohol counseling, mental health and medical treatment, legal assistance, education, and employment training. City Mission’s goal is to help each man, woman, mother with children, or veteran who walks through our doors to become a healthy, productive member of society. Through our Samaritan care center we serve those in the community in need of food and clothing and also touch families through our back to school initiative, bags of love Thanksgiving program, and Santa’s workshop toy distribution.  Our kitchen serves meals 7 days a week to our residents and to the community and our dining room also serves as a meeting space for local 12 step recovery meetings.  With your support, we can help our residents renew their lives.

About Canon-McMillan School District (CMSD)

CMSD is a public school district composed of students who live in Canonsburg, Cecil Township and North Strabane Township in Washington County, Pennsylvania. The district is composed of the following schools: The Canon-McMillan High School, Canonsburg Middle School, Cecil Intermediate School, North Strabane Intermediate School, Borland Manor Elementary, Hills Hendersonville Elementary, Muse Elementary, South Central Elementary and Wylandville Elementary. The vision of the Canon-McMillan School District is to graduate all students with the ethical and effective communication, critical and creative thinking skills necessary for success in an evolving global economy. Visit their website at cmsd.k12.pa.us for more information and follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram linked on that website.

About Blueprints

Blueprints, formerly Community Action Southwest, is a non-profit organization that serves 20,000 residents in Greene County, Washington County, and West Virginia. Our 50 programs act as catalyst to mobilize the resources of the entire community, enabling families and individuals to attain the skills, knowledge, motivations, and opportunities to become self-sufficient.

About Frank Sarris Public Library (FSPL)

Located in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, Frank Sarris Public Library is a proud member of the WAGGIN system which includes all libraries in Washington, Fayette, and Greene Counties. The library provides services and resources for the Borough of Canonsburg, Cecil Township, and North Strabane Township as well as the nine schools comprising the Canon-McMillan School District. “We are incredibly excited to be a RTL Learning Neighborhood partner,” says FSPL Library Director, Peggy Tseng. “It is an amazing opportunity to engage with families within our community using some of their favorite WQED shows.” More information about Frank Sarris Public Library can be found on their website: www.franksarrislibrary.org.

About The University of Pittsburgh

The University of Pittsburgh is a top-ranked, public institution in Pennsylvania and member of the Association of American Universities of leading research universities. With our discoveries, we are recognized as one of the most innovative universities in the world. We invent the paths of the future and forge ahead.




About WQED

WQED was an experiment in educational community-supported television that was the forerunner to PBS. Today, WQED is a multimedia powerhouse that is as much a part of Pittsburgh as the three rivers. WQED is WQED-TV (PBS); WQED World; WQED Create; WQED Showcase; WQED PBS KIDS Channel; Classical WQED-FM 89.3/Pittsburgh; Classical WQEJ-FM 89.7/Johnstown; the Pittsburgh Concert Channel at WQED-HD2 (89.3-2FM) and online at www.wqed.org/fm; local and national television and radio productions; WQED Interactive (www.wqed.org) and WQED Education (www.wqed.org/edu).

About The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB)

A private, nonprofit corporation created by Congress in 1967, CPB 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, and is the largest single source of funding for research, technology, and program development for public radio, television and related online services.

About PBS

PBS, with its over 330 member stations, offers all Americans the opportunity to explore new ideas and new worlds through television and online content. Each month, PBS reaches nearly 100 million people through television and over 28 million people online, inviting them to experience the worlds of science, history, nature and public affairs; to hear diverse viewpoints; and to take front row seats to world-class drama and performances. PBS’ broad array of programs has been consistently honored by the industry’s most coveted award competitions. Teachers of children from pre-K through 12th grade turn to PBS for digital content and services that help bring classroom lessons to life. PBS’ premier children’s TV programming and its website, pbskids.org, are parents’ and teachers’ most trusted partners in inspiring and nurturing curiosity and love of learning in children. More information about PBS is available at www.pbs.org, one of the leading dot-org websites on the Internet, or by following PBS on Twitter, Facebook or through our apps for mobile devices. Specific program information and updates for press are available at pbs.org/pressroom or by following PBS Pressroom on Twitter.

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 to 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. Contact: Michelle Imler mimler@wqed.org The contents of this release were developed under a grant from the Department of Education. However, those contents do not necessarily represent the policy of the Department of Education, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government. The project is funded by a Ready To Learn grant [PR/Award No. S295A200004, CFDA No. 84.295A] provided by the Department of Education to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.