CARBON HILL — A group of students at Carbon Hill Elementary School continues to benefit from a grant program aimed at literacy and STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) …
CARBON HILL — A group of students at Carbon Hill Elementary School continues to benefit from a grant program aimed at literacy and STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) engagement.
Since last fall Alabama Public Television has been visiting the school on a quarterly basis to provide fun activities for participating students, thanks to funding provided through a Ready to Learn Initiative.
Eight children participated in the PBS KIDS Ready Jet Go! Family and Community Learning workshop at the school on Tuesday evening, where they built balloon rockets with assistance from their families.
The children have already built larger rockets, and they will participate in two more Ready Jet Go! sessions this year that teach students the engineering design process.
Rachel Landers, APT's family engagement specialist, said the program is designed to provide family-oriented activities that students and their loved ones can complete during PBS KIDS' sessions at the school and at home.
"We have been able to work with Carbon Hill and Oakman for the past year, and it has been so fun. A lot of our families have been a part of this program since the beginning," Landers said.
Each Family and Community Learning workshop is held after school and begins with a meal. Then students learn through play using crafts and digital devices equipped with PBS KIDS apps.
APT has also hosted summer camps at Carbon Hill Elementary and Oakman Middle School. This past summer, students at both schools painted old Daily Mountain Eagle newspaper boxes to turn into community libraries, and Carbon Hill Elementary students participated in a "Cat In the Hat Knows a Lot About That" Family and Community Learning workshop.
In a video on the Alabama Public Television IQ Learning Network Facebook page, Lisa German spoke of her grandchild's participation in the program at Carbon Hill.
"Honestly I did not expect all the projects and all the crafts," she said. "I was surprised that there was so much entertainment for the kids because they were thoroughly entertained. I don't think it even dawned on them that they were learning something. It was a good experience."
Landers said grant funding for APT's program at Carbon Hill and Oakman will run out next year, but they are looking for ways to sustain their efforts in the communities.
Alabama Public Television (APT) was awarded a Ready to Learn Television Grant last November for $175,000 through the U.S. Department of Education's Ready to Learn Initiative. Before funds were distributed to APT, they were originally awarded to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) and Public Broadcasting Service (PBS).
The Walker County Board of Education, Walker Area Community Foundation and the Walker County Arts Alliance are among a list of several community partners.
"The schools did not receive any funding directly, but rather, services and some goods. Through the grant APT is providing materials, professional development for educators, curriculum, etc., for family camps and camps for kids," Mike McKenzie, APT director of programming and public information, said in an emailed statement to the Daily Mountain Eagle. "The goal is to develop inquiry skills and spark curiosity in children ages 2-8 in Oakman and Carbon Hill through engaging science and literacy content, personalized and adaptive learning, and community engagement."