© 2022 New England Public Media

FCC public inspection files:

For assistance accessing our public files, please contact hello@nepm.org or call 413-781-2801.
NEPM Header Banner
PBS. NPR. Local Perspective.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

NEPM selected to receive ‘Ready To Learn’ grant to support early literacy and critical thinking skills

New England Public Media to work with CPB, PBS to develop ‘Learning Neighborhood’ plan

Nov. 16, 2022, SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — New England Public Media has been awarded a planning grant to develop a Learning Neighborhood plan to engage local partners and extend the reach and impact of PBS KIDS early learning resources in the community. NEPM will receive $9,969 through the CPB-PBS Ready To Learn Initiative, funded by the U.S. Department of Education.

“We are excited to be chosen to participate in this initiative that will provide the education staff training and resources to enhance our community engagement efforts,” said Vanessa Pabon, NEPM's senior director of education and community engagement. “We are looking forward to working with the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, PBS and other public media stations on strategies to facilitate family, educator and community workshops that are guided by setting standards for inclusive, anti-racist, anti-bias concepts. My team is excited to identify local partners that will assist in the development of a robust Learning Neighborhood plan that will support families and early learners.”

Members of the NEPM Education team will participate in training, research, and development to become well-versed in the community engagement model of the RTL Learning Neighborhoods. Training will focus on the RTL project learning priorities, including functional literacy, critical and computational thinking, executive function and career readiness, with an emphasis on intergenerational learning and accessibility. The NEPM team will develop a stronger understanding of the RTL audience: children ages 2 to 8 from low-income communities, along with their families, caregivers, and educators. They will also complete training in inclusive and equitable facilitation to support RTL’s commitment of diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility.

“Learning Neighborhoods foster a ‘Learn Together’ theme. Public television stations and local partners leverage public media content, characters, events, and activities to encourage children and adults to learn anytime and anywhere in their neighborhoods and communities," said Debra Tica Sanchez, CPB’s senior vice president of education and children’s content. “The planning process helps stations formalize their connections with community partners to best serve kids and families now and in the future."

"At PBS KIDS our goal is to use the power of media to help children learn lessons that last a lifetime,” said Sara DeWitt, senior vice president and general manager of PBS KIDS. “These planning grants will help stations create partnerships with local organizations across the country, providing access to high-impact learning resources for children, parents, and caregivers in their communities.”

This effort is part of a five-year grant awarded to CPB and PBS through the U.S. Department of Education’s Ready To Learn Initiative to develop new multi-platform media and engagement tools that introduce children to career and workforce options and help them build everyday literacy skills. The effort will empower and equip parents, caregivers, and communities to support children’s learning and growth in these areas through a network of “Learning Neighborhoods,” and conduct efficacy research on the newly produced educational resources.


New England Public Media is a community-supported, independent non-profit organization based in Springfield, Massachusetts. Through a deep commitment to independent local journalism, trusted educational content, inspired cultural offerings, and civic engagement, NEPM endeavors to share new voices and inspire new conversations. It provides audiences with a broad array of local and national programs across all media — TV, radio, online, and mobile, including PBS and NPR programs as well as locally produced series, podcasts and specials. Its four digital TV channels, and two radio networks present news, jazz and classical music, documentaries, talk, drama, plus cultural and educational programming.

For more information, visit nepm.org or follow NEPM on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.


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 cpb.org, or follow on Twitter @CPBmedia, 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 television, digital 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 watch PBS KIDS anytime on the free PBS KIDS 24/7 channel and the PBS KIDS Video app, available on mobile and connected-TV devices, no subscription required. PBS KIDS’ large collection of mobile apps and pbskids.org provide accessible content, including digital games and streaming video to spark kids’ curiosity. PBS KIDS and local stations across the country support the entire ecosystem in which children learn and grow – including their teachers, parents, and community – providing resources to support children’s learning, anytime and anywhere. For more information, visit pbs.org/pressroom, or follow PBS KIDS on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.


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.


Vanessa Cerillo
Senior Director, Marketing, Communications and Events
New England Public Media

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.