Comcast Grant Funds Mobile Labs, Summer Camps for KBTC in Tacoma
By Chloe Gould
Comcast announced this March that it will provide a $50,000 grant to the Foundation for Tacoma Students through its Gold Medal Recognition Program, part of which will benefit the Ready To Learn efforts of KBTC in Tacoma, WA. The grant recognizes organizations that work to connect families to high-speed Internet and bridge the digital divide.
KBTC has been a champion for Ready To Learn resources, extending its work as a demonstration station into a greater fight to provide educational after-school and summer learning experiences for children and their families. As one of the Foundation’s partners, KBTC will use a portion of the grant to provide mobile learning labs and summer camps to Tacoma students.
In 2011, KBTC began its work in the Hilltop community of Tacoma as a Ready To Learn demonstration station. As a part of its outreach to the low-income community, it worked with several local partners, including the Tacoma Housing Authority and McCarver Elementary School.
In partnership with both the Housing Authority and McCarver, KBTC started a Ready To Learn summer camp where children could play educational math- and reading-based apps and online games, write and perform a play, and report for a mock mini-newspaper.
The Comcast grant will fund three of KBTC’s two-week camps this summer in the east side of Tacoma, for children in kindergarten through grade three. The grant will also give the station two mobile learning labs stocked with iPads—one for the summer camps and another to supplement summer literacy program twice a week in Salishan, a low-income neighborhood in Tacoma.
The bulk of the Comcast grant has gone to the Foundation for Tacoma Students to create an online hub for summer learning opportunities: SummerLearningTacoma.org. The goal of the site is to aggregate information about summer camps, arts and science programs, and summer schools in Tacoma, as well as the best websites for online learning games and programs (which will include PBS KIDS!).
The Tacoma Urban League will also receive part of the grant to provide digital literacy classes for parents over the summer, which will be taught by local students for a small stipend.
Each of these efforts supports the Foundation for Tacoma’s Graduate Tacoma! Initiative, which began in 2010 as a pledge to grow the Tacoma Public School District’s graduation rate from 57 percent to 87 percent by 2020. The graduation rate has grown each year since, reaching 70 percent in 2013.
Chloe Gould is a recent graduate of the University of South Carolina’s School of Journalism, and is working as an intern for the Ready To Learn Program at PBS.