Background
In our fifty year history, KSPS has worked to meet the educational and cultural needs of
our community, first as part of Spokane Public Schools and, today, through our educational programming and resources, website and digital media content, and in-person educator workshops and outreach events. Recently, we established a formal education department, hiring an education director, Bukola Breczinski, with a background in culturally-responsive teaching and curriculum development, to curate and create resources for local educators and families—at no cost—to enhance learning opportunities for children in our region. Our mission is to make education more equitable in our most vulnerable communities by removing financial barriers to resources, getting more resources into the hands of educators, caregivers, and children.

Free Curriculum Resources for Educators
PBS LearningMedia is the heart of our education mission. Through this resource website, we offer thousands of free audio and video segments, images, documents, lesson plans, and interactive activities that can support in-home and classroom learning. “As a teacher I know that I can depend on PBS LearningMedia to give me the best resources, lesson plans, and professional development opportunities. Their wonderful collections are aligned with state standards and inspire my teaching,” Paige Somoza, Boise School District teacher of French and History.

KSPS Education has begun hosting district workshops to give educators the opportunity to explore the wealth of resources on PBS LearningMedia and to connect the resources to their classroom curriculum. “KSPS provided workshops for our summer institute and our August professional learning improvement day. Teachers got the chance not only to discover the local and national resources that are available but also to see some innovative ways to use them in the classroom. We are very excited about continuing our partnership with KSPS in the future!” Susan Gerard, Spokane Public Schools Social Studies Coordinator.

Local Educational Programs and Curricular
Our local education media productions are also at the heart of our mission. For over thirty years, we have produced documentaries that chronicle the history of Spokane and the Inland Northwest from the eruption of Mount St. Helens to the women’s suffrage movement in Washington. With support from graduate students from Gonzaga University’s School of Education Masters in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) Program, we have segmented our archive of regional documentaries and created standards-based lesson plans for classroom use. The video and curriculum resources are available for free on PBS LearningMedia as well as our education website. “Working with KSPS to create learning guides for their archive of documentaries helped me to understand how well I should scaffold my curriculum to make the content more accessible for both teachers and students,” Ali Asiri, Gonzaga University School of Education graduate and adjunct professor of Arabic.

As a result of a grant offered by the Washington State Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, we have produced a series of educational videos around the exclusion and incarceration of Japanese Americans in Eastern Washington, providing a local perspective on Japanese incarceration camps that is rarely explored in schools. We have worked with educators from the Central Valley School District to create a civics-centric curriculum that will help students analyze issues of civil liberties, exclusion, and discrimination. The resources will be an Open Education Resource (OER), free for educators to use and shape to their needs.

Another education media production we are proud to bring to our community is Career Explore Northwest. Working with the Spokane Area Workforce Development Council and an education advisory group comprising of leaders from our local school districts and universities, we are producing videos that showcase the many in-demand, living-wage jobs in our region. The videos feature working professionals who share their passion for their work, including the intangibles that are so important to fulfilling careers, such as working environments, a sense of fulfillment, variety, and growth potential. We see Career Explore Northwest as a vital community tool for middle and high school students who are beginning to explore careers and for adult learners looking to enter or re-enter our regional workforce.

Equitable and Accessible Education Resources
To make education more equitable in our region, we know that we must support children and families not only in K-12 but in the very early years. To that end, we are equally committed to providing resources to caregivers, child care providers, and early learning educators that promote language and literacy (KSPS’s Born to Learn & Ready to Learn Initiative), STEM and Science (PBS KIDS Scratch Jr & Plum Landing Explore Outdoors), and Social-Emotional Learning (Daniel Tiger’s Life’s Little Lessons & Sesame Street in Communities). Our array of free PBS KIDS apps also provide fun and engaging learning opportunities for young leaners.

Since our beginning, we have strived to meet the varying needs of our community. We will continue to embark on this goal, doing all we can to make educational resources more accessible, and a quality education more attainable, for the families and educators whom we serve. For inquiries about KSPS education resources, contact our education director, Bukola Breczinski: bbreczinski@ksps.org or 509-443-7748.