Education is at the core of WXXI's mission

It’s sometimes surprising how many people overlook the fact that education is at the core of WXXI’s mission: “WXXI is the essential, life-long educational public media resource for the Greater Rochester area.” Many individuals are aware of our PBS Kids schedule, our own education productions, Homework Hotline and Assignment: The World, as well as our engaging PBS series like NOVA and Nature. But our mission of education goes far deeper than programming, as we extended out to the community in many different ways.

Take for instance our work with Mission US. WXXI was awarded a grant to roll out this free online game series. Designed to “revolutionize” the way social studies learning takes place in classrooms and homes, Mission US helps students with different learning styles understand history as outlined in state and national education standards. In support of the series, WXXI hosted a webinar and training workshops to share the games with educators, and show them how to incorporate the series in their own curriculum. Once the teachers brought it back to their students, they were encouraged to share their success stories with WXXI. From those stories WXXI selected its own Mission US Educator of the Year – Gananda Middle School teacher Bob Caulkins. He was recognized for his outstanding efforts in using Mission US to enrich his teaching of American history. Bob is one of 10 finalists who will be named the National Mission US Educator of the Year, and will be recognized at WNET.ORG's Celebration of Teaching & Learning Conference in New York City in March 2011.

Another outreach initiative that exemplifies the incredible work we do in our community is Raising 100,000 Voices. WXXI just kicked off its sixth year of this teen video voice project, in partnership with URMC Department of Psychiatry and community agencies. The project enables 100+ area teens and youth to produce short-form documentaries about the challenges faced by them in transitioning to adulthood. Participants receive digital video cameras to learn videography, and then share their films at a public screening. To view films from past years, click here.

And finally, an educational outreach endeavor that I invite you to take part in -- our Making Stuff Science Café. The event is in conjunction with NOVA’s new four-part series, Making Stuff, which explores the material world we live in. We’ve partnered with the Rochester Museum & Science Center (RMSC) to host this event on Saturday, February 5 from 7 to 9 p.m. at RMSC. You’ll view clips from the series, and participate in a community conversation with the University of Rochester’s scientists Lewis Rothberg and Todd Krauss. The event is free and open to the public. To learn more, and to register visit or call (585) 258-0200.

These are just some snapshots of our recent efforts. WXXI’s Education Outreach Center provides activities and workshops for teachers, parents and caregivers throughout our region. WXXI is the only station to manage a New York State Regional Adult Education Network (RAEN) funded by the State Education Department. Now beginning its seventh year, RAEN provides professional development and technical assistance for adult literacy, family literacy, and workforce development programs in the region. (through 2019) Add to this the 15 hours of safe, commercial-free children’s programming WXXI provides each weekday – and a compelling argument can be made that WXXI is one of our region’s most vital educational resources.