“It’s a resource that can’t be beat.”

Posted on Wed, 11/18

It’s no secret: teachers are heroes. This pandemic has only emphasized that truth.

Julie Hildebrand is a first grade teacher in Austin ISD, a Discovery Education Ambassador and a 2018 PBS Digital Innovator All-Star. Despite her accolades and 14 years of classroom experience, Mrs. Hildebrand notes that this is by far her hardest year.

“When I’m teaching remote learners and on campus learners at the exact same time, and really trying to balance my time between the two, it’s like having a double job. Initially it was really hard. I always thought I was a strong teacher, and I felt like I was constantly failing. I had to really take a big step back and give myself some grace.”

Educators are going through a lot, constantly pivoting, while still doing amazing work. And they need help. For years Mrs. Hildebrand has found support through the integration of Austin PBS programming and PBS LearningMedia into her instruction.

From the research-based educational programming to the wealth of state-aligned online curriculum, many local educators rely on Austin PBS for their weekly lesson planning. And while our educational on-air shows are easily accessible to the entire community, much of our online content requires broadband. An estimated 25% of families in our area lack consistent internet or computers.

Bridging this digital divide during the COVID-19 crisis has became a major focus for Austin PBS. Donations from members supported our station initiative to distribute 80 devices to children and teachers to use at home during summer school and into the new school year. Some of these computers are now in the process of transitioning to several Head Start centers. Austin PBS will then help educators set up their new digital settings, while also scheduling sessions with parents to share why we’re doing this virtual work and how to encourage Smart Screen Time.

Now as Mrs. Hildebrand tackles the most challenging days of her career, she relies even more on the diverse, quality learning content from PBS. And she loves spreading the word to other teachers and parents!

“Austin PBS is by far one of the best resources that educators could possibly use. All of the content that is created is designed specifically with the child in mind, and in growing that child. It’s a resource that can’t be beat.”