WVIZ/PBS ideastream Education Hosts Early Childhood Symposium

For more information, contact:
Lisa Goss, Communications Specialist, 216/916-6134

October 15, 2015 (Cleveland, OH) – WVIZ/PBS ideastream Education, in collaboration with PNC, will present an Early Childhood Symposium at the Idea Center® at Playhouse Square, Tuesday, October 20 from 9-10 a.m.

Community leaders registered to attend the event include Cleveland Metropolitan School District CEO Eric Gordon and two members from Representative Marcia L. Fudge’s office, District Director John Hairston and Congressional Staff Member Esther Kelsch.

The Early Childhood Symposium will include a welcome from PNC Regional President Paul Clark and a keynote address by Bill Isler, CEO of The Fred Rogers Company. Isler’s speech will concentrate on national best practices and trends in early childhood education, as well as a focus on local family literacy efforts. His presentation will be followed by a panel discussion that will feature conversation on promising Northeast Ohio initiatives. The panel includes Cleveland State Professor Anne Price and ideastream Education Pre-K-16 Outreach & Special Projects Coordinator Laurie Switzer, who both have expertise in early literacy development.

At the symposium, Corporation for Public Broadcasting Vice President Michael Fragale will recognize WVIZ/PBS ideastream's selection as one of the 11 public media stations from across the United States to lead community-based Ready To Learn efforts over the next five years. CPB and PBS received a Ready To Learn grant from the U.S. Department of Education to fund their innovative science and literacy media efforts to support the learning needs of children in low-income communities.

The Early Childhood Symposium extends the conversation started a day earlier at Cleveland Connects: The First 2,000 Days, which kicks off a year of coverage on cleveland.com, in The Plain Dealer, and on 90.3 WCPN and WVIZ/PBS ideastream, focusing on the science, best practices and economics of early childhood education.

Isler is also an American Academy of Pediatrics Partnership for Children Board member. A longtime professional educator and advocate for children, he began his career as a teacher and administrator and then joined the Pennsylvania Department of Education, where he served as Commissioner of Basic Education and Senior Program Advisor for Early Childhood Education. In addition to his leadership role at The Fred Rogers Company, he is first vice president of the Pittsburgh Public Schools and on the advisory council of the Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children’s Media at Saint Vincent College. Isler was named the 2015 Urban Educator of the Year by the Council of the Great City Schools and serves on the Grow Up Great advisory council. 

As a sponsor of both the symposium and Cleveland Connects series, PNC strongly advocates for early learning, including support of programs throughout Northeast Ohio to identify and implement solutions to prepare children for school. Through Grow Up Great, its signature cause that began in 2004, PNC has created a $350 million, multi-year initiative to help prepare children from birth to age 5 for success in school and life.  Locally, PNC has provided approximately $6 million in support of dozens of local kindergarten readiness programs and initiatives, serving more than 100 pre-school classrooms, 30,000 students and 1,600 educators. PNC has collaborated with WVIZ/PBS ideastream Education to provide continued support of education initiatives for three years.

“ideastream Education is committed to working with our partners to help prepare Northeast Ohio’s children by supporting literacy development,” said Linda Williams, Ph.D. and Senior Director, ideastream Education. “Research shows that it’s critical for children’s learning to begin in their earliest days. Enrollment in early childhood education and literacy emphasis in a child’s home and community help determine their future success.”

The symposium will be recorded for broadcast on WVIZ/PBS ideastream.


The Ready To Learn Initiative is a cooperative agreement funded and managed by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Innovation and Improvement. It supports the development of innovative educational television and digital media targeted to 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.

PNC Bank, National Association, is a member of The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. (NYSE: PNC). PNC is one of the largest diversified financial services institutions in the United States, organized around its customers and communities for strong relationships and local delivery of retail and business banking; residential mortgage banking; specialized services for corporations and government entities, including corporate banking, real estate finance and asset-based lending; wealth management and asset management.

ideastream’s mission is to strengthen our communities. ideastream pursues its mission as a multiple media public service organization by providing distinctive, thought-provoking programs and services that enlighten, inspire, educate and entertain.

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