Tuesday, September 4, 2001

Programming Acquisition

PeachStar and Georgia Teachers Join Forces

From March until May of 2001, PeachStar piloted our first ever Programming Acquisition Project, a joint effort between PeachStar staff and Georgia teachers to select educational programming that lines up with the state's Quality Core Curriculum. Additionally, selected programming had to meet the specific content needs of Georgia teachers, and offer well-rounded packages of support materials. Over the course of five weekends, different groups of teachers from all over the state came to the GPB facility in Atlanta to evaluate potential program offerings for the coming year; programming was evaluated according to a pre-set rubric that addressed such criteria as the compatibility of the materials with Georgia's curriculum framework and content needs. These evaluations then served as the foundation on which programming selection was made for the upcoming year.

We at PeachStar understand that no one is in a better position to determine the needs of teachers than teachers themselves; we also recognize that the needs of teachers differ vastly from one grade level to the next. That's why we separated the teachers into groups according to grade level (Elementary, Middle, and High). Each group reviewed video series geared toward the students in the specific age group they teach and determined if the programming met the particular needs of their grade level.

In addition to their program reviewing activities, teachers participated in focus groups while they were here at the GPB facility. PeachStar staff elicited feedback from teachers on such topics as the form and function of Pipeline Magazine, the Program Guide, and the PeachStar website. The thoughts teachers offered on these topics played a huge role in shaping the way we approached the design of these resources for the upcoming school year.

Based on the input offered by the more than 300 teachers who worked over the course of the Programming Acquisition Project, PeachStar was able this year to purchase enough quality programming to fill three channels; Channel 410, previously PeachStar's "main" channel, will be devoted entirely to Elementary programming. Channel 420 will cater to the programming needs of Middle and High School students, while Channel 430 will offer Professional Development, post-secondary, and adult learning courses all day every school day!

Now that the bulk of program selection and review is behind us, PeachStar intends to make programming acquisition an ongoing process that continues throughout the year, rather than a once yearly event. By treating acquisition as a continual process rather than a one-time event, we hope to distribute both the workload and the benefits across the school year. We look forward to continuing to draw on the input of the Georgia teachers we serve in making decisions about the kind of programming we should purchase for classroom use.