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Twin Cities PBS station gets largest ever grant to produce new kids' show

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Twin Cities Public Television has received a $36.7 million grant to develop a new educational children's show – which is the largest single grant in TPT's 58-year history, a news release says.

The long-term, five-year grant comes from the Department of Education's Ready to Learn Television program and will be used to create a new animated and live-action television series that will focus on literacy learning for elementary school-aged kids.

"This is 10 times the size of any federal grant we’ve ever seen," Richard Hudson, a semiretired TPT producer, told the Star Tribune. "It’s a big deal."

The 40-episode series, which has a working title of "Superhero School," will have a special focus on underserved and low-income communities, the release says. It will be broadcast in both Spanish and English on public television stations across the United States starting in 2018.

The series will also have additional programing, including games, interactive media, educational assets and community outreach.

The goal of the program, according to TPT's grant proposal, is to improve school readiness and academic achievement in science for children ages 5-8 who are living in low-income homes.

Jim Pagliarini, the president and CEO of TPT, said in a news release the grant is a "testament" to TPT's 30-year history of producing STEM education programs, and is also a "vote of confidence for the future, and for the power of public television to improve the lives and educational readiness of young children of all socioeconomic backgrounds."

TPT is the only local station to earn the 2015-2020 Ready to Learn Television grant, the Star Tribune says.

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