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Leveraging the Family and Community Learning Framework is a Course

Leveraging the Family and Community Learning Framework

Started May 6, 2022

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Full course description


Building upon the family engagement model developed by PBS Kids, CPB and Ready to Learn stations, the WQED Education team will facilitate a hands-on interactive session that encourages station staff to work in collaboration with community partners to create engaging workshops for families that reflect the strengths and needs of the communities they serve.

WQED will explore the framework of the FCL model and how simple modifications can allow stations to customize these experiences to resonate with local families and educators. WQED will share examples of station created FCL's and lessons learned through evaluation. The final session takes place at the Hybrid NETA Conference in September 2022 and presents project updates from participating stations as well as updates in funding, technology, and research outcomes.

Learning Outcomes / Key Insights

  • Participants will become familiar with the Family and Community Learning Model.
  • Using the Family and Community Learning model participants will explore ways to create engaging experiences for families.
  • Participants will be able to create their own Family and Community Engagement Workshops using the presented frameworks.
  • Participants will explore tools to facilitate conversations with community partners. These tools will help to create Family and Community Learning Workshops that on build on strengths and assess current needs.

The final session takes place at the Hybrid NETA Conference in September 2022 and presents project updates from participating stations as well as updates in funding, technology, and research outcomes.


  • Session 1 – May 19th at 2pm ET
  • Session 2 – June 23 at 2pm ET
  • Session 3 – July 28th at 2pm ET
  • Open Forum (optional) – August 18th 2-4pm ET
  • In-Person Session at Hybrid NETA Conference September

Course Facilitators


Gina Masciola

Managing Director of Education, WQED

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Gina Masciola is the Managing Director of Education at WQED. Gina began her career as a classroom teacher/early learning consultant for Head Start. Gina served with the Allegheny Intermediate Unit for 15 years and as an early learning consultant, Gina worked closely with parents and childcare providers. Gina’s classroom experience has been diverse taking her from early intervention classrooms to high school child development programs. Gina holds a B.S. in Child Development and Family Relations from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, and has done post graduate study in Early Childhood Education and Early Intervention at The University of Pittsburgh. She holds a PA instructional certificate in Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten education. Since joining the education team, Gina has managed and created several projects including the WQED Writers Contest, Inquire Within, IQ Smartparent, WQED SmartSchools, IQ Kids Radio, and Musical Kids. Gina has been invited to speak about her work with children and media at both the local and national level. Gina is currently a member of the Remake Learning Council, serving on the AIU3 Head Start Policy Council, Community Champion for The Pittsburgh Study, board member of Crafton Heights Community Pre-school, and Vice-Chairman for the non-profit organization Books Bridge Hope.


Cathy Cook

Director of Education, WQED Multimedia

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Cathy Cook is the Director of Education with WQED Multimedia. Cathy is in charge of training almost 1,000 early childhood professionals each year and, with her leadership, the WQED team has trained over 10,000 educators across the country. In 2013, Cathy joined WQED as an education team member, and quickly took on the role of manager of the Ready to Learn project. Since that time, Cathy has held various positions within Education, including Manager of Digital Early Learner Projects and Director of Education Projects. Prior to WQED, Cathy has worked for Head Start, where she has impacted hundreds of children, families and daycare providers. Cathy’s educational experience has been diverse and has included being a kindergarten and preschool teacher, working with high school students as a remedial teacher, and being a community service liaison for an alternative school. Cathy Cook received her Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education from the Pennsylvania State University.


Denice Pazuchanics

Ready to Learn Project and Manager of Professional Development, WQED

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Denice Pazuchanics has been in public education for over 20 years, as a classroom teacher and school librarian. As a school partner with WQED she participated in various family and community engagement opportunities including afterschool programs, partnerships with the local public library and implantation of a school and community garden. She recently became a full time member of the WQED Education Team with primary responsibilities with the Ready to Learn Project and Manager of Professional Development.


Liz Kostandinu

Manager of the Inquire Within program, WQED

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Liz Kostandinu is the manager of the Inquire Within program at WQED in Pittsburgh. Currently, there are 43 Inquire Within libraries in Southwestern Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Ohio. Prior to joining WQED, Liz was a children’s librarian within the Allegheny County Library Association, focusing on outreach and preschool services. She enjoys working with partners to create programs and experiences that are community-centric, and has a deep love for all things Mr. Rogers. Liz holds a bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education from Duquesne University.


Shelly Schmidt


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Shelly Schmidt has a BSA in Elementary and Early Childhood Education from California University of Pennsylvania, which she obtained in 1995. During her career in education, she has taught in a public school classroom, in a Head Start classroom and has also been a home based visitor for Head Start. Her latest employment has brought her to WQED, where she works in the education department. Since joining WQED five years ago, she has been in charge of many programs such as Wash and Learn, the Family and Community Learning piece and is currently in charge of WQED’s Writers Contest, which encourages children in grades k-3 to submit original stories with illustrations.