Building an Educational Bridge Through ‘Chalkboard Ch@t’ | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Building an Educational Bridge Through ‘Chalkboard Ch@t’

Co-hosts Germaine Flood (left) and Tara Wren (right) lead Mississippi Public Broadcasting’s latest podcast, “Chalkboard Ch@t.” Photo courtesy Antonio Mack

Co-hosts Germaine Flood (left) and Tara Wren (right) lead Mississippi Public Broadcasting’s latest podcast, “Chalkboard Ch@t.” Photo courtesy Antonio Mack

Lifelong learners recognized Friday, Nov. 13, as a lucky day after all. On this day Mississippi Public Broadcasting's education department launched its new podcast, "Chalkboard Ch@t," to bring relevant information and resources to parents, guardians, educators, students, education entities and other community stakeholders.

"With COVID changing the way we get information, we wanted to follow the upward trend toward themed podcasts," co-host and MPB education director Tara Y. Wren says. "We're merging the nostalgia of a chalkboard with the current-day idea of a podcast to build a bridge for education.

"The main goal of 'Chalkboard Ch@t' is to have meaningful conversations that direct Mississippians to 'right-now' resources, tools, tips and strategies that will propel them to navigate through the evolving education ecosystem," she adds.

Wren and co-host Germaine Flood plan to discuss a variety of topics associated with educating Mississippi's children and adults alike, including digital learning, health, politics, the digital divide, workforce and career-readiness issues, and other subjects. The podcast will also cover educational concerns of Mississippi students, teachers and parents.

"Chalkboard Ch@t" offers crossover to other MPB departments such as radio and television and will feature both single-issue episodes and themed series to allow for deep dives into topics with lots of thorough discussion and practical details.

"Our primary goals are to help guide our conversations by connecting the dots across all of our departments here at MPB to emerging trends in education," Flood says. "We want to take a holistic approach in providing information on education and learning as a whole and not just in the classroom. The world is our teacher and learning outside of the classroom is as equally important as education that takes place inside of the classroom."
 In addition to reminding listeners about some of the educational programs and services already in place—like MPB Classroom TV, "Ed Said," MBP Kids Club, Parents Are Teachers Too, Teacher Features and more—the dynamic pair will bring in experts like Toni Lewis, a licensed clinical social worker, to speak on the educational challenges faced by children during a pandemic.

Future experts include teacher Sharetia Jones of Irving, Texas, in a "slate session," a special segment where educators from across the U.S. offer tools, tips, and beneficial practices.

MPB invites listeners to submit suggestions, speak out and "join the ch@t" by posting on 
Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, or by sending an email to [email protected]. 
New episodes release each Friday.

Listen to "Chalkboard Ch@t" at Michele D. Baker is a freelance travel writer and blues music fan in Jackson. She has three cats, too many books, and listens to public radio. Visit to learn more.

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