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Listen Tuesdays at 6:45 and 8:45 a.m. on 90.5 WKAR-FMAccording to the Kids Count report of April 2018, 56% of third graders in Michigan are not proficient in English Language Arts. At the same time, some new public school teachers in Michigan are leaving the classroom because they do not earn enough money for a decent living. Virtual and charter schools are on the rise in Michigan. And in some communities there are breakthroughs in raising better readers.Covering education in Michigan is complex, but WKAR is committed to reporting on the problems, searching for solutions, and holding leaders accountable.Listen for Making The Grade in Michigan with WKAR education reporter Kevin Lavery every Tuesday at 6:45 and 8:45 a.m. on 90.5 WKAR-FM's Morning Edition.

WKAR's Education Director Dedicated To Linking Families And Resources

Robin Pizzo, WKAR Director of Education
Reginald Hardwick
Robin Pizzo, WKAR Director of Education

WKAR's commitment to helping children learn in Michigan includes the addition of Robin Pizzo, our Director of Education. She talked with WKAR's Reginald Hardwick about her background and mission here at WKAR.

During the week of April 16, 2018, we told you about WKAR's new commitment to reporting on education in Michigan. Especially, how schools are trying to turn around literacy rates.

Meet Robin at Greater Lansing Baby Fair - April 22, 11am-4pm at the Lansing Center

Our commitment goes further than that. In 2017, we gifted every kindergartner in the Lansing School district with PBS KIDS Playtime Pads… digital tablets specially designed with interactive programs to help young children learn math. 

And this year, WKAR added Robin Pizzo as our Director of Education.

Pizzo: I was a Lansing school district teacher for over ten years. I also taught at the post-secondary level at Davenport University.  And was an administrator at Lansing Community College working with families and children to help support them, get through their educational programs. 

Hardwick: What is your role here at WKAR?

Pizzo: My role is Director of Education. The goal of that role and my major responsibilities really is about pushing education throughout the community. And really focusing on expanding our educational framework here. We do that in several ways. I make sure that we're supporting parents and children in the education community with all of our resources, being able to access those resources and learning tools as well as provide workshops. And also convening partnerships among the education community to move children and families forward when it comes to their educational goals.

Hardwick: What is the importance of having a station like WKAR in East Lansing so involved?

Pizzo: The most important thing about WKAR is that we are the number one trusted brand for educational content. Our community looks to WKAR for quality programming that really helps to dive deep into issues surrounding our community and our state as well as in support of our families. We are in over 90 percent of all households. As families turn to us and look to us for resources and support, we really want to be a partner and an advocate for what they need to continue to help their children achieve at the highest level they can achieve.

Hardwick: What drove you to be in the education business?

Pizzo: I have always loved school! I've always loved school! And I used to tell my students that all the time. I've had a joy and a love affair with learning since I could first begin to learn! I've learned reading and just being able to communicate and connect with people that are new and diverse and varied. It's always been a passion of mine. Education just wooed me. I came here in law school in Michigan State and I started substitute teaching and fell in love with learning all over again and being able to see young people just grow and expand and fall in love with learning also. 

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