1. Joan Freese
  2. Executive Producer, Ready To Learn
  4. TPT Twin Cities Public Television
  1. Beth Daniels
  2. STEM Content and Education Manager
  4. TPT Twin Cities Public Television
  1. Momo Hayakawa
  2. Education Research and Analytics Associate
  4. TPT Twin Cities Public Television
  1. Emily Jensen
  2. Education Outreach Manager
  4. TPT Twin Cities Public Television
  1. Carol-Lynn Parente
  2. Executive Producer, Hero Elementary Television
  4. TPT Twin Cities Public Television
  1. Dennis Ramirez
  2. Digital Program Manager
  4. TPT Twin Cities Public Television

Hero Elementary


2019 (see original presentation & discussion)

Grades K-6

Funded by a cooperative agreement with the United States Department of Education’s Ready To Learn program, Hero Elementary is an educational media initiative focused on improving school readiness in science and literacy for children in grades K-2 nationwide. The expansive program aims for a broad reach, with special emphasis on Latino communities, English Language Learners, youth with disabilities, and children from low-income households. 

Hero Elementary’s multi-platform universe integrates science and literacy to ignite children’s natural curiosity and broaden their understanding of how the world works and empower them to make a positive difference in their communities. All materials are aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards and Common Core English Language Arts Standards.

The Hero Elementary education program centers on an innovative learning platform featuring thematic “playlists” or collections of educational media assets with embedded learning analytics. Each playlist features:

  • animated childrens television episode;
  • hands-on science activities;
  • digital or analog game;
  • non-fiction e-books;
  • Science Power Notebook where kids create their own content;
  • educator assets; and
  • child enrichment resources for parents/caregivers. 


On TV: The Hero Elementary series (40 half-hour shows featuring 80 11-minute animated stories) follows the Sparks Crew, a team of super students with imperfect powers who are learning to harness the Superpowers of Science to solve problems, help people, and make the world a better place.

Online: The Hero Elementary digital program transforms learning and helps all children succeed in school with more than 30 playlists organized by standards-based science themes. State-of-the-art embedded learning analytics measure student’s progress in 14 digital games, the Science Power Notebook, and other media assets on the playlist platform.

On-The-Ground: All Hero Elementary Informal Education Partners have free access to video, online and print materials, combined with educator training, which aims to narrow the achievement gap between kids from low-income backgrounds and their peers. Our professional development workshops prepare out-of-school-time educators through in-person and digital training, encouraging them to tailor programming to engage the youth in their communities.

As part of a comprehensive, integrated program of formative and summative research, external research partner WestEd is conducting iterative testing and formative review of prototypes and early versions of media assets and related outreach materials and a series of implementations studies to analyze the effectiveness of media properties and outreach model. In addition, WestEd will conduct randomized control trials of the Hero Elementary program in afterschool and summer school settings. 

The Hero Elementary television series is produced with Portfolio Entertainment, based in Toronto. Other partners include: digital learning organization LRNG (at Southern New Hampshire University); WestEd, a nonprofit research, development, and service agency; Capstone Publishing; and a network of informal education programs, serving children in their communities nationwide.

Hero Elementary is piloting its outreach program in 2019 and coming to screens everywhere in 2020. 

This video has had approximately 2,730 visits by 2,022 visitors from 734 unique locations. It has been played 1,602 times.
activity map thumbnail Click to See Activity Worldwide
Map reflects activity with this presentation from the 2019 STEM for All Video Showcase: Innovations in STEM Education website, as well as the STEM For All Multiplex website.
Based on periodically updated Google Analytics data. This is intended to show usage trends but may not capture all activity from every visitor.
Public Discussion
  • Post to the Discussion

    If you have an account, please login before contributing. New visitors may post with email verification.

    For visitors, we require email verification before we will post your comment. When you receive the email click on the verification link and your message will be made visible.



    NOTE: Your email will be kept private and will not be shared with any 3rd parties