Cable in the Classroom (CIC) recruited
about 1 million retired teachers and thousands of human-resources workers to promote home
taping as part of the program's second volunteerism project.
Dubbed "Cable in the Classroom Comes Home," the
program will, for the first time, sponsor a national consumer sweepstakes in an attempt to
further consumer knowledge of the cable-sponsored educational program.
CIC introduced the home-based element a year ago in a step
designed to get even nonparents involved in assisting teachers in the use of
cable-delivered educational programming.
CIC said its research showed that teachers' greatest
frustration is their inability to access much of the 500 hours per week of programming
that cable networks provide. So CIC urged cable operators to find community members, like
grandparents, who will volunteer to tape for classrooms on a regular basis.
CIC program coordinators said the volunteerism angle turned
out to be a popular one.
"It provided a way to help for parents who
couldn't get into the classroom in any other way," said Marianne Morse,
public-relations coordinator for Cox Communications Inc. in Humboldt, Calif.
She introduced the program to rural schools in the
30,000-subscriber system by holding a briefing during in-service training. All teachers
had to do was fill out a video-request form, which Morse picked up from principals and
distributed to PTA members.
Finding influential teachers to promote the process among
peers helped to expand the effort, she added.
Some systems put together local retail partnerships to give
the effort even more visibility.
The Time Warner Cable system in Columbus, Ohio, paired with
a local grocery chain. The retailer purchased ad time that included mentions of CIC
programming. The grocer also donated TV/VCR combos that could be won by parents on behalf
of their children's' schools, said Jean Arthur, manager of community relations
at Time Warner of Ohio.
Nationally, Family Circle magazine will publish ads
for a "Be a Hero" sweepstakes. Like the Columbus local effort, the contest will
offer parents chances to win TVs and VCRs -- donated by QVC -- for local educational
Also, Bantam Doubleday Books for Young Readers will donate
100 sets of educational videos and books. A single grand-prize winner will be featured in
an upcoming "Cable in the Classroom Comes Home" commercial and win each of the
While CIC solicited support from the supermarket industry a
year ago, this year, the group looked to the National Retired Teachers Association, a
division of the American Association of Retired Persons.
"We wanted to go directly to a group with a strong
volunteerism initiative already," explained CIC spokeswoman Carol Vernon.
The NRTA members may even catalog and preview tapes for
In September, other groups -- including the Society for
Human Resources Management and the International Personnel Management Association, a
public-sector organization -- will solicit their members to become home tapers.
Reggie Gitlin, senior vice president of Work/Life Benefits,
one of the participating companies, explained that she agreed to become involved in order
to offer members a way to contribute to schools "in the most satisfying, yet
effortless, way possible."
Participating cable networks and operators will invest $1.7
million in promoting "Cable in the Classroom Comes Home," airing cross-channel
spots that are set to begin rotation this month.
CIC now reaches more than 78,000 schools, comprising about
83 percent of the student population nationwide.