Georgia State master’s student and ATL PBA educational specialist Alita McCalmon creates teacher resources from an award-winning podcast.
by Claire Miller
In the first season of “Buried Truths,” the Peabody Award-winning podcast from Atlanta’s National Public Radio (NPR) station, journalist Hank Klibanoff introduces his listeners to some of the most exasperating stories of injustice, racism and voting rights abuses in the American South.
For Alita McCalmon, a master’s student in the College of Education & Human Development (CEHD) and an educational specialist for ATL PBA, Atlanta’s public broadcasting organization, it’s her job to work with the Georgia Department of Education on lesson plans for middle and high school teachers who wanted to incorporate the first season into their social studies classes.
McCalmon regularly connects with educators and students across Atlanta on projects from WABE, an NPR station in town, and the city’s Public Broadcasting Service station.
“We wanted to reinforce concepts on race relations and civil rights, and it’s my goal is to make sure students retain these concepts,” she said. “We’re in a digital age — why not give them multimodal opportunities and make learning a lot more fun?”
She’s taught classes on podcasting at local schools, marketed educational content to Georgia educators and worked on a project called “Tutor ATL,” which provides free tutoring for students in Atlanta Public Schools. The service offers live tutoring sessions and online resources and has seen a 95 percent satisfaction rate among students who use it.
McCalmon’s background as a classroom teacher and her work in the CEHD’s literacy education master’s program often inform how she approaches projects like Tutor ATL.
“I want all students, regardless of their background, to have access to stellar education. Now that I have some foundational knowledge from Georgia State, I know when I need to provide different resources for different kinds of learning styles,” she said. “I look at my programming through a different set of eyes.”
She’ll graduate in May and hopes to continue creating unique learning opportunities for students across the city.
“I think my reach is broader here than when I was teaching. I like that I have a network of hundreds of thousands of students in Atlanta,” she said. “We have direct connections to the classroom and we do educational programming, workshops and activities that encourage learning in fun and exciting ways.”