Idaho Teacher Paige Somoza Named PBS Digital Innovator All-Star

Idaho Public Television is excited to announce that Paige Somoza, a teacher at Boise’s Riverglen Junior High School, has been selected as part of the inaugural PBS Digital Innovator All-Star Program. Somoza is one of 30 educators from across the country chosen for this honor.

Each of the Digital Innovator All-Stars was selected from a cohort of extraordinary educators who are doing innovative work in their schools and districts, and were previously recognized as part of the PBS Digital Innovator Program, which began in 2013. The PBS Digital Innovator All-Star program expands on this influential work, deepening these educators’ roles as leaders in integrating technology and digital media into the classroom — supporting students’ learning through increasingly important media literacy skills.

Paige Somoza PBS Digital Innovator All Star
PBS Digital Innovator All-Star Paige Somoza

“Paige is a very innovative educator who works hard to bring the world to her classroom,” says IdahoPTV Teacher Ambassador Kari Wardle. “Her students experience virtual field trips to places such as the National World War II Museum in New Orleans, and through the use of virtual reality (VR) have visited places such as Tiananmen Square in China. She spends countless hours attending conferences and researching in order to better her practice and discover new ways to help her students experience a world they would not otherwise know! Not only does Paige provide amazing learning experiences for her students, but she’s also an asset to the teachers in her district and throughout Idaho. She acted as a mentor in helping Marsing Elementary delve into the world of VR, worked numerous hours with PBS to design resources for a virtual classroom series around The Vietnam War with Ken Burns, and partnered with us at IdahoPTV to host an in-person and online screening of the Ken Burns documentary for teachers.”

In partnership with Idaho Public Television, Somoza will spend the 2018-2019 school year deepening engagement among students, families, educators, schools and IdahoPTV education staff. As an exclusive part of the program, Somoza will have access to virtual and in-person events, including the PBS Digital Innovator All-Star Summit, to connect and learn with peers and station representatives from across the country.

The PBS Digital Innovator All-Stars were chosen based on a variety of criteria, including passion for their role as an educator, outcomes from their time as PBS Digital Innovators, connections to their communities and service to under-resourced families.

The full list of the 2018 PBS Digital Innovator All-Stars, their profiles and photographs can be found here.

Last year Somoza was featured in an Idaho Public Television video demonstrating her use of VR and resources from PBS Learning Media in the classroom to enhance her students’ learning experience.

‘Titans’ Screening Celebrates Harry Magnuson’s Legacy in Wallace

Titans screening

Idaho Public Television invites the public to attend a free screening of Titans, the premiere episode of Idaho Experience. The screening will be held Friday, May 11, at 7:30 PM at the Sixth Street Melodrama and Theater in Wallace, Idaho. The event is free and open to the public. Please RSVP here.

About ‘Titans’: There was a time when Joe Albertson had his first grocery store, when mining magnate Harry Magnuson was unsure about his future. Making it big in business means taking risks and putting everything on the line. But is success about more than just making money? These Idaho titans of industry are rags-to-riches stories that some people think they know — but there is more to them than you might think.

“When I set out to make this program, I didn’t know what to expect,” says producer Aaron Kunz. “But sitting down with family members, historians, and friends of Idaho’s titans, I learned that making money was just a small part of who they are. Many of these titans had to give back to Idaho and their community; it was built into their DNA. I hope when you watch this program you’ll see these recognizable names in a whole new way.”

“Engaged communities like Wallace and energetic residents like John Magnuson are two of the reasons this new series, Idaho Experience, is so important for our state,” says producer Jeff Tucker. “Viewers seem hungry to learn about how they fit into our collective past and how they can help shape our future.”

Join Us for STEM Activities in McCall

Kids of all ages are invited to explore science, technology, engineering and math with fun, hands-on STEM projects at the iExploreSTEM Festival.

This afternoon of learning takes place Saturday, April 14, from noon to 4 PM at Mountain Life Church in McCall (14180 Highway 55, McCall, Idaho 83638). The festival is free and open to the public. No registration is needed.

Regional professionals in STEM education will give demonstrations, lead science experiments, and offer many engaging projects for kids to make and take home.

Education staff from Idaho Public Television will be on hand with STEM information and an activity called Balance Magic.

iExploreSTEM logo

For more information visit To find out more about IdahoPTV’s resources for teachers and home-schoolers, follow IdahoPTV Educates on Facebook:

‘The Idaho Debates’ Inform the Vote

Debates logo

In April, Idaho Public Television begins to air The Idaho Debates, featuring primary candidates for Idaho’s statewide and congressional offices. This year’s primary races include governor, lieutenant governor, Congressional District 1, treasurer and superintendent of public instruction.

The following debates have been scheduled to air on IdahoPTV but may change due to candidate participation. Check listings at for times and dates of additional debates. After they air, the debates will also be available for streaming online at

April 17 at 7 PM: Lieutenant Governor, Republican
April 19 at 8:30 PM: Treasurer, Republican
April 22 at 7 PM: Governor, Democrat
April 23 at 8 PM: Governor, Republican
April 27 at 8 PM: Superintendent of Public Instruction, Republican
April 29 at 6:30 PM: Congressional District 1, Republican

The Idaho Debates is a partnership with the Idaho Press Club, Boise State University’s School of Public Service, University of Idaho’s McClure Center, Idaho State University’s School of Political Science, and the League of Women Voters’ Voter Education Fund.

Based upon the 1998 U.S. Supreme Court decision Arkansas vs Forbes, the partners have established “reasonable” and “viewpoint-neutral” criteria for participation in these statewide debates, and will apply those criteria consistently to determine if a candidate is conducting an active campaign. The following letter went out to each candidate.

New ‘Science Trek’ Digital Shorts Explain Chemical Compounds

Idaho Public Television’s original series Science Trek visits with chemist Dr. Christopher Saunders in a series of digital shorts released in March about chemical compounds, mixtures, formulas, and famous chemists.

Each month, Science Trek explores a subject with short videos available on the Science Trek website, on a Facebook page for parents and teachers, on YouTube, and on PBS LearningMedia, a free media site for preK-12 educators.

CompoundsThe following digital shorts are available on these platforms in March:

Compounds: Compounds Basics – The study of elements and compounds is an important part of the science of chemistry. A compound is substance made up of different elements joined together by a chemical bond. Find out more about compounds.

Compounds: Chemistry Basics – Chemistry is the branch of science that deals with matter, the elements that make up everything in the universe and how they interact. Learn more about chemistry.

Compounds: Compounds vs. Mixtures – What is the difference between a compound and a mixture? Understand the differences and why mixtures are important.

Compounds: Compound Formulas – Chemical formulas are the language of chemistry. Learn how chemist read and write the ingredients of a compound.

Compounds: Famous Chemists – The history of chemistry goes back to the beginnings of human activity.  Find out more about some of history’s most famous chemists.

Compounds: Can a Change be Reversed? – A compound is a substance made up of two or more elements.  Sometimes chemists like to separate out the parts of a compound. When is trying to change a compound possible? And when is it not?


About Science Trek

Science Trek continues its 19th season with a new digital content focus. Instead of producing new 30-minute broadcast shows, Joan Cartan-Hansen and the Science Trek team will deliver more online-first content.

“Each month, we explore a scientific subject with digital shorts available on the Science Trek website, on a new Facebook page for parents and teachers, on YouTube, and on PBS Learning Media, a free, online media-on-demand service developed for preK-12 educators,” says Cartan-Hansen. The Science Trek team is even experimenting with 360-degree immersive video production.

Cartan-Hansen says in addition to the video, each month’s topic will have facts, links, reading lists, lesson plans, games and other educational support material all available on the website. The Science Trek website has more than 90 different scientific topics with video and supporting educational material all correlated to Idaho’s science standards and the Common Core science standards.

Production of Science Trek is made possible by support from the Laura Moore Cunningham Foundation, Idaho National Laboratory and the Walmart Foundation.

‘American Creed’ Screening and Discussion Highlight Civility Symposium


During the BSU Civility Symposium (Wednesday, March 14, at Boise State University), Idaho Public Television will present a screening of the hourlong documentary American Creed, followed by a moderated discussion on creating Living Room Conversations aimed at bridging political divides.

The BSU Civility Symposium takes place March 14 in the Student Union Simplot and Hatch Ballrooms from 10:30 AM to 9 PM.

Following a 6 PM networking reception, the screening of American Creed will begin at 7 PM in the Hatch Ballroom. The discussion on Living Room Conversations will follow at 8 PM.

More information on the BSU Civility Symposium is available from the Boise State Center for Idaho History and Politics. City Club of Boise will also hold a forum during the symposium, and their normal fees apply to that session (for more information visit the City Club of Boise). All others panels during the symposium are free.

The BSU Civility Symposium is brought to you by Idaho Public Television, the Idaho Statesman and the Boise State University Center for Idaho History and Politics.

American Creed Writing Contest

Open to students in grades 10-12, the American Creed Writing Contest encourages young writers to view a 10-minute clip of a Living Room Conversation from American Creed and then write a short essay addressing the topic of civility during times of disagreement or intense polarization. Winners will receive Visa gift cards. The deadline to enter is March 20.

To view the video and enter the contest, visit the American Creed Writing Contest page.


About American Creed

In a seemingly fractured nation, what ideals do Americans share in common? To find out, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian David M. Kennedy teams up with former US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice for American Creed, a cross-partisan documentary that showcases stories of activists striving to realize America’s promise across deep divides:

  • Joan Blades, founder of, and Mark Meckler, co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots, form an unexpected bond.
  • Baseball manager Joe Maddon becomes a civic activist after a controversial immigration ordinance is passed in his Pennsylvania coal country hometown.
  • Deidre Prevett, a school principal in Oklahoma, fights for low-income children.
  • US Marine Tegan Griffith advocates for fellow veterans in Wisconsin.
  • Author Junot Diaz makes the case for public institutions like the New Jersey library where he learned to become a writer.
  • Based in Seattle, Eric Liu creates new civic rituals and brings community leaders together across divides.
  • Entrepreneurs Leila Janah and Terrence Davenport create economic opportunity in the Arkansas Delta where the legacy of slavery and sharecropping persists.

American Creed was co-produced by Citizen Film and WTTW – Chicago PBS with major support from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.


Festival Specials Showcase Our Idaho Experience

During Festival 2018 (March 2-18) and continuing through March, Idaho Public Television presents special programs that examine Idaho’s history, explore the state’s great outdoors, meet some of its most philanthropic business leaders, and trace the source of some ancient Idaho artifacts.

IdahoPTV’s newest series, Idaho Experience, debuts its first episode, Titans, on Thursday, March 8, at 7 PM.

There was a time when Joe Albertson had his first grocery store, when mining magnate Harry Magnuson was unsure about his future. Making it big in business means taking risks and putting everything on the line. But is success about more than just making money? These Idaho titans of industry are rags-to-riches stories that some people think they know — but there is more to them than you might think.

“When I set out to make this program, I didn’t know what to expect,” says producer Aaron Kunz. “But sitting down with family members, historians, and friends of Idaho’s titans, I learned that making money was just a small part of who they are. Many of these titans had to give back to Idaho and their community; it was built into their DNA. I hope when you watch this program you’ll see these recognizable names in a whole new way.”

The hourlong 35th Anniversary Special from Outdoor Idaho (Thursday, March 8, at 8 PM) revisits some of the scenic wonders the show has explored, and examines some of the land management issues the state still faces. Along the way, there are bloopers and some favorite interviews. Idaho singer-songwriter Casey Kristofferson even performs an original song.

“We’ve sorted through the archives to find some fun outtakes and behind-the-scenes footage caught on camera over the years,” says producer Sauni Symonds. “And we’ll take a stroll down memory lane with some of the folks who helped create the show and build the brand.”

“We’ve asked our Facebook friends to tell us what the show means to them, and some of those comments will make it into the program,” says host and executive producer Bruce Reichert. “But I suspect I already know why Outdoor Idaho has a following: we tell Idaho’s stories.”

Outdoor Idaho is made possible through funding from the Laura Moore Cunningham Foundation.

Idaho From Above

An encore of the aerial spectacular Idaho From Above from local filmmakers Wide Eye Productions airs Monday, March 12, at 7 PM. With more contiguous wilderness than any state outside of Alaska, Idaho’s remote and rugged landscapes are best captured from the air. Filmed from a helicopter and acquired in stunning high definition, Idaho From Above explores all the wonders our state offers — wild, mountainous, cracked with desert canyons and flowing with rivers of life.

Production funding for Idaho From Above was provided to Wide Eye Productions by Air St. Luke’s.

Legacy in Stone

In 1961, an amazing discovery of ancient Clovis points (a projectile point similar to an arrowhead, knapped from flint or a similar mineral) was uncovered on the Bill Simon farm in Fairfield, Idaho.

In Legacy in Stone: Discovering Ancient Flintknapping in Idaho (Tuesday, March 13, at 8:30 PM), Twin Falls residents Jim Paxton, Al Frost and Jim Woods team up with producer Mark Bork for a documentary about what is known today as the Simon Collection. Estimated to be 12,000 years old, this cache of more than 30 Clovis points is now on display at the Herrett Center for Arts and Science at the College of Southern Idaho.

Northwest archeologists come together in the film to demonstrate the art, science and skill of flintknapping, which created these exquisite ancient artifacts. “I did not know what flintknapping was when we started. Today I am in awe of the artists who have mastered this ancient skill,” says director Mark Bork. “Twin Falls is so fortunate to house such a rare collection of artifacts. They are beautiful and tell a story of what life was like thousands of years ago.”

Rosalie Title

We pay tribute to Idaho music legend Rosalie Sorrels, who passed away in 2017, with an encore of Rosalie Sorrels: Way Out in Idaho (Thursday, March 15, at 7 PM). The program features a concert performance recorded in 2005 at the Liberty Theatre in Hailey and also includes interviews with musicians Pete Seeger, Nanci Griffith, Jean Ritchie, Terry Garthwaite, Utah Phillips and others.

During the tribute, Boise musician Rocci Johnson will be in the studio to introduce Tribute to the Travelin’ Lady: Rosalie Sorrels, a four-CD box set featuring 44 songs written or inspired by Sorrels and performed by local and national artists. Viewers will have the opportunity to pledge their support for IdahoPTV and receive this historical compilation as a CD set or a digital download card.

Just imagine … you arrive in Idaho without understanding the culture, the language or the law. Who can you trust?

American Beat: Cops and Refugees Join Forces in Boise (Thursday, March 29, at 8:30 PM) weaves together three stories about a local police department’s commitment to supporting immigrants: the officers’ groundbreaking efforts to integrate and mentor refugees; the determination of a former Iraqi translator for the U.S. military putting down roots with his family and hoping to become a police officer; and the story of Boise, Idaho, itself, a city working to help refugees from war-torn Africa and the Middle East learn to trust that in America, a united community can conquer tragedy and hate.

“There is real power in sharing the stories of people who face challenges together, and how people cross cultural divides to come together, rather than be ripped apart,” says producer Gail Ablow. “Particularly at this moment, there is much that people across the country can learn from the Boise Police Department’s ‘American Beat.’”