Our family has long been viewers, fans and supporters of Idaho Public Television.
I was pleased to serve on the Friends Board of Directors in the '80s. I remember the experience of going “on air” during festival pledge drive made me quite nervous. Our sons Adam and David were very young at the time. They happily watched with my mom from my parents’ home in Weiser. They phoned in a pledge and listened to hear their names announced on television.
Our sons grew up watching Sesame Street. Reading Rainbow was a favorite. When Adam was in grade school a wonderful Boise educator broadcast a beginning Spanish class. I quite faithfully taped it on my VHS recorder to watch with him after school. The instructor was kind to send supplemental materials for us to use at home in Emmett.
Brad regularly tunes in to Idaho Reports, the PBS Newshour, and Dialogue. The live stream of the Idaho Legislature, "Idaho in Session," allows him and all Idahoans to see, hear, and learn from the debate in the Idaho House, Senate and committee rooms as it unfolds.
Brad and I had a first rare opportunity to be invited, along with all governors, to dinner at the White House this past February. After dinner we were treated to a performance in the East Room. It was, actually, just like “In Performance at the White House." The gilt chairs were all set up and we were entertained by a wonderful vocalist accompanied by the military choir and orchestra.
I could hardly wait for Les Misérables to air on Masterpiece this past April-May. The new IdahoPTV production, "Idaho Experience," reveals stories from our state’s history and individuals’ lives, as "Outdoor Idaho" has done for our landscape for 36 years.
I asked our grandchildren, ages 3-8, to tell me their favorite PBS shows. Wild Kratts topped the list, followed by Word World, Cat in the Hat, Curious George and Pinkalicious (for Josephine). The Scratch Jr. coding app is being used with enthusiasm.
The mission statement of Idaho Public Television is: "We harness the power of public media to encourage lifelong learning, connect our communities and enrich the lives of all Idahoans. We tell Idaho’s stories."
IdahoPTV does this very well. Nearly 100% (99.7%) of Idaho households can receive IdahoPTV’s free broadcast signals. IdahoPTV is very nimble; as television moved to the digital age, IdahoPTV was able to begin broadcasting on four channels, now five. Streaming technology has changed the game again. You may now download a PBS video app on your streaming device and watch programs on demand. Members of IdahoPTV receive extra programming through Idaho PTV Passport program.
IdahoPTV continues to innovate and educate. IdahoPTV is currently engaged in five major education initiatives from preschool to workforce:
- PBS Teacher Community Program
- American Graduate: Getting to Work
- National Comprehensive Center on Improving Literacy
- Early Learning Initiatives
- PBS Parent Engagement in Schools
This past March during Festival I heard IdahoPTV General Manager Ron Pisaneschi mention something about coding. I know this is an area of focus in early education, so I reached out to Jeff Tucker, Director of Content. Jeff put together a workshop for parents and young children on the resources IdahoPTV now has available. Teacher Ambassador, Kari Wardle, Cindy Lunte, along with Joan Cartan-Hansen of Science Trek fame, Ron and Jeff gave us a wonderful overview of the material available for parents, grandparents, educators and students from the IdahoPTV Learning Ecosystem. This includes PBS Scratch Jr., the coding app, and many, many others.
Photos from the workshop are included at the bottom of the newsletter.
The following is a quote from one of the grandparents who attended with her granddaughter:
“**** loved her PBS Kids time. It’s really pretty remarkable how intuitive the iPad was for her. She gets very little screen time but she was able to explore it quite well. The vast amount of content available for all ages is impressive. The research behind their material is what makes it “sellable.” Their education teachers/consultants bring it to life and having them partner with schools is how more students will be able to participate. My question is, how do you spread the word about what a resource this is to students, teachers and parents?? It really is a hidden gem in Idaho. **** said her best part was “the gravity ball on my head." Those hands-on activities will stay with them. Thanks again for sharing this time with us. I will help spread the word.”
On June 20, IdahoPTV is hosting an "Educate and Celebrate" event at their studios, located at 1455 North Orchard Street in Boise. This will be a wonderful opportunity for you to learn firsthand what resources are available to you, the students, teachers and parents in your life. You may sign up here.
I highly encourage you to explore Idaho Public Television in all its dimensions. Discover something exciting and new by attending the June 20 workshop, visiting the website, reading Channels program guide, watching a new program, visiting the Learning Ecosystem, downloading a learning app, volunteering, or donating. It will enhance your life and the lives of those you care about. It does ours.