Adam Cotterell

News Reporter

Adam Cotterell returned to his home town of Boise, Idaho in 2007 after three years teaching university English in China. His plan was to teach high school drama and history, but in a move that almost makes him believe in destiny he took a part time job in Boise State Public Radio’s newsroom. He became a full time general assignments reporter in 2010. Adam's main focus is on covering education, but also enjoys doing all types of stories; from interviewing unique people to reporting on Boise's theatre scene.

Adam lives in Boise with his wife, daughter, and dog. He is also considered a pioneer in the art form abstract expressionist origami.


Air Quality
10:54 am
Wed July 17, 2013

Southern Idaho Could Be In For Another Bad Air Summer

Boise Sky about 9:45 a.m. September 20, 2012
Credit Aaron Kunz / Earthfix

Wednesday’s air quality forecast in the Treasure Valley is for “moderate” conditions, which can cause health issues for some people with respiratory problems.

It’s been that way for several days now mainly because of ozone pollution, not wildfire smoke. Ozone is the most common reason for bad air during Idaho summers, but last year was a different story says Michael Toole with Idaho’s Department of Environmental Quality.

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Air Quality
4:42 pm
Tue July 16, 2013

The Treasure Valley's Air Quality Isn't Great, But Not Because Of Wildfires

Smoke obscures the Boise foothills about 7:30 Tuesday morning.
Credit Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Air quality in the Treasure Valley hasn't been great the last couple of days. But that's not because of the wildfire burning near Boise. Michael Toole with Idaho’s Department of Environmental Quality says the real culprit is ozone.

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Charter Schools
2:54 pm
Tue July 16, 2013

Closing North Star Charter Could Be A Boon, Or Burden, To Idaho’s Largest School District

Stephanie Zimmerman plans to home-school her kids that went to North Star last year. The chance the school could close after the start of the school year is part of the reason. She also opposes the Common Core standards Idaho will adopt this school year.
Credit Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

One of Idaho’s largest charter schools might not survive the next school year. North Star Charter in Eagle has struggled financially because of a building loan it can’t pay back.

The Meridian School District, which granted its charter, plans to revoke it. If that happens, the school could shut down.

That concerns mother of eight Stephanie Zimmerman. Five of her kids have attended North Star.

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Financial Literacy
3:49 pm
Mon July 15, 2013

Report: Idaho Gets Top Marks Teaching Financial Literacy


Idaho is doing better than most states when it comes to teaching financial literacy. Vermont’s Champlain College Center for Financial Literacy graded the 50 states on efforts to produce high school graduates that know how to do things like save for retirement and buy a house.

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Higher Education
9:46 am
Fri July 12, 2013

Idaho High School Students Get A Taste Of College Life

Shaleeni came to Idaho from her native Fiji. She has a list of colleges she's applying for and wants to double major in computer science and business.
Credit Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

About 120 high school students are staying in the Boise State dorms, taking classes, and eating in the student union. And that’s going on at more than 900 other campuses across the country including at Idaho State and University of Idaho.

It’s part of a program to help kids from low-income families prepare for college. It’s called Upward Bound, and is part of the federal TRiO programs. Even though the program has been around for nearly 50 years, high school students are learning new technology during their summer at Boise State.

The Class

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Idaho Shakespeare Festival
10:04 am
Thu July 4, 2013

Audio Postcard: Idaho Shakespeare Festival Opens Blood-Soaked Musical "Sweeney Todd"

Tom Ford and Sara Bruner star as Sweeney Todd and Mrs. Lovett in the Idaho Shakespeare Festival production of Sweeney Todd.
Credit Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

This summer, more than 60,000 people are expected to see a play at the Idaho Shakespeare Festival. Of the five plays this season, perhaps the most anticipated is "Sweeney Todd".

This blood-drenched murder musical by Stephen Sondheim shocked audiences when it debuted more than 30 years ago. It’s had a large and loyal audience ever since, and in 2007 director Tim Burton made a movie version starring Johnny Depp.

This is not the Shakespeare Festival’s first dance with Sondheim but it is its first time with "Sweeney Todd". 

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9:59 am
Wed July 3, 2013

Idaho Teacher Cleared By State Ethics Panel For Letting Kids Draw On Classmates' Faces

Credit Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

The south Idaho teacher who made national headlines for allowing students to draw on each other’s faces with permanent markers, will keep her job.

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Teacher Contracts
2:33 pm
Tue July 2, 2013

Idaho’s Biggest School District Ends Negotiations, Imposes Teacher Contract Terms

Luke Franklin, Meridian Education Association President
Credit Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

The Meridian School board voted Monday to end contract negotiations with the Meridian Education Association (MEA.) The Idaho Statesman reports the district will issue teacher contracts based on its last offer.

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6:36 pm
Mon July 1, 2013

Fire Near Lucky Peak Burns 300 Acres

The Turner fire near Lucky Peak Dam started Monday afternoon. It's expected to be contained late Tuesday.
Credit BLM

UPDATE:  Officials say the Turner fire had burned 300 acres as of Monday evening.  Crews expect to have the fire contained late Tuesday.  The fire is believed to have been started by human activity.

ORIGINAL POST: A 100 acre fire is burning south of Lucky Peak Dam. What’s being called the Turner fire because of its proximity to Turner Gulch, started about 5:00 Monday evening. It’s mostly burning land owned by the Bureau of Land Management, though some private property is involved.

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Education Technology
4:48 pm
Mon July 1, 2013

11 Idaho Schools To Share $3 Million For Technology Pilot Projects

Shelby Harris uses Khan Academy and her Google Chromebooks for what's sometimes called a flipped classroom. Students get part of their instruction online so she can spend most of her time working with individuals or small groups.
Credit Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho’s Department of Education has announced 11 schools will share $3 million for technology pilot projects.

Eighty-one schools applied for the grants. The requests totaled nearly $20 million.

Here are the schools that get the money and what they plan to do with it.

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Nampa Financial Crisis
5:57 pm
Fri June 28, 2013

Nampa Teachers Likely To Get 14 Furlough Days But Negotiations Aren't Done

Things like class size that could impact students and teachers, like those in this Nampa elementary class, could still be negotiated.
Credit Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

The Nampa School District and its teachers’ union, the Nampa Education Association (NEA), could not reach an agreement Friday on next year’s contract terms. But the district will still send teachers their contracts. State law requires that contracts go out by July 1. However, they will be incomplete.

The state’s third largest district has been embroiled in a budget crisis since last summer. The district says it needs to trim more than $3 million through this labor agreement.

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Charter Schools
1:58 pm
Wed June 26, 2013

Meridian School District Wants To Pull The Charter Of Financially Troubled North Star School

The Meridian School District wants to revoke the charter of one of the state’s biggest charter schools according to Idaho Education News. North Star Charter in Eagle has more than 900 students and has received national recognition for academic rigor.

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Higher Education
11:21 am
Wed June 26, 2013

Study: Idaho Workers Need Even More Education After High School

Boise State University winter commencement 2011.
Credit Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Nearly 290,000 new jobs will open in Idaho over the next seven years. That’s from a study released Wednesday by Georgetown University’s Center for Education and the Workforce. 

Here are some highlights of Georgetown’s predictions for 2020:

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Common Core
9:14 am
Fri June 21, 2013

Idaho Students To Take A New Common Core Exam This Year, But It Doesn't Count

A Nampa elementary student works on a classroom computer. Idaho students already take their state assessment, the ISAT, on computers but the new Common Core linked exam will be much more high tech. It will use computer adaptive technology which will tailor question difficulty to how a student answered previous questions.
Credit Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

This week the U.S. Department of Education offered states an extension on including tests tied to the new Common Core state standards in teacher evaluations. Idaho won’t take that extension. The state is actually moving up some of its Common Core testing.

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Teacher Education
3:17 pm
Wed June 19, 2013

Few Gold Stars For Idaho's Teacher Training Programs

Teacher preparation programs at Idaho universities were on par with the rest of the country in a new study. But the country as a whole did terribly. The National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) looked at more than 1,000 teacher education programs around the U.S.

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School Counselors
10:37 pm
Sun June 16, 2013

Idaho Education Department Says No To Hiring More Counselors

Getting more Idahoans to go on to college is the top education goal for the state. But sometimes state agencies disagree about how to realize that. Take a report issued last year by Idaho’s Office of Performance Evaluations. OPE evaluates state agencies and programs.

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Nampa Financial Crisis
7:16 am
Fri June 14, 2013

Nampa Teacher’s Union Calls For Raises And No Furloughs Next Year

Credit Courtesy of the Idaho Statesman

Teacher contract negotiations in the Nampa School District appear stalled.  The teacher’s union Thursday night pushed for raises and no furlough days. The district had proposed 14 furlough days next year. 

Nampa has been fighting through a budget crisis all year. It’s eliminated jobs, closed one school and made numerous other cuts.  But district officials say they still need to cut $3.5 million from next year’s budget.  

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Education Technology
7:41 am
Wed June 12, 2013

Why Sun Valley Area Schools Are In The Software Business

Credit / Flickr Creative Commons

A Boise software company Wednesday will announce a cash infusion from investors totaling $2.5 million. Silverback Learning Solutions hasn’t been doing business two years yet, but CEO Jim Lewis says its sales total more than a million dollars and it has 20 full time employees. It also has one unusual partner that gets 8 percent of profits; the Blaine County School District. Lewis retired from his job as Blaine County’s superintendent to form the company.

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2013 Wildfire Season
5:04 pm
Tue June 11, 2013

Idaho Forests Expected To Burn This Year While Grasslands Will Get A Reprieve

Ed Delgado is with the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise.
Credit Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

If you live in southern Idaho you likely won't see the catastrophic fires the area experienced last year.

State and federal agencies came together to give predictions Tuesday on what the state's wildfire outlook this summer could be like. 

Ed Delgado manages predictive services at the National Interagency Fire Center.  He says there’s a big difference between fires expected in the mountains and those in the desert this year.

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3:35 pm
Mon June 10, 2013

StoryCorps Boise Is Open And Wants To Hear Your Story

The StoryCorps Airstream will be parked in front of Boise's City Hall from June 10-July 6
Emilie Ritter Saunders Boise State Public Radio

For the next month, an Airstream trailer will be parked on the sidewalk outside Boise’s City Hall. It’s the mobile recording booth for the national oral history project known as StoryCorps. The mobile studios travel the country collecting people's stories.

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