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.

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Common Core
5:50 am
Tue August 27, 2013

Common Core: What Your Kindergartner Needs To Learn This Year

Credit Elle Moxley / StateImpact Indiana

Today the school year starts for Idaho’s two largest school districts, Boise and Meridian. Several others have already begun. This is the first year that all Idaho schools will be using the Common Core State Standards.

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Religion
2:31 pm
Mon August 26, 2013

Mormon Church To Triple Missionary Numbers In Southwest Idaho

Colby Denton (left) and Davis Jones at the Boise Mission headquarters. Behind them is a board with pictures of everyone serving in the mission on one side and everyone arriving next month on the other.
Credit Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

At 23-and 21-years-old Colby Denton and Davis Jones introduce themselves as Elder Denton and Elder Jones. That’s traditional for young men serving as missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Both are relentlessly cheerful. Both say they wouldn’t trade their two years in the Boise, Idaho Mission for anything.

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Education
4:07 pm
Fri August 23, 2013

Idaho Education Task Force Sends Recommendations To Governor

Credit Malate269 / Wikimedia Commons

Idaho’s Task Force for Improving Education released its final recommendations Friday. Governor Butch Otter asked the State Board of Education to create the group last December after voters rejected the education laws known as Students Come First.  The 31 member task force was made up of representatives from several education groups.

Their recommendations include a unanimous recommendation to raise minimum teacher salaries from $31,000 to $40,000.  Plus they want to restructure the career ladder so experienced teachers could also make more money. 

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Charter Schools
5:56 pm
Thu August 22, 2013

North Star Charter Reaches Agreement With Meridian, Will Stay Open This Year

North Star Charter School in Eagle started classes Thursday morning. As parents dropped off some of the school’s nearly 1,000 students administrators told them the worries that it might have to close in the next few months seem to be over.

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College Prep
4:55 pm
Wed August 21, 2013

Idaho Students Outperform Nation On ACT

Credit act.org

ACT scores are out for the class of 2013. The company that owns the nationally administered college entrance exam has released its annual report on how the scores reflect the nation’s college and career readiness.

Idaho high school grads outpaced their national peers on all of the ACT’s college readiness benchmarks by wide margins.

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Nampa Financial Crisis
11:40 am
Tue August 20, 2013

Judge Rules Against Nampa School District Over Mid-Year Contract Change

Today is the first day back to school for these Nampa elementary students.
Credit Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

The Nampa School District was out of line when it asked teachers to sign a contract addendum to include furlough days.

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Education
9:19 am
Mon August 5, 2013

Idaho's Lowest Performing Schools Have Among The Highest Rates Of Poverty

Credit Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

The Idaho Department of Education released its school rankings last week for the 2012-2013 school year. Before the updated list came out, we told you there was a strong connection between poverty and low achieving schools based on the 2011-2012 rankings.

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Education Technology
5:15 pm
Fri August 2, 2013

200 Idaho Schools Signed Up For State Wi-Fi Contract

About 200 Idaho high schools have signed up to get Wi-Fi internet under the state’s new contract with a Tennessee-based company. Signing that contract brought the state’s Department of Education under fire last week. Some lawmakers thought the multi-year agreement violated the spirit of what the legislature had authorized the department to do when it set aside $2.25 million for Wi-Fi in the coming school year.

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School Rankings
5:04 pm
Thu August 1, 2013

More Five Star And Fewer One Star Schools In Idaho’s New Ranking

The blue ring represents the 2011/2012 school year.
Credit Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho’s new list of school rankings came out Thursday afternoon. The number of schools receiving the highest rating, five stars, increased from the 2011-2012 school year to the 2012-2013 year. The number of one star schools declined. Nearly 160 schools went up at least one star. The highest concentration of schools continues to be in the four star category.

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Education
8:35 am
Thu August 1, 2013

Why Poverty Matters In Idaho School Rankings

Adams Elementary is on Boise's historic Warm Springs Avenue. It was ranked as a 5 star school last year.
Credit Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho’s Department of Education releases its list today of school rankings for the 2012-2013 school year. It’s based on a five star system the state began last year.

Five star schools are considered high performing. Those at the bottom have to follow an improvement plan under state scrutiny. In last year’s rating list there was something most one star schools had in common: poverty. Take Boise’s Hawthorne Elementary where Beverly Boyd is principal.

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Charter Schools
8:58 am
Thu July 25, 2013

Struggling Charter School’s Appeal To Idaho Board Of Education Likely Won’t Be Considered

North Star Charter School in Eagle has appealed the move by the Meridian School District to revoke its charter to the State Board of Education. But that appeal may be premature. It’s the latest move in what has become, to all parties, a maze of shifting and difficult to understand state law.

Meridian started the process of revocation last month saying the school it authorized 10 years ago is not financially stable. But the district has not actually revoked the document that allows North Star to operate.

Spokesman Eric Exline says the district can’t do that.

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Technology
7:44 am
Thu July 25, 2013

Idaho Signs Contract For High School Wi-Fi Amid Storm Of Criticism

Idaho Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tom Luna.
Credit Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho’s Department of Education signed a contract Wednesday for $2.1 million a year with Tennessee-based company Education Networks of America (ENA) to provide Wi-Fi internet access to the state’s high schools. But that came after a day of criticism around the decision.

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Charter Schools
2:34 pm
Wed July 24, 2013

North Star Charter Appeals Meridian's Move To Close It

The night sky spinning around the north star
Credit Gadget_Guru / Flickr Creative Commons

Idaho's largest school district, Meridian, wants to revoke the charter of North Star Charter School in Eagle. North Star has filed an appeal to Idaho's State Board of Education according to Idaho Education News.

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Jobs
4:55 pm
Thu July 18, 2013

Idaho's Jobless Rate Ticks Up For The Second Straight Month

More than 6 percent of Idahoans work more than one job.
Credit Emilie Ritter Saunders / StateImpact Idaho

Idaho’s unemployment rate went up in June. The increase from 6.2 percent in May to 6.4 percent in June, makes it the second month in a row more Idahoans were looking for work.

The two-month uptick follows nearly two years of slow but steady declines in Idaho joblessness. National unemployment for June held steady at 7.6 percent.

Idaho’s increase comes in part because more than 1,400 people started looking for work last month. But it also reflects a slight drop in the total number of people with jobs.

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Teachers' Union
1:17 pm
Thu July 18, 2013

Idaho Teachers’ Union Sees Big Membership Decline

Union membership among Idaho teachers has dropped sharply in recent years. Idaho Education News reports a 14.3 percent decline in Idaho Education Association (IEA) membership between the 2010-2011 and 2011-2012 school years. That is compared to a 3.6 percent drop nationally.

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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

Credit Champlain.edu

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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