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Kobi Gardea PHS Boys Basketball Head Coach

Pocatello/Chubbuck School District 25 (PCSD 25) is pleased to announce the selection of Kobi Gardea as the head coach of the boys basketball team at Pocatello High School. Gardea is replacing Joe Green, who resigned in April. In February, Green and his coaching staff, which included Gardea, led the Thunder to its first 4A State Championship in twenty years. 

Gardea played four years on varsity at Pocatello High School under Coach Joe Green, where he was named All State his junior and senior seasons. After high school, Gardea joined the Idaho State University Bengals, where he played one season under Bill Evans. As a Bengal, Gardea participated every day in practice and experienced what it takes to compete at the highest level of college basketball. He then earned a full ride scholarship to play basketball at Eastern Oregon University (NAIA). Gardea earned a starting spot and led the conference in assist to turnover category. He served as a captain in both his second and third seasons, averaging ten points and six assists a game. 

After his time on the court, Gardea became an assistant coach for Eastern Oregon University (2020-2023), where he was responsible for all aspects of running a basketball program, including recruiting, scheduling, fundraising, scouting reports, film breakdown, and developing players. In his first year, the team went 18-13 and lost in the quarterfinals. The second year, Gardea helped lead the team to 21-11, earning a spot at the NAIA national tournament for the first time in nine years. 

Gardea moved back to Pocatello in 2023 and has been helping as an assistant coach for both the junior varsity and varsity boys basketball teams at Pocatello High School. The JV team went 16-5 with a young team comprised of sophomores and a single junior. The state championship-winning varsity team enjoyed a 22-5 season.

Coach Gardea embodies the perfect balance of passion and discipline. Pocatello High School is confident Coach Gardea will guide our student athletes not only to victory on the court but also towards character, resilience, and teamwork. His commitment to excellence both on and off the court makes him a coach worth investing in. Principal, Lisa Delonas.

The coaching change goes into effect immediately.

Jacqueline Weir

Please join us in congratulating Simplot Inspirational Teacher of the Year finalist, Jacqueline Weir. Ms. Weir teaches 9th – 12th grade Math at Pocatello High School.

This year, the Simplot Education Council received 2,377 nominations for 398 teachers in Pocatello/Chubbuck School District 25. Finalists will be featured daily through Thursday, May 9, 2024. Three Simplot Inspirational Teacher Awards will be announced on Friday, May 10, 2024 – one for a teacher at the elementary, middle and high school levels. In addition, 5 finalists have been selected for each category and each will be awarded a $100 check. The Simplot Inspirational Teacher Award Recipients of 2024 will each be presented a $500 check on behalf of the Council.

“Ms. Weir is one of the best teachers I’ve had. She makes an effort to help students and when you need someone to talk to she is always the person you wanna go to.  She cares about all her students and gives really good advice. I may not be the best student but she does her best to help me and keep me on track. Overall she is an amazing teacher.” Holly E.

“Ms. Weir is one of my favorite people. She is such a good listener and you can tell her anything and she’ll do the best she can with giving feedback even if she doesn’t know the person.  She makes her classes so fun, I wish I could be in her class next year.” Annalees S.

“Ms. Weir is an amazing person. She is very caring and always trying to help her students succeed. You are an amazing teacher and I know everyone thinks this about you too!”  Kooper K.

Jenni Peterson

Please join us in congratulating Simplot Inspirational Teacher of the Year finalist, Jenni Peterson. Ms. Peterson teaches English at Pocatello High School.

This year, the Simplot Education Council received 2,377 nominations for 398 teachers in Pocatello/Chubbuck School District 25. Finalists will be featured daily through Thursday, May 9, 2024. Three Simplot Inspirational Teacher Awards will be announced on Friday, May 10, 2024 – one for a teacher at the elementary, middle and high school levels. In addition, 5 finalists have been selected for each category and each will be awarded a $100 check. The Simplot Inspirational Teacher Award Recipients of 2024 will each be presented a $500 check on behalf of the Council.

“Ms. Peterson deserves the Simplot ‘Award because she creates a comfortable environment in her classroom to which all of her students feel like they belong. Her spirit is very admirable and she never fails to put a smile on the faces of her students and those alike.  Her friendly nature is unmatchable, she always checks on her students to make sure everybody is content with where they are while staying positive and never making anyone feel belittled. Ms. Peterson talks to us like we are equals while still keeping a respectable environment. Having a teacher like her has brought me a lot of confidence and courageousness. Her passion about what does shines through and it makes her a very hard-working and warmhearted person.” Mylah L.

“I love Ms. Peterson. She brightens every one of my days and always makes me smile. She deserves this award because of her incredible teaching and her ability to keep me focused. Since she will read this, I want to tell her; I am so thankful you came to teach at PHS this year, I have never been more excited to go to a class before. You are truly not just a teacher, but a friend. You make me love being at school and you make everyday easier to get through. You are like a ray of sunshine on my cloudy days. You have made me so much better at English and you have helped me learn so many things. Thank you for always being patient and kind to me. Thank you for helping me feel like I matter. I truly think you have made the most impact on me at school. I will never forget you!” Kate J. 

Thunder Baseball Teacher Appreciation
Our seniors thanking teachers that have had a huge impact on them. We asked them to do it so I did also. Check it out. Thank the people that have made an impact on your life.
Vinnie Benavidez
Liesel Christensen

Please join us in congratulating Simplot Inspirational Teacher of the Year finalist, Liesel Christensen. Ms. Christensen teaches Biology and Anatomy Physiology at Pocatello High School.

This year, the Simplot Education Council received 2,377 nominations for 398 teachers in Pocatello/Chubbuck School District 25. Finalists will be featured daily through Thursday, May 9, 2024. Three Simplot Inspirational Teacher Awards will be announced on Friday, May 10, 2024 – one for a teacher at the elementary, middle and high school levels. In addition, 5 finalists have been selected for each category and each will be awarded a $100 check. The Simplot Inspirational Teacher Award Recipients of 2024 will each be presented a $500 check on behalf of the Council.

“I am enthusiastically nominating Ms. Christensen for this award. I recently met Ms. Christensen in my second trimester of my junior year and yet she has already made such a positive impact on my academic and, in some ways, personal life. The energy that fills her classroom every day is so uplifting and peaceful, it makes our days feel so much less stressful as students.  She always has a fun sense of humor and wears cute shirts with science jokes. On top of the fun and exciting environment, Ms. C always shows so much passion and dedication for teaching.” Faith J.

“This year is my first time ever having Ms. Christensen and she is truly amazing. She is so patient with students and I can say that with assertiveness and personal experience. She is always positive and excited to teach every day.  Her lessons and lectures are always interactive to keep us engaged. Overall she is such a great person and anyone who has had her as a teacher is truly lucky to have such a caring teacher like her.” Azuba C.

PV-TEC Logo

Check out this video of Pocatello/Chubbuck School District's PV-TEC Programs. The video gives you an glimpse of some of the excellent technical programs that are available to the students in the district.

Exciting highlights from Pocatello High School

Check out these exciting highlights from Pocatello High School! Ladies soccer is on their way to State! They ended their regular season undefeated with a record of 14-0-1 placing PHS as the #1 4A school in Idaho. They will play their first game tomorrow night in Boise at 6pm! Good Luck Thunder!

Pocatello High School Science Fair 2023

Pocatello High School sophomore honors biology learners presented their research results at the annual science fair. The evening vent is designed so students can have an authentic experience communicating their research findings after a months-long project.

Marcy Curr and Lisa Delonas Speech and the Debate District Administrator of the Year Award

Twenty coaches from Twin Falls to Teton nominated and voted for Administrator of the Year for the Eastern Idaho Speech and Debate "Idaho Mountain River District." Lisa was awarded "Administrator of the Year" for outstanding support of the speech arts in secondary education in Eastern Idaho.

Affordable Connectivity Program

2 Steps to Enroll:

  1. Go to ACP Benefit to apply today.
  2. Then select your preferred participating internet provider to have the discount applied to your bill. 

The Affordable Connectivity Program is a Federal Communications Commission Benefit Program. For help via a chat feature or phone, visit Get ACP or Get My Internet.

PHS Teacher Koski speaking with ISU Biologist Pradhan

August 3, 2022

Thanks to a pair of grants from the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trusts, two Pocatello High School teachers are getting two summer’s worth of research experience with a couple of Idaho State University professors.

Recently, Devaleena Pradhan and Heather Ray, assistant professors of biological sciences, were each awarded a Partners in Science grant. Through the program, they’ve been joined by Pocatello High School biology teachers Anne Koski and Maygan Sampson, and assisted with the professors’ research on the ISU campus. Pradhan and Koski are looking into how hormone-producing enzymes are regulated and affect reproduction in the Bluebanded goby. The fish is capable of naturally changing its sex as an adult. Humans and fish share nearly all of the same hormones, and their research will help illustrate how these hormones can be different in organs like the brain.

“Working with a fellow teacher has been very different than working with students,” said Pradhan, “Not only have we been doing the research, we’ve been able to discuss different teaching methods and ways Anne and I can get students excited about careers in science.”

Meanwhile, Ray and Sampson are studying how the expression of a pair of genes in frog embryos controls craniofacial development. The two genes, Hypermethylated in Cancer 1 and 2, are also found in humans and are associated with developmental disorders and cancer when the body does not regulate them properly. 

“It’s been a pleasure to help Maygan develop skills that will benefit her and her students, as well as have her help in answering a longstanding research question of mine,” Ray said. “I hope this partnership will lead to more students furthering their biological studies at ISU.”

From here, the teachers will take what they’ve done in the lab and share what they’ve learned with their students. 

“The Partners in Science program has helped me improve my research skills and will allow me to expand the opportunities for students in the microbiology lab at PHS by making connections between the content and the most current, cutting-edge research,” Sampson said. “I knew I wanted to be a science teacher at five-years-old after seeing my mother do research with Professor Trent Stephens right here at Idaho State, and being on-campus this summer has felt a bit like coming full circle in my career.” 

“For the last decade, I’ve been helping students in my honors biology class complete individualized science fair projects,” said Koski. “Yet, I’ve never been involved in doing this thorough of research myself. When I heard about the Partners in Science program, I knew it was for me, and it would give me the chance to ‘do’ science instead of just learning the material and teaching it.”  

For Pradhan and Ray, they both hope that the new partnership will lead to more opportunities to bring real-world research opportunities to high schools in Pocatello and ultimately have more students excited about science, technology, engineering, and math careers. 

“This opportunity opens up ISU to our community and underscores the fact that there is no age limit to learning,” said Pradhan. “The Partners in Science grants allow our local teachers to take the scientific advancements and processes they learn back to their classrooms. In the long-term, we hope this will help students increase their knowledge and curiosity, and be better prepared for college.” 

The group wrapped their research projects for the summer of 2022 recently. Sampson and Koski will return to the lab in the summer of 2023. 

For more information on ISU’s Department of Biological Sciences, visit isu.edu/biology

Story credit: Idaho State University

District News

C.A.K.E. Awards May 2024 Congratulations Briar Palmer 1st Grade Tyhee Elementary School and Dayja Schilhabel 12th grade Pocatello High School May Learners of the Month

Congratulations to Briar Palmer, a 1st grade learner attending Tyhee Elementary, and Dayja Schilhabel, a 12th grade learner attending Pocatello High School, who were chosen as the Pocatello/Chubbuck School District 25 May C.A.K.E. award recipients. C.A.K.E. stands for Character, Attitude, Kindness and Encouragement.

Briar was nominated by her teacher, Ms. Sonya Pixton. In her nomination letter, Ms. Pixton wrote, “Briar has been a leader in our class since the first day of school. Briar is kind and respectful to everyone. If another learner is struggling with an assignment she is the first to offer help and give encouragement. If a teacher needs help she is always willing to help - no matter the task. Briar takes on every new learning experience with a positive attitude, and is always willing to try hard things. If someone is sad, Briar is the first to ask what is wrong, and to offer help. Her smile, and positive attitude about learning is contagious with the other learners. Briar is the person that notices if someone is by themselves and is concerned about them, asks if they would like to join her. The best thing about Briar is that she does all of this from the goodness of her heart. No one asks her to do any of these kind things - she does it because it is who she is. She is truly an amazing girl that has made our class and our school better because she is in it. Every class should be so lucky as to have someone like Briar in it.”

Dayja was nominated by teacher Ms. Molly Johnson and Mr. Scott Minor.  In her nomination letter, Ms. Johnson wrote, “Dayja truly is a one-of-a-kind student. I have had the pleasure of being her teacher for the past three years and have observed her mature into a wonderful young adult. She is actively engaged in our school community through student mentorship and peer tutor roles with our most vulnerable population at Pocatello High School. Her kindness and impressive character extend to her participation in all of her classes. Dayja has assumed the role teacher assistant in her English class, actively helping any student that welcomes peer support. Dayja is always aware of students that may not have a friend to eat with or talk to at lunch and makes herself available to engage with those students. Even as a senior in her final trimester of high school, she continues to persevere in her learning and seeks to make significant academic achievements every day. Moreover, Dayja's post-high school goals include achieving a degree in teaching in pursuit of becoming a special education teacher. I am so excited to watch her succeed and continue to serve our Pocatello/Chubbuck community.”

Mr. Minor wrote, “Dayja Schilhabel has been a peer tutor/teacher assistant throughout the school year in my DLP program at Pocatello High School. She told me earlier this year she wanted to be a special education teacher and work with kids with severe special needs. As such, I have given her extra responsibilities and freedoms regarding our "morning routine" in our classroom. I asked her to teach specific behaviors to specific students; making one student fully pronounce his "f"s, another student, Dayja was asked to identify different colors, another student was asked to talk in a softer voice, as well as several others. When I asked Dayja if she understood why I had her doing these things, she mentioned, "...it’s part of their IEP goals." When I responded, "You want to be a teacher so I am giving you the class to actually teach what they need." With that, she took a more vested interest in the class and her part in it. Dayja asked if she could take over the morning routine powerpoint, which consisted of the date, weather, classroom rules, daily goals, and the daily lunch and breakfast menu. When I gave her that responsibility, she added videos to several pages, she added new pictures to the lunch menu, and she updated the menu daily as well. She also showed the classroom staff how to add links to the videos as well as what web pages she looked on where she was researching. Not only did she take a new interest in the class, she also took a new interest in herself. She would ask what she could do differently in how she presented to the class, where she should stand, how to maintain better eye contact, and tone of her voice. All feedback she took to heart. At one point, the students began to prefer her doing the morning routine as opposed to myself or other staff members. She is again, working in my class, with two other peer tutors and is helping them as well, learn how to work with my students in better and more focused ways .Due to her caring for my students and taking the initiative to go beyond all expectations to my this classroom more enjoyable and engaging, Dayja deserves this award.”

Briar and Dayja were recognized at the Board of Trustees meeting on Tuesday, May 21, 2024. Johnson Family McDonald's provides each learner and their nominators with a gift card, along with $50 to purchase books for the school’s media center in the recipients’ names.

PCSD 25 believes a safe, supportive, caring and respectful environment is critical to student learning. The District Education Foundation, in partnership with the local Johnson Family McDonald’s, supports the Learner-of-the-Month C.A.K.E. Award to recognize students who show great character. The district recognizes one elementary learner and one secondary learner from October through May. Nominations for the C.A.K.E. Award are submitted by a teacher who has observed the nominee’s behavior, and are approved by the school’s principal. 

2024 Simplot Inspirational Teachers of the Year Jenni Peterson PHS English Teacher Andrew Banks HMS Geography Teacher Lindsay Collier Wilcox Kindergarten Teacher

Join us in celebrating the remarkable achievements of Jenni Peterson, Andrew Banks, and Lindsay Collier as they are honored as the 2024 Simplot Inspirational Teachers of the Year!

Now in its 31st year, The Simplot Education Council meticulously reviewed 2,377 nominations for 398 exemplary educators. Out of these, 15 outstanding finalists were recognized with a commendation and a $100 prize, while our distinguished trio of winners were each awarded a $500 check.

Let's extend a resounding round of applause to all our dedicated teachers for their exceptional teaching methods and unwavering commitment to educating the students of PCSD 25.

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