Local Content and Service Report

2022 Community Report

Mission Overview

Iowa PBS educates, informs, enriches and inspires Iowans.

Iowa PBS has educated, enlightened and entertained viewers throughout the state since 1969. Our network has reached far beyond our broadcasts to educate, inform, enrich and inspire Iowans. As our viewers increasingly look to new platforms for their information and entertainment, we are committed to bringing them the best in local arts, history, sports and public policy programming. Iowa PBS is Iowa's statewide public broadcasting network with four unique programming channels and online streaming services, offering free, original content across multiple social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, SnapChat and YouTube. Each day, Iowa PBS broadcasts 96 hours of quality content across four channels – Iowa PBS (.1), Iowa PBS KIDS (.2), Iowa PBS WORLD (.3) and Iowa PBS Create (.4) – via the following stations: Channel 11, Des Moines; Channel 12, Iowa City; Channel 21, Fort Dodge; Channel 24, Mason City; Channel 27, Sioux City; Channel 32, Waterloo; Channel 32, Council Bluffs; Channel 36, Davenport; and Channel 36, Red Oak.

Our noncommercial, public-service mission enables us to cover Iowa's history in the making, provide the best seat in the house to operas, ballets, concerts, championship sports and community events, all while producing quality, innovative and educational media and services available to Iowa's most challenged communities to help prepare their children for success in school.

“Thank you all for your hard work and caring enough to give your best!!! We love Iowa PBS!!!!!!!" — Anne Marie DeVries, December 2022


Iowa is at the heart of Iowa PBS. We offer Iowans a partner in their quest for community and lifelong learning by engaging people of all ages with trusted services and programming that both educate and inspire. A statewide hub for public policy and a platform for civic and civil discourse, we provide news and information with historical perspective that enhances the lives of Iowans from all backgrounds, all generations, and all walks of life. We are committed to delivering high-quality and innovative media and services that create insight, fulfillment, and growth while offering companionship, comfort, and entertainment. Iowa PBS provides the lens through which Iowans may better see their world.


Iowa PBS enriches lives.

Strategic Planning

Guided by a strategic plan that puts the audience first, Iowa PBS will continue to build upon our four pillars of Education, Community, Content and Culture to make a positive impact and further enrich Iowan’s lives. We will strive to build upon the case for ongoing public and philanthropic support by developing new partnerships with like-minded organizations to broaden our overall impact. Our strategic plan emphasizes data-driven decisions to successfully serve our audience.

“I am a PBS junkie, it's my go to viewing. All the programming is fantastic. We have and will continue to support it through the Friends program. If you haven't you should.” — Barb Henning, January 2022

Broadcast and Online Programming Overview

Iowa PBS’s 24/7 broadcast programming objectives reflect a wide range of interests for Iowans in all demographic categories. As a service dedicated to quality, we provide the best programs in a variety of genres from a broad cross-section of television’s top producers and digital content creators and deliver them across audience-appropriate platforms. Each day, we broadcast 96 hours of quality content across four statewide channels. A total of 747 broadcast hours were devoted to locally produced programs last year. Iowa PBS fans watch our entertaining and educational content across multiple platforms today. Our social media engagement, as measured by Facebook and Instagram Insights and Twitter metrics, was 1,053,331 in FY22. We reached nearly 6.8 million video views on YouTube alone in the past year. More than 2.2 million videos were streamed on demand via mobile and various streaming platforms in FY 2022. Programming for Children and Families

"PBS has been a part of our family since it first came on TV. The children learned so much while being entertained. Mr. Young and I enjoyed all that was geared for adults. Too many programs to name them all. Thank you, thank you." — Carolyn Young, November 2022

Iowa PBS takes very seriously its responsibility to provide child-focused and violence-free children’s programs that promote the joy of learning – not products for advertisers. As the steadfast ally of parents and caregivers, programs are produced in close consultation with educators and child development experts to achieve specific curriculum objectives. Iowa PBS primarily combines the programs and services of the PBS KIDS brand with local programming to serve Iowa’s children. During 2022, we continued to invent new ways our network could deliver value and connection to our statewide audiences. Iowa PBS Education continues to develop and deliver on different strategies to assist students, educators and parents, as well as the Iowa Department of Education. There is no question that Iowa PBS’s children’s programs are of significant value to Iowa families. Nearly half (41.43 percent ) of the households in our viewing area watched our broadcasts each month, as measured by Nielsen Data and TRAC Media between July 2021 and June 2022 for KDIN. More than a third (35.39%) of children ages 2 to 11 in our viewing area watched Iowa PBS’s primary .1 channel each month, and nearly a quarter (22.85%) of kids the same age watched Iowa PBS KIDS .2 each month. Iowa PBS KIDS .2 is devoted entirely to educational children’s programming. Both Iowa PBS .1 and Iowa PBS KIDS .2 are also live streamed 24 hours a day and 7 days a week on iowapbs.org.

Iowa families also enjoyed the unique opportunities to interact with our online educational services in 2022. We served 4.12 million users online, (across multiple platforms) including pbskids.org, PBS KIDS OTT apps, PBS KIDS Video apps and PBS KIDS Games app. Our young Iowa viewers also took advantage of our streaming services to enjoy quality educational media. They watched 50.1 million streams across the PBS KIDS OTT apps, PBS KIDS Video apps and pbskids.org during FY22. Local Production

"We appreciate these programs and want to give you a donation at this time. With so many staying home due to the pandemic, what you offer is so important! Thank you!" — Roberta Haas, March 2022

Producing programming about who we are, where we live and what it means to be an Iowan is one of the most important things we do at Iowa PBS. More than 747 broadcast hours were devoted to locally produced programs last year. Much of that work was devoted to providing educational content to teachers and families and offering companionship and comfort to viewers still or sometimes isolated in their homes to prevent the spread of the virus. There is nowhere else in the state where Iowans can see programs that showcase the talent, spirit and beauty of Iowa, and where public policy is not just discussed, but explained.

Iowa PBS is able to cover the entire state with its digital mobile production unit. The truck has allowed us to provide remote HD coverage of the Iowa State Fair, operas, sporting events and more. Iowa PBS’s programs on air and online offer a view of Iowa not seen anywhere else.

Our significant library of quality, locally produced television programming, educational services and resources, and emerging media projects and platforms allowed us to reach our audiences, maintain community involvement and our valued service organization partnerships.

Here is the list of new production projects in 2022:

Governors of Iowa: Harold Hughes

Governor Hughes was guided by his past as a truck driver, his personal battles with alcoholism and his deep religious faith. From that, he changed the trajectory of Iowa’s future during the tumultuous 1960s. This locally produced documentary profiles how Hughes guided the state through legislative battles, cultural turmoil and international concerns with behind-the-scenes perspectives of pivotal moments in Iowa history.

"Congratulations to Iowa PBS on this excellent production! The interviews were fascinating and the taped phone conversations were totally unexpected and very interesting. Well done, all! We're eager to watch Governor Ray next week!" — LuAnn Folkers regarding Governors of Iowa: Harold Hughes, October 2022

Governors of Iowa: Robert D. Ray

Robert D. Ray defied modern political definition. This hour-long documentary provides an intimate profile of Ray, known for his even-handed approach to governing Iowa. Among his many challenges was to bring Iowa politically and culturally into the 20th century. His lasting legacy of welcoming refugees during the late 1970s forever changed the state's cultural fabric. “I was just writing to say my husband and I LOVED the Governors of Iowa program. As lifelong Iowans we really have never heard much about the Iowa Governors except the ones who served during our lifetime (we are 53). I would love to see more episodes covering the earlier Iowa Governors as well! Thank you!" -- Ginger France, October 2022

Des Moines Metro Opera Presents A Thousand Acres

Based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Jane Smiley, this modern retelling of Shakespeare’s “King Lear” is set on an Iowa farm in the late 1970s. It explores the ideas of family conflict, patriarchy, and the strength and fragility of the ties that bind us together. This Iowa PBS-exclusive production includes behind-the-scenes footage of the making of “A Thousand Acres” and interviews with the cast and creators of this world premiere opera. Of Gravity and Light

This new production from Ballet Des Moines and Iowa PBS explored the beauty and wonder of space with ethereal imagery, abstract sound and remarkable movement. The program exemplifies how the universal language of music and movement can make complex concepts more human and accessible to audiences of all ages. In addition to the broadcast, curriculum supporting the performance concepts that connect with science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM), as well as earth and space science standards, was developed through a partnership between Iowa PBS, Ballet Des Moines, Iowa 4-H and Iowa Space Grant Consortium.

Historic Buildings of Iowa: Dubuque

Explore the wonders of the “Masterpiece on the Mississippi” in Iowa PBS’s hour-long documentary. This locally produced program showcases the intricate history of Iowa’s oldest city through its settlement, industrial booms, faith and iconic downtown structures. Historic Buildings of Iowa: Dubuque features six historic locations and structures that hold prominence to the city's history and help to unlock the greater identity of the town.

"The program was excellent!!" -— Teresa Garrison regarding Historic Buildings of Iowa: Dubuque, December 2022

Facing Suicide in Iowa

Produced in coordination with Twin Cities PBS, this film explores the powerful stories of those impacted by suicide — one of America’s most urgent health crises — and journeys to the front lines of research with scientists whose work is leading to better prevention and treatment. This 30-minute documentary is a hopeful, forward-facing initiative designed to educate and inform adults on the warning signs of teen suicide, destigmatize suicide, and advance the conversation around mental health.

"Larry and I offer our heartfelt and sincere congratulations for your work in producing a really powerful segment. You did a masterful job in presenting the stories and the issue of suicide, and I believe that Iowans will learn a lot by watching it. It is so well done." — Mary Neubauer and Larry Loss, September 2022

Des Moines Symphony Yankee Doodle Pops

The Des Moines Symphony’s 28th Annual Yankee Doodle Pops returned to the Iowa State Capitol in a statewide broadcast for all Iowans to enjoy. Iowa PBS provided live coverage of the popular and patriotic performance with an encore presentation the following Sunday. Yankee Doodle Pops is the largest single-day concert event in Iowa with time-honored patriotic favorites, including the 1812 Overture and Stars and Stripes Forever.

"Super live coverage of the DSM Symphony Yankee Doodle Pops and fireworks! It was a great show and excellent coverage on sound and video. You guys rock!" — Tom Watson, July 2022

Fair 2022

Iowa PBS Fair coverage began with a live broadcast of the 2022 Iowa State Fair Parade. The network livestreamed the 2022 Iowa State Fair Queen Coronation with highlights of the event broadcast at a later date. Fair 2022 included wraps up with the State Fair Talent Championship, the annual competition that showcases some of the amazing talents of Iowa’s youth. Six nightly highlights programs included more than 70 segments from around the fairgrounds: contests, unique stories, food, animals, music and more, these hour-long programs are among the network’s most-watched of the year. In all, there were 585 minutes of content, including 20 live events in social media and 75 individual features, produced by nine reporters and eight videographers over the run of the 11 day Fair.

“Research showed (survey respondents) got their Fair information from PBS… a whopping 19% in 2022. That is amazing and we couldn’t be more excited to work with you guys - mostly because you are awesome, but also because people love your coverage." — Mindy Williamson, Iowa State Fair, September 2022

Gardening with Steil

Iowans dreaming of spring and getting their hands in the dirt can dig into inspiration with the launch of Iowa PBS’s Gardening With Steil as a limited series. In each episode, host Aaron Steil, consumer horticulture extension specialist with ISU Extension and Outreach, plants ideas for a wide variety of projects. From succulents and cutting gardens to fairy gardens and hostas, the series is full of gardening goodness. Gardening with Steil is produced in partnership with Reiman Gardens and Iowa State Extension.

Crafts From the Past

This multiplatform project combined digital content with in-person, hands-on experiences allowing Iowans to explore arts and crafts techniques. A hands-on primer to arts and skill sets once popular with generations past, Crafts From the Past offered weekly online episodes introducing viewers to paper quilling, needle felting, floral arranging, noodle making, stained glass making and tatting, also known as lace making. Photos, videos, articles and more related to each craft were offered on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and iowapbs.org.

“Thank you for showing a variety of programs. I called all my friends, as being of a certain age, to alert them to the program and to let them know that it was re-showing at 9:30 the next night... Thank you, and this proves why I have been a supporter for many years. Keep up the good work!” — Beverly Neuroth, February 2022

Greetings From Iowa

Iowa PBS’s popular digital series was produced for broadcast in 2022 as a weekly 30-minute series. Highlighting communities both big and small, and the various cultures that define what it is to be an Iowan, the series profiled musicians, young artists, community leaders and more. This season covered a variety of topics, with episodes including Unique Spaces, Community Cornerstones, Art Therapy, Celebrating Cultures, Spaces of Learning, Home, Iowa Performers, Unique People, Stories of Iowans and Dance.

Iowa High School Coverage

Iowa PBS is proud to showcase the outstanding accomplishments of Iowa high school students by televising their performances. Iowa PBS was live via broadcast and livestreams to help Iowa students shine when they took the stage, field, court or spotlight. These programs included Iowa State Dance Team Championships, Iowa High School Musical Theater Awards Showcase, Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union Championship Volleyball, Soccer, Softball and Basketball, and features sharing how their love of sports helps them grow as individuals and inspire others.

Iowa Press

Iowa’s longest-running news interview program reached a broadcasting milestone in 2022. Iowa Press began its 50th season in August. Throughout its five decades on the air, the series has engaged the best local journalists to interview experts, politicians and other newsworthy figures while exploring issues of state and national interest. Today, Iowa Press engages the best local journalists to interview experts, political and other newsworthy figures while exploring issues of state and national interest.

"I’m a regular viewer of Iowa Press and today want to comment on how pleased I am with the overall quality of the program. Kay Henderson is outstanding in her moderator position. The questions asked by the panel of reporters are well considered and provide us with much needed information and insight into current issues. This program is one of my primary ways to stay up to date… Thank you for providing an excellent program." — Gloria Billings, May 2022

Condition of the State, Guard and Judiciary 2022

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds presented the Condition of the State address to the 89th Iowa General Assembly in January 2022. Iowa PBS provided live coverage with a web stream along with a primetime broadcast. Iowa PBS offered expanded coverage of state government with livestreams of the State of the Judiciary 2022 and Condition of the Guard 2022.

Iowa Press: Legislative Preview Special

This preview special delved into the issues that impacted the wallets and lives of Iowans in 2022. Exploring the key issues state lawmakers might address in the Iowa legislative session, Iowa Press provided an in-depth view of broadband expansion, the long-time battle over Iowa’s bottle bill and the status of medical marijuana laws in Iowa. This special episode aimed to help Iowans remain informed and engaged in the legislative process.

Iowa Press Debates

Hosted by Iowa Press moderator Kay Henderson, candidates facing off in the June Democratic Primary for Iowa’s U.S. Senate seat, and later in the Midterm Elections for Governor, 1st Congressional District, and Senate, gathered for live debates at Iowa PBS. These hour-long debates were livestreamed on iowapbs.org, YouTube, Twitter and Facebook. Candidates answered questions from a panel of political reporters and discussed their concerns and plans for Iowa’s future. Spanish language interpretation was provided via SAP.

Iowa’s Wild Weather: Flooding

This is the second installment of a multipart series from Iowa PBS. This episode explored how residents are forced to cope with rising floodwaters and examine the causes and responses to Midwestern floods’ increasing frequency and intensity. The program featured State Climatologist of Iowa Dr. Justin Glisan, who expects flooding events in the future to be more intense and potentially more destructive.

Telling Our Own Story

Four films produced by Black Iowan independent filmmakers provide insights on topics that have dominated recent headlines and Black culture since Iowa became a state. The unique perspectives of these filmmakers show what life is like for Black Iowans and provide a window for other cultures to see where similarities and differences exist. In Racism and Its Impact, Filmmaker Terrence Thames explores the basis for how racism took hold in Iowa and why it persists. Thames explores the journey of Black Iowans navigating the nuances of generational wealth in Poverty and the Wealth Gap. In Black History, Professor Venise Berry and filmmaker S. Torriano Berry spotlight Black Iowans who made their mark on the state and world. Journalist Ty Rushing explored racism and discrimination across rural and urban landscapes in Iowa in Ending Racism.

Juneteenth: The Movement

This two-hour live television program featured an array of musical performances that highlighted and celebrated the phenomenal artistry of Iowa’s Black community and culture. The event featured Iowa musical and spoken word performers celebrating the Juneteenth holiday.

The Bright Path: The Johnny Bright Story

Produced by filmmaker Jerald Harkness of Studio Auteur, Iowa PBS presented the broadcast premiere of this story of a Black football player’s leadership, athleticism and courage. A stand-out player on Drake University’s team, Johnny Bright was a clear front-runner to win the 1951 Heisman Trophy. But his life — and the progression of student-athlete safety in college football — would forever change on an October afternoon in 1951.

"I just want to thank you and congratulate you on the Johnny Bright Story I just watched on Iowa PBS. This is a story that everyone should see again. As a 10-12 year old, I marveled at the kind of person he was, not as an athlete but as a person. Well done and be sure to show it again. Thank you." — David Creighton Sr, October 2022

Market to Market

For more than four decades, Market to Market has covered the issues affecting the more than $1 trillion business of agriculture. Whether it’s global trade conflicts, environmental controversies, changing technologies or emerging enterprises, our reporters make it their business to explain the issues faced by the nearly 60 million people who live and work in rural America.

The Film Lounge

Iowa’s only broadcast film festival returned with 10 films produced by Iowa filmmakers, showcasing stirring documentaries, wistful art films and thrilling dramas. Season 6 of Iowa PBS’s The Film Lounge featured two brand-new episodes, sharing the work of talented storytellers and taking Iowa film fans behind the scenes. Episode 601 included the following films: “Frozen Out” by Hao Zhou and Tyler Hill of Iowa City; “Doubt” by Fred Ebong of Cedar Rapids; “Lo/ve” by Tempest Montgomery of Iowa City“; Ghost Creek” by Benjamin Handler of Iowa City; and, “Birdsong” by Paul Huenemann of Cedar Rapids. Episode 602 included the following films: “Earth FM” by Philip Rabalais of Fairfield; “A Seussian Trip” by Cynthia O’Hern, Katie Jensen and Bruce James Bales of Des Moines; “Green Witch” by Antoinette Lavalle of Des Moines; “Debut” by Connor Hopkins of Decorah; and, “The Atmosphere” by Amenda Tate of Des Moines. The series is produced by Iowa PBS in partnership with the Iowa Arts Council and Produce Iowa.

World Food Prize Laureate Award Ceremony

Iowa PBS’s production of the 2022 World Food Prize featured a night of remembrance, pageantry, music and a celebration of agricultural breakthroughs in the battle against global hunger. The 2022 prize was awarded to Cynthia Rosenzweig for her seminal contributions to understanding and predicting the impacts of the interaction between climate and food systems. The ceremony was live streamed at IowaPBS.org and on YouTube, then highlights were broadcast later to a statewide audience.

Award-Winning Production

Iowa PBS was honored with a Public Media Award from the National Educational Telecommunications Association (NETA) during the 54th Annual Public Media Awards. Iowa PBS took home an award in the Innovation in Education category for Iowa Science Phenomena, a growing, online collection of science resources created, curated and collected by Iowa educators and Iowa PBS for use in the classroom. The collection emphasizes the identification and publication of Iowa-specific phenomena, particularly those that represent locally relevant or unique concepts, and connects them with Iowa Core science curriculum.

The PMAs are a national honor for public television's finest work in community engagement, content, education, marketing/communications, independent productions and overall excellence. With the exception of the Overall Excellence category, stations compete within their divisions based on their station size. Awards are judged by a group of expert panelists from within the public media system, as well as industry professionals working outside of public media.

Iowa PBS was named a PMA finalist in two additional categories: Overall Excellence in Education for the Iowa PBS Education team, and in Short Form for In Their Words: Metal Artist.

The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences – Upper Midwest Chapter honored Iowa PBS with seven 2022 Emmy® Award nominations:

  • Documentary - Topical - Iowa’s Wild Weather: Flooding
  • Arts/Entertainment - Short Form Content - Greetings From Iowa: The Aerialist
  • Arts/Entertainment- Long Form Content - Des Moines Metro Opera Presents The Queen of Spades
  • Business/Consumer - Short or Long Form Content - Market to Market: Episode 4702
  • Children/Youth/Teen - Wander & Wonder: First Thanksgiving
  • Children/Youth/Teen - FIND Iowa: Nahant Marsh
  • Graphic Arts - Motion Graphics / Visual Effects / Compositing - Iowa State Fair coverage graphics package

Iowa PBS’s exceptional work has earned the statewide network 22 Regional Emmy® awards over the past thirteen years.

PBS recognized Friends of Iowa PBS Foundation Leadership Giving Officer Blair Ryan with an individual achievement award. The announcement was made during PBS’s annual gathering of member stations and recognized outstanding achievement in fundraising efforts on the local level. The Development Rising Star Award recognized Ryan as an up-and-coming development leader in the PBS system. In less than two years — and through extraordinary working conditions — she was able to secure nearly $700,000 in Corporate Support. Ryan is also responsible for securing funding from a major financial institution to translate content into Spanish and better serve Iowa’s growing Hispanic population.

Iowa PBS was recognized for work in three large market television award categories at the 2022 Iowa Broadcast News Association (IBNA) annual convention and awards event. Our Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union Softball and Basketball coverage received first place for SPORTS PLAY-BY-PLAY category.

Market to Market producer John Torpy received second place in the FARM AND AGRIBUSINESS category for his feature: Country View Dairy. Market to Market producer Josh Buettner received a third place award for PUBLIC AFFAIRS for his feature on water quality. Iowa PBS competes in the large market television category against stations in the Waterloo/Cedar Rapids, Council Bluffs/Omaha and Des Moines TV markets.

The Iowa PBS YouTube channel crossed a threshold very few PBS channels have so far - 100,000 subscribers. YouTube awarded Iowa PBS with a Silver Creator Award in 2022 to recognize our channel size. Our network's YouTube channel began in 2007 and now has more than 6,000 video uploads with nearly 70 million lifetime video views.

Educational Resources Overview

“Our library and community LOVE your programs!!! I can’t even stress the amount of compliments that we have gotten from parents and the kids, along with our staff! Every single program so far has been great!... Thanks so much for all of the great programs!” — Apryl Henrichs, Little Rock Public Library, 2022

Iowa PBS Education believes that the research-based programs it provides engage children and enhance their learning. In addition to Iowa PBS’s high-quality educational media and resources available to those teaching young children, on-air and online resources shared with local school districts, home learning support by program collections grouped by grade and educational themes so parents and kids can learn together. These are some of the educational services Iowa PBS provided in 2022: Iowa PBS’s Education team participated in over 300 separate events since July 1st. We engaged with over 20,000 Iowans throughout the year, and reached over 11,000 Iowans through our educational presentations and event offerings. We drove over 28,000 miles across Iowa, supporting childcare centers, schools, libraries and families.

Iowa PBS’s Educational Services staff works in communities throughout the state providing educational resources as well as teacher professional development from kindergarten through grade 12. Iowa PBS helps teachers get started with an eight week course for elementary teachers, focused on instructional media use in the classroom, Iowa PBS resources and the best educational resources available through PBS LearningMedia, PBS Scratch Jr. lessons and STEM activities that nurture problem solving and design thinking, helping kids across Iowa learn STEM skills in a hands-on manner.

Again in 2022, Iowa PBS participated in the Iowa 4-H Reporters program in early August. A cohort of 4-H high school students were invited to a training workshop where they received instruction from Iowa PBS professionals in script writing, audio recording, interviewing and video editing basics. The one-day camp provided an opportunity for students with an interest in media and communications to learn more about the industry and produce actual news media during the Iowa State Fair. After a training session on the Iowa State Fair fairgrounds, the 4-H Reporters spent a day helping Iowa PBS cover the Fair.

"I have been so appreciative of all the resources you have provided for my classroom this year! Not only has your time in our classroom been fun and exciting, but all of the materials you have brought to us have been amazing! My students love when they see your visit coming up on the calendar! Thank you for all you have provided this year! We will miss you!” — Chelsea Kenyon, West Bend Pre-K Teacher, 2022

PBS LearningMedia

More than 99,900 Iowa users were registered for PBS LearningMedia, an online service connecting students and teachers to video assets and interactive learning experiences, in 2022. Iowa PBS currently has 547 published resources of locally produced, original content shared in PBS LearningMedia.

For Educators

PBS LearningMedia provides high-quality, trusted digital content and solutions that inspire students and transform learning. It engages educators and learners at all levels. PBS LearningMedia offers teachers more than 100,000 videos, images, interactives, lesson plans and articles drawn from critically acclaimed PBS programs. Productivity tools enable deeper engagement with content. Every resource created showcases the subject, grade level and alignment to national and Common Core standards, and is presented within the hierarchies of commonly taught topical areas

For Students

PBS LearningMedia is a teacher-managed environment that allows students of any age to create their own learning experiences by engaging directly with innovative, curriculum-targeted content. It invites a unique opportunity for students to take control of their own learning. Students can create their own storyboards to demonstrate their mastery of curriculum concepts, bringing their digital projects to life through video, images and text. Self-paced lessons allow students to pause, ask questions and interact with content at their own pace.

Professional Development

Iowa PBS Education provides free training opportunities statewide. More than 11,000 Iowans were trained through Iowa PBS educational services and events in the past year. The team works with educators and families to identify the best free resources to meet their needs. The team also supports STEM festivals, literacy nights, family nights and more by providing sessions or booths. Educators can explore an area of interest or meet professional development requirements in a supportive online environment. PBS TeacherLine offers paid, facilitated courses throughout the year in a variety of subjects, self-paced courses to enhance classroom instruction and a variety of training tools to help improve 21st century teaching skills.

Early Childhood Resources Birth to Age 8

Iowa PBS’s Early Childhood site provides information and resources supporting the development of young children. With articles addressing children’s development and support for those caring for young children, we provide access to high-quality educational media resources to those caring for and teaching young children, as well as training to support the use of those resources.

“The Iowa PBS Ready for School program that visits my classroom has been amazing. They not only provide great lessons and activities for my students when they visit, but they also leave classroom supplies and resources for our students. We are so grateful to be included in the Ready for School program. Thank you to Iowa PBS for this amazing program! Your support will have an impact on students in our district for years to come.” — Leah Hayes, Keota Preschool Teacher, 2022

Ready for School

Our Ready for School initiative has now provided services to 184 Iowa communities. Iowa PBS’s commitment to early childhood education continued with the expansion of its Ready for School initiative in 2022. Ready for School resources help Iowa communities’ efforts to strengthen the math and literacy skills of children ages 2-8, especially those from low-income families. Iowa PBS provides access to high-quality educational media resources to families, care providers and educators as well as training to support the effective use of those resources.

Ready for School focuses on giving all children equal opportunity to succeed. Iowa PBS provided access to high-quality educational media resources including online games, instructional materials and educational activities that help children increase their school readiness and success. The multimedia content and related activities are based upon the work of educational children’s programming from PBS, such as The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That!, Odd Squad, Molly of Denali, Peg + Cat, Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood and Super WHY!.

The 2022-2023 Ready for School communities are associated with the following school districts:

AGWSR Community, Ar-We-Va Community, Charter Oak-Ute Community, Clarion-Goldfield-Dows Community, Colo-NESCO Community, East Marshall Community, Gilmore City-Bradgate Community, Iowa Falls-Alden Community, Lu Verne Community, North Tama County Community, Northwood-Kensett Community, Rudd-Rockford-Marble Rock Community, Southeast Valley, Stratford Community, Tripoli Community, Twin Rivers Community, West Hancock Community

Ready to Learn

Ready to Learn is an effective children’s media program targeted toward America’s most at-risk kids, but made available to all families and children. Ready to Learn’s high-quality transmedia content is unparalleled in its impact, value and necessity. The math and science-based educational programming created by Ready to Learn provides families with effective, non-commercial content that helps prepare kids for success in school. These opportunities were offered free of charge to participants thanks to the Ready to Learn grant.

School-Age Resources

Collections of multimedia activities based on particular themes target math, technology, social and emotional learning, engineering and much more. These out-of-school programs deepen children’s understanding of content using combinations of online games, video segments, mobile content and hands-on activities:

  • Fun Investigating New Discoveries (FIND) Iowa encourages students in grades 2-5 to investigate our state through the use of immersive and interactive learning content. Investigations are organized by theme, with each theme having multiple subtopics. Teachers and parents are encouraged to use each trip’s guide to engage students in discussion and further learning as students use the site — even visiting these fascinating locations across the state for real-world learning experiences.
  • Iowa Land and Sky developed classroom lessons with a team of veteran Iowa science teachers. The lessons are anchored in engaging, question-provoking environmental phenomena and provide authentic, Iowa-based approaches for middle school science classrooms. The project’s educational resources help students explore ideas and issues surrounding Iowa’s unique geologic history and landforms, water quality, land use, the environmental diversity of Iowa’s plants and animals, and the impacts of climate change on the state.
  • Iowa PBS’s Iowa Pathways is an online learning environment that challenges students to create their own story of the state as they explore the people, places, events and ideas of Iowa. This award-winning website helps students choose topics that interest them as they examine relationships among Iowa concepts—past to present.
  • Market to Market Classroom connects learners with stories about the science, technology, culture and business of agriculture from the nation’s longest-running agribusiness television program. Visitors can explore the stories and gain a deeper understanding of the people, issues and events that shape agriculture today.
  • Developed for use in middle and high school classrooms, Mission US engages students in the study of transformational moments in American history. Each mission consists of an interactive game and a set of curriculum materials that are aligned to national standards and feature document-based activities. The Educator’s Guide includes primary source documents that show the broader social, political and economic context of events. PBS LearningMedia provides a central destination for educators to access current and relevant content from more than 200 respected public media partners. Here are three examples based on PBS broadcast programs:
  • American Experience provides more than 1,500 features from more than 110 American Experience websites — including timelines, primary sources, teacher’s guides, maps, galleries, interactives, video and more — to find history, civics and other social studies resources for classroom use.
  • Nature Online is the award-winning web companion to the broadcast series and is spearheading Nature’s distribution to new media platforms. Visitors can stream full episodes of Nature programs, watch behind-the-scenes video exclusives with filmmakers and producers, view program excerpts and find fun interactives and online features.
  • NOVA produces an extensive list of resources and original content—including short-form videos, science and education blogs. NOVA Next, an award-winning digital publication features in-depth articles and commentaries from some of the most respected journalists, scientists and engineers; and NOVA Labs, a groundbreaking digital platform where citizen scientists can actively participate in the scientific process. In the classroom, NOVA Education tailors digital resources for STEM educators and offers a free educator library aligned to teaching standards.
“Spending time with your kids is the best part of summer. PBS Education is a great help in choosing a road trip, or weekend vacation.” — Catherine Anne Gartzke, 2022

STEM & STEAM Learning

Iowa PBS offers opportunities to explore new ideas and new worlds related to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics learning through television, online content and interactive STEM activities. Our interactive STEM booths include Discovering Senses, Ecosystems, Stargazing and Ooblick. Our Education Staff brings these interactive activity booths to STEM events all around Iowa.

During 2022, Iowa PBS shared our STEAM trailer filled with fun and interesting manipulatives designed to provide interesting and fun lessons for children. The STEAM trailer was made available to schools and libraries throughout the state for extended stays, allowing them to be used for classes and program events.

Our continued partnership with the Iowa Governor's STEM Advisory Council has grown from hosting two teacher externs each summer to incorporating Iowa Science Phenomena into the teacher externship program as the anchoring project-based learning unit the teachers need to create during their externship. These local phenomena are able to be added to the Iowa Science Phenomena website, amplifying the number of phenomena, coverage of the standards, and breadth across the state.

"Iowa PBS has offered teachers a high quality source of enrichment for students in their learning of science through the Iowa Science Phenomena project. Our students have benefited from this resource being used to widen their awareness and comprehension of science happening locally in our state. The concrete experiences students are able to have because of Iowa Science Phenomena allow abstract concepts to be understood at a deeper level.” — Dr. Hallie Edgerly, Eighth Grade Science Teacher 2022

Community Outreach Overview

Iowa PBS serves Iowans beyond its broadcast. We strive to ensure a position of public trust and equity across today’s multi-platform landscape by developing a strategic engagement plan that builds upon the network’s position as a thought leader and convener in early childhood education, public policy and arts and culture. We serve as a community resource for quality television programs, educational services, civil and civic engagement with outreach projects and involvement in the community. In 2022, Iowa PBS hosted 338 virtual and in-person events.

Total Iowans reached: 71,841

High School Mentorship Program

Iowa PBS’s High School Mentorship Program broadens opportunities for minority and female high school students in Iowa. Students are able to observe and gain hands-on experience in all aspects of media journalism including videography, lighting and set design, video editing, graphic design, web production and storytelling.

Two Des Moines area students, Abrianna Hilson, a senior at North High School this fall, and Audrey Evans-McFarland, a senior at Roosevelt High School, participated in the 2022 Iowa PBS Mentorship Program. During their time in the program they shadowed the production, graphics, promotions and emerging media departments to find out more about careers in media production. Part of their mentorship experience included creating a 4- to 6-minute feature story about what they learned.

Special Events and Speeches

Iowa PBS hosts events, often in partnership with community organizations, to premiere upcoming programs and engage viewers in dialogue surrounding the topics of significance to Iowans.

“Iowa PBS is a great educational partner, providing quality, relevant resources and support. Projects like the Iowa Science Phenomena provide real connections to Iowa's natural resources and systems and have been incredibly useful in connecting our conservation education programs like Project WILD to Iowa Core in Science… The Iowa DNR's education and outreach efforts have benefited from a host of PBS resources, like Iowa Outdoors, Young Explorers, and Celebrate Earth Day.” — Barb Gigar, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, 2022


By building upon the case for ongoing public and philanthropic support; by developing new partnerships with like-minded organizations to broaden impact; and by driving Iowa PBS as a true public/private partnership; Iowa PBS plans to leverage its noncommercial, public-service mission to multiply its impact for communities and for the state. The network’s plans for the future promise opportunities to better serve the educational, informational and inspirational needs of Iowans, guided by a strategic plan that puts the audience first. This statewide public television network is well positioned for the future.