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Bulletin Board


Jan. 11, 2012
GWAEA Board Meeting, 5:00 p.m.


In this issue:

Branstad-Reynolds administration recommendation
Iowa students sought for new state advisory group
iPad Update
Erica Larson
Upcoming dates
Nation-wide survey to support geographic education
Health Matters at Work
Live Healthy Iowa registration
Halibut! America's Favorite
TQ Proposal Application Date - Feb. 15
GWAEA Professional Development Opportunities
GWAEA Webinars
Vacancies, Jan. 6, 2012



Past Issues

December 16, 2011

December 9, 2011

December 2, 2011

November 18, 2011

November 11, 2011

November 4, 2011

October 28, 2011

October 21, 2011

October 14, 2011

October 7, 2011
September 30, 2011

September 23, 2011

September 16, 2011

September 9, 2011

September 2, 2011

August 26, 2011

August 19, 2011

August 12, 2011

July 29, 2011

July 15, 2011

July 1, 2011

June 17, 2011

June 3, 2011

Archive issues of The Bulletin Board




Branstad-Reynolds administration unveils final recommendations for world-class schools

Gov. Terry Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds today released their final recommendations for restoring Iowa’s standing as a leader in education and preparing all students to compete for jobs in a global economy.
The document represents an overview of proposed education legislation that will be presented by the Governor and Lt. Governor in the 2012 session.
The recommendations stay true to three key areas outlined in a blueprint for education reform released by the Branstad-Reynolds administration in October: highly effective teachers and leaders, high expectations for all students with fair measures for results, and innovation that boosts learning.
“Iowans have played a critical role as we’ve worked to elevate the conversation about improving our schools,” Branstad said. “These proposals will put us on the path to make Iowa schools among the best in the world.”
World-class schools are one of four top priorities set by Branstad and Reynolds. The administration has worked for the past year to carve out a long-term, reform-minded policy direction that builds from Iowa’s strengths and adopts improvements with lessons learned from the highest-performing systems in the world.
In July, the Branstad-Reynolds administration convened an education summit to discuss ideas about what it takes to lead the world in education.
As part of the summit, the Iowa Department of Education released a report, “Rising to Greatness: An Imperative for Improving Iowa’s Schools.” The report documented Iowa’s stagnation in math and reading competency compared to other states and nations.
The education blueprint released in October was a starting point for meaningful change. Members of the Branstad-Reynolds administration traveled the state last fall to listen to ideas at dozens of town hall meetings.
One change made as a result of input from Iowans: Doing more, beginning in preschool, to help students read by the end of third grade. At that point, most students go from “learning to read” to “reading to learn.” Students who finish third grade without meeting basic literacy requirements across a broad set of measures would be retained and provided intensive reading assistance.
Another change adds state standards for music and other fine arts, applied arts, physical education, character education and entrepreneurship education.
“We all share a common goal of giving our students a first-rate education,” Reynolds said. “We look forward to engaging Iowans in this ongoing discussion as we work together to find the best solutions for our state.”

Key proposals include:
·         Be more selective about who can become an educator by requiring a 3.0 grade-point average to gain admission into teacher preparation programs.
·         Candidates for teaching licensure must pass a test demonstrating content-specific and teaching knowledge.
·         Evaluate teachers annually instead of every three years, which is the current requirement. Principals and superintendents also would be evaluated each year.
·         Widen the pathways to alternative teacher licensure with a number of quality assurance checks.
·         Make seniority a minor factor in deciding which teachers are laid off by a school district faced with reducing the workforce. Annual evaluations based on performance should be the main factor.
·         Establish state task forces to study important long-term issues, such as teacher leadership, compensation and questions about extending the school day or school year.
·         Give all preschool students and enrolled 4-year-olds a kindergarten readiness assessment to determine early literacy and numeracy skills.
·         High school students will take end-of-course exams in core academic areas of algebra, English, science and U.S. history to make sure they have a solid foundation before they graduate and to better align high school courses to the Iowa Core.
·         All 11th grade students take a college entrance exam as a way to provide one of the keys needed for postsecondary education. Phase out the current 11th grade assessment, the Iowa Tests of Educational Development.
·         Eliminate requirements around seat time for academic credit to accommodate school districts that choose to adopt a system of competency-based education, which advances students based on their mastery of subjects.
·         Widen the pathway for starting charter schools by giving the State Board of Education authority to approve charter applications from universities, community colleges and nonprofit organizations, as well as collaborative efforts of all these groups. Iowa’s current charter school law is restrictive in that it only allows existing school districts to establish charter schools.
·         Give school districts greater flexibility to meet state requirements so that public schools can better apply innovative ideas to improve learning. School districts would have the same flexibility that charter schools have.


For more information, please visit .

Iowa students sought for new state advisory group

Iowa students are invited to apply for a seat on a new state advisory council formed by Iowa Department of Education Director Jason Glass.


The Learning Council, which will be made up of 15 students, complements efforts by the Branstad-Reynolds administration and Director Glass to get input from various stakeholders across the state on transforming Iowa's education system. The administration will release a comprehensive education package on Friday that focuses on three key areas: highly effective educators, high expectations for all students with fair measures for results, and innovation that boosts learning.


"Students deserve a seat at the table in discussions about the future of their schools," Glass said. "I look forward to hearing their input and ideas."


Students enrolled in grades 8-12 from public and nonpublic schools in Iowa may apply for a seat. Meetings will take place in March, May, September and December. Council members also will communicate via e-mail.


Applications can be found on the Iowa Department of Education website and must be returned by Jan. 31. Students who are chosen to serve on the council will be notified by Feb. 10.

iPad Update 1/6/12

by Stacy Behmer, Coordinator of Digital Learning

Agency Purchased Apps Update

We are in the process of distributing the last of the Agency iTunes account usernames and passwords. If you placed an order for Apps then you received an email with a form to sign up and come in and pick up your account information. We will be scheduling a time at the Southern Facility to distribute account information as well. I will send out an email next week when we finalize those times.


If you have already received your Agency iTunes account information we are starting to send out your additional codes. You will be sent an individual email with a link to a Google doc that contains directions about how to redeem your apps along with your codes.

Once all the Tier 1 apps have been distributed we will be getting to the Tier 2 apps. I appreciate your patience with this process. We have over 3000 app codes to distribute to everyone and we aren’t done yet!

Professional Development
Workshops are coming! I am hoping we have our first workshops ready to go at the end of January or beginning of February. Keep an eye on the Bulletin Board and GWAEA iPad Calendar to find out when those are being held.

You can also stop by iPad Central during help desk hours if you have any questions or email!


Other Info

  • Remember to sign up for the user group to get more information!

  • We will be coming to region meetings and bringing some of the accessories we have gathered to show people.

  • Apps will be placed on a device at iPad Central soon, so you can “play” with an app before you decide to order it in the future.

App of the Week

DocuSign Ink

This week’s App of the Week comes from Dustin Reese, School Psychologist. The App is DocuSign Ink- your Personal Electronic Signature! Never print, scan, fax, ship or use a pen again to sign and send documents! With DocuSign Ink, you can sign and return any document on your iPhone or iPad in seconds!

We are sorry to report that GWAEA Science Consultant Erica Larson has been diagnosed with leukemia. She is in the University of Iowa hospital. Her room number is 7084 and she is in 7 RCS (Roy Carver South) which is the Adult Leukemia and Bone Marrow Transplant unit.  She will probably be there for the next month. She may be absent from work for up to six months. However, she can see visitors, as long as they are very healthy, since her immune system is currently compromised. She would appreciate your prayers of support and healing. Cards may be sent to her at:  200 Hawkins Drive, Iowa City, Iowa 52242. She also has a care page through the hospital. Contact Dawn Hrabek if you would like to access it.

Upcoming dates

Capitol Girls - Submissions due Jan. 13, 2012

You are invited to be a part of Capitol Girls on February 8, 2012. High school girls from across Iowa will convene in Des Moines to learn about the workings of the Iowa General Assembly and have an opportunity to shadow women legislators and learn about how state laws and budgets are developed and passed.

The day will begin at 7:30 a.m. with an inside look at the Iowa General Assembly. Girls will be introduced in both the Iowa Senate and Iowa House of Representatives, and then paired with legislators.

Don’t miss this exciting opportunity to be involved in the 3rd annual Capitol Girls! Space is limited to 30 girls. Please complete application at and submit to or by fax to 515- 242-6119 by January 13, 2012 to be considered.

Write Women Back Into History Essay Contest - Deadline is Jan. 27, 2012

To give students a deeper and more relevant appreciation of women’s roles in history and celebrate March as Women’s History Month, the Iowa Commission on the Status of Women, Iowa Department of Education, and the State Historical Society of Iowa invite teachers to encourage their students to enter the 28th Annual Write Women Back Into History Essay Contest.
2012 Theme: Women’s Education – Women’s Empowerment
A student’s own thoughts on the significance of the woman’s contributions are important. Essays should identify 1) why the woman should be written into history (i.e., what meaningful contributions has she made to her community, the state, nation, or world?), and 2) why she is important to the student. Students should consider what people would learn about us from this essay 50 years from now. A successful essay will discuss why the student researched, read about or interviewed, and found the subject to be a role model; it should not merely be a biographical sketch. The guidelines and entry form can be found here.

Please pass on to other leaders and students who may want to enter. Please feel free to contact Lori SchraderBachar at (515) 281-4470 or with any questions.

Nominate A History Teacher - Nominations due Feb. 1, 2012

Do you know an outstanding K-12 teacher passionate about teaching American history? Full-time educators who teach American history are welcome to apply for the Gilder Lehrman Institute Preserve America History Teacher of the Year award.

The National History Teacher of the Year Award gives $10,000 to the best American history teacher. The national winner is chosen from outstanding teachers in each state, district, and U.S. territory. State winners receive $1,000 and an archive of books and other resources for their school. The award is sponsored by the Gilder Lehrman Institute, Preserve America, and HISTORY (The History Channel). Nominations can be made by a student, parent, colleague, supervisor, or other education professional familiar with the teacher’s work. Candidates must have at least three years’ experience teaching American history and plan to teach for at least one year following the award year.

Elementary teachers (K-6) and middle/high school teachers (7-12) are honored in separate categories in alternate years. Middle and high school teachers will be considered for the 2012 award, and nominations are due by February 1, 2012. (Elementary teachers will be considered for the 2013 award.) All nominations  must be submitted on the Gilder Lehrman Web site: . For more information contact

Nation-wide survey to support Geographic Education

The American Geographical Society (AGS) is conducting a nation-wide survey of public attitudes toward geography and knowledge about geography.  This is the organization's part in a major study funded by the National Science Foundation.  This “Roadmap” project is a joint effort of the National Geographic Society, the National Council for Geographic Education, the Association of American Geographers, and AGS.  The overall topic is geographic literacy, a matter of serious concern in America today.  We invite all U. S. citizens and long term residents of the United States to take the survey.  The only eligibility requirement is that you must be age 18 or older.  The results will help guide Federal and state policies regarding geographic education.


You may access the survey online by clicking the following link:  AGS Geographic Knowledge and Values Survey. It is estimated the survey will take 12 to 18 minutes to complete. Please share the survey link with others.

Health Matters at Work e News

Visit the January 2012 issue for monthly health tips and health awareness news.

Thank you!

Thank you to everyone who saved the pink Yoplait lids! The year we will be sending in 555 lids and there was also 30 lids for Dannon which I did online for breast cancer research.  Every dime for each lid is important for funding the research that helps save lives.  
Stacy Murphy

A huge thanks for everyone who “adopted” an animal shelter tag off our 3rd annual Angel tree! All of the tags were adopted by Dec. 15.  The gifts were delivered to the Vinton Animal Shelter on Christmas Eve morning. Every animal experienced a special holiday until they find their forever home (hopefully soon!).  The shelter is completely run by volunteers and is a no kill shelter that works hard for homeless animals 365 days of the year. I appreciate everyone for pitching in to help these dogs and cats know they are thought of during the holidays.


Stacy Murphy


Morty enjoys a
new toy.

The Live Healthy Iowa 100 Day Wellness Challenge


Dates of Challenge: Jan. 23 – May 1, 2011



Registration for the The Live Healthy Iowa 100 Day Wellness Challenge is available as part of the agency's Google Site under the Category "Agency Wide" and "Wellness."


Live Healthy Iowa is a fun, easy and affordable way to engage Iowans in healthy behaviors. This team-based physical activity, nutrition and weight loss program is designed to promote positive changes leading to a healthier lifestyle.


For more information and an FAQ, visit or contact Connie Dvorak or Stacy Murphy.

Halibut! America's Favorite!

First session is Jan. 10!

Three workshops for AEA staff on the

Iowa AEA Online resources and Iowa Core:

  • Support Reading

  • Concept Learning and Research

  • Increase Opportunities to Learn

Open the GWAEA website, click on PD, scroll to learning for GWAEA staff - and that is where the workshops are posted. Log in and sign up.  And that is all that is needed to be hooked!



See attached flyer for dates and registration information.

Grant Wood AEA Webinars

Visit the link above for a current schedule, registration information, and archives of the
Grant Wood AEA webinars. The next webinar is Feb. 1: Top 10 Picks in Technology, 19030-11-01.

The next TQ Professional Development proposal application date is Feb. 15

The proposal templates and directions are on the GWAEA Staff Portal under the Teacher Quality Committee link. Please use the updated proposal template from the web.


Teacher Quality Update – Professional Development Dollar, September, 2011

Grant Wood AEA Professional Development opportunities

Professional Development Announcements – January 2012

For a complete listing of all upcoming trainings:


For more information, contact Sherry Sines, Professional Development Coordinator,
ext. 6517.

Vacancies, Adobe PDF logo Jan. 6, 2012


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Grant Wood Area Education Agency extends equal opportunities in its employment practices, educational programs and services, and does not discriminate on the basis of color, gender, race, national origin, religion, creed, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, disability, veteran status or as otherwise prohibited by law. If you believe you or your child has been discriminated against or treated unjustly, please contact the Agency’s Equity Coordinator, Maria Cashman, at 319-399-6847 or 800-332-8488 or TDD 319-399-6766, Grant Wood AEA, 4401 Sixth St SW, Cedar Rapids, IA 52404.

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