Cancellations      Contact Us      Educators      GWAEA Staff      Home      Parents/Students      Search      Site Map      Translate      
Grant Wood Area Education Agency

The Bulletin Board logo

In this issue:

Mark your calendars!
Winter or Emergency Closure Information Will Be Automated
Flood Wall Work Begins Soon
Are You an Influencer?
PEC launches "Play and Learn of East Central Iowa"
Cost Lowered for Flu Shots

K-Cup coffee orders
Youth invited to Kids Care service project on Oct. 17
Upcoming TQ Professional Development proposal submission dates
Mandatory Training certificates of completion to Professional Development by Oct. 29
“The Agency” Will Play This Weekend
Lunch and Learn planned Oct. 20

Tennis anyone?
Grant Wood AEA Holiday Craft Show 2010
Grant Wood AEA Professional Development opportunities
Grant Wood AEA Webinars
Grant Wood AEA Online Resources Webinars
Vacancies, October 8, 2010

Mark your calendars!

Oct. 20, 5:30 p.m.


GWAEA Board meeting

Oct. 29, 7:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.


GWAEA Holiday Craft Show 2010

Winter or Emergency Closure Information Will Be Automated

In an effort to improve communication during severe weather or emergencies, Grant Wood AEA will implement a telephone broadcast system that will enable the Communications Office to notify all staff households by phone within minutes of an emergency or unplanned event that causes a facility closure.

The system should not be construed as the only decision-making tool for staff when serious winter travel conditions exist. Staff should decide for themselves if travel is safe and warranted. A number of work and calendar change options are available to staff during blizzard and icy road conditions.

This new alerts system is being provided by SchoolReach, a company specializing in automated telephone communications. In the event Grant Wood AEA closes one or more Agency Centers, these closings will be reported on local television and radio stations. The SchoolReach system will serve as an overlay to the public announcements. Currently, we do not plan to use this system for professional development classes being held in the evenings or weekends.

When used, the service will call all phone numbers in our selected staff contact lists and will deliver a recorded message – usually from the Communications Office. The service will deliver the message to both live answer and answering machines. No answers (phones ringing over 40 sec.) and busies will be automatically retried twice in fifteen minute intervals after the initial call.

This new system will require no registration by staff. The service will be set up in the coming month, using the agency's HR database. We will input home and cell phone numbers currently in the database. All staff will receive an email next week indicating what information we currently have available for reaching them.


When we implement the system, we will send messages to both your cell phone and to your home telephone number. If you do not want the agency to call one of these phones, please let us know. Also, if we don't have the correct cell phone or no cell phone listed for you and you would appreciate getting notified on the cell phone, please provide that number to us via a reply email to George Held.

All information and contact numbers are strictly secure. The Communications Office will treat the contact information as confidential and will only use the numbers for the purposes described in this article.

If your phone has caller ID, the ID will display the agency's main switchboard number 319-399-6700. When you get a call from the system, there will be a short pause at the beginning of the message. This usually is only a few seconds pause. Answer your phone as you normally would; “hello” and hold for the message to begin. Multiple “hellos” will delay the message. Inform all family members who may answer your phone of this process.

If you rely on your answering machine to screen calls, the system will detect that your machine has answered and will play the recorded message to your machine. The phone will ring for up to 40 seconds. Make sure that your machine answers after four rings or you may miss the message.

At the end of the message you will be prompted to ‘press any key’ to hear the message again. This can be helpful if a child answers the phone and hands it to a parent, who can then have the message repeated in its entirety.

If you have any questions, please contact George Held in the Communications Office.
SchoolReach, the service provider, uses the best available technology in the industry to detect the difference between human answer and machine or voicemail answer. Here’s how detection works:

  • The system detects and measures the voice energy when the phone is answered.

  • The system measures this energy in combination with the background noise and line impairments.

  • If the system determines that it is a “live” answer, it will immediately start playing the message.

  • If the system determines that it is a machine, it will wait for three full seconds of silence before playing the message with a maximum wait time of twenty seconds.

  • If the system cannot make a determination, it will default to answering machine thus requiring several seconds of silence for the message to play. In this case, you may hear a prompt to “press any key to hear the message immediately.”

Some reasons for false detection may include:

  • Loud background noise; television, radio, general noisy environment.

  • A cordless phone that has static or other foreign noise.

  • Not saying “hello” or repeatedly saying “hello”.

  • Cellular phones which, when called, have the ‘ringback tones’ music option.

  • Answering machine/voice mail greetings which are too long or have long pauses in speech.

What can be done to remedy these problems:

  • Do not say “hello” more than once. If the system detected your answer incorrectly, all noise will reset the three-second counter.

  • If, after you answer, the message does not immediately play, cover the mouthpiece of the phone to cutout all background noise. The message should begin after three seconds.

Please make every effort to provide the agency with current and accurate phone information any time there is a change to ensure that you do not miss important information. In an effort to confirm that we have correct contact phone numbers for you, we will send you an email next week with the current numbers we have in our HR database. In some cases, where staff have asked that no one have this data, we will have blanks in the database. We ask that you provide at least one number to the communications office for input into the SchoolReach system. Again, this data will not be shared with anyone else and will be secure.

Flood Wall Work Begins Soon

As early as next week, the construction firm that won the bid for building a flood wall for the Sixth Street office could begin work. The flood wall will incorporate some of the building's current structures. The wall in front of the conference center currently goes several feet into the ground. The concrete cap on top of this wall will be removed and a stone cap will be added, increasing the height to about a foot over the 2008 flood level. To the west of the building, a curved wall will be constructed. Its appearance will be the same as the south face of the building and will tie into the building midway on the west face of the building. 

The east side will have a similar wall that will be in place to the sidewalk where staff enter the back of the building. 

Once the wall is built it will incorporate a slot or a track which will accept a metal flood gate. These gates will be at the entry to each of the sidewalks coming into the building. The flood gates will be kept in storage and used should a flood occur again.

The north side of the building will be covered with a waterproof barrier that will cover the wall to a height that is a foot over the flood level of 2008. This barrier will be covered so that it matches the texture of the building.  This will cover the seam where the building sits on the foundation and together with the flood doors installed earlier should keep water from seeping in through any existing cracks.

Inconvenience during construction should be minimal. During the construction work, entrances to the conference center may be limited to only one door. One of the entrances will be open at all times—watch for signs and barriers to guide you.  

The construction is expected to be completed by December.

Are You an Influencer?

Are you facing challenges in your work that have you stumped?  Have you said to yourself, “I give up!”  Are you someone who wants to make a difference?  Do you wish you had more influence on others?

Please join us in the opportunity to explore and learn from influence experts about the skills and strategies of influence as shared in the book, Influencer.  We will examine the six sources of influence as described by the authors and through conversation with each other, share and grow the practice of influence strategies in our own work!

We will be meeting on the following dates from 3:30– 4:30 p.m.: 
12/1/10 – Staff Conference Room, 6th St.
1/24/11 – Staff Conference Room, 6th St.
2/15/11- Staff Conference Room, 6th St.
4/6/11 – Room 221, 33rd Ave.

Please RSVP to Kelley Martin by November 8.   Please indicate if you plan to attend all of the dates or which dates you think you will be attending; and if you need an Influencer book.  Also indicate if you have an interest participating via Skype from the Coralville office.

Kelley Martin
319-399-6801 or 800-332-8488 ext 6801

We look forward to this opportunity to learn together as a community of influencers!

Maria Cashman, Associate Administrator & Kelly Jones, School Improvement Consultant

Who shall set a limit to the influence of a human being?
               - Ralph Waldo Emerson

PEC launches "Play and Learn of East Central Iowa"

The Parent Education Consortium is offering a new program through a grant funded through United Way of East Central Iowa.

Jennifer Cira, GWAEA parent education outreach specialist, explained that Play and Learn of East Central Iowa will offer organized play groups for young children and the people who care for them – their parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, other family members, and family friends.

Each group will have a facilitator that plans and sets up activities for the children and their caregivers to play together. The play groups are free to attend and pre-registration is not required!  Just drop-in for the learning and fun!

See the attached schedule for a list of upcoming dates and locations. Contact, Jennifer Cira, GWAEA parent education outreach specialist, ext. 6809, for information.

Cost Lowered for Flu Shots



Grant Wood AEA wellness program is offering flu shots again.  The cost will be $26.00 per person.  We have a shorter turn-around time this year, so please let us know right away if you plan to participate.  Contact Barb Aanonson if you plan to participate at the Southern Facility and Nancy Lochner if you plan to participate at the Sixth Street Facility.  Checks will be collected that day and need to be made payable to Grant Wood AEA.

Sixth Street Facility

Coralville Facility

October 12, 2010
7:00 – 9:00 a.m.
Board Room

October 19, 2010
7:00 – 9:00 a.m.
Room A-B



Nancy Lochner     x 6737

Barb Aanonson     x 6211

Please Note:  This is a combined vaccination for seasonal flu and H1N1.

K-Cup coffee orders



The K-Cup coffee orders are filled each Wednesday. Please send your order directly to: or to Payment must be sent to Cathy Nelson, receptionist at the Sixth Street facility, no later than 8:30 a.m. Wednesday morning for the order to be filled that week.

Please make your check payable to U.S. Coffee and Tea Co.

The following link will provide you with the most current listing of coffee, tea, and miscellaneous beverages offered through the U.S. Coffee and Tea Co.

You may mix and match your box of 24 K-cup coffee, tea or cocoa. However, you must select a minimum of 6 K-cups of each flavor. Each box costs $14.00 (.58 per K-cup). Please consider sharing an order with someone.

Youth invited to Kids Care service project on Oct. 17


United Way

The United Way of Johnson County in collaboration with Solon Kids Care is inviting children ages 3-16 to take part in a youth service project in honor of Kids Care Week, October 17-23.

Kids Care Clubs, a program of generationOn, has awarded the United Way of Johnson County a mini-grant of $250 to organize a service project for kids. Kids Care Clubs develop compassion and inspire a spirit of service by providing young people with hands-on volunteer opportunities.

The project, “Make Your Mark on the World: Go the Extra Mile," recognizes the power that kids have to positively impact their community by helping others. Children are invited to decorate reusable grocery totes with pictures or words that demonstrate how someone can make a difference. The totes will then be sold at local stores for a nominal price to raise funds for subsequent Kids Care projects and encourage others to “make their mark on the world.”

This project will take place on Sunday, October 17, at 12:30pm and at 2 p.m. at the Iowa City Public Library, Meeting Rooms B and C. All materials are provided. To register your child, email the United Way of Johnson County at or call Jill, volunteer coordinator, at 319-337-VOLS (8657) with the time you plan to attend. Space is limited. For more information, visit

Upcoming TQ Professional Development proposals submission dates for the 2010-2011 school year:

- November 4, 2010
- February 10, 2011
- April 28, 2011

The proposal templates and directions are on the GWAEA Staff Portal under the Teacher Quality Committee link.

Mandatory Training certificates of completion to
Professional Development by Oct. 29

If you received a notice about completing mandatory training such as Bloodborne Pathogens, Child and Dependent Abuse Mandatory Reporter or Seclusion and Restraint Chapter 103 Rules Overview as a condition of employment and/or licensure, please submit the certificate of completion to the Professional Development office by Oct. 29.  If you have any questions or need assistance to access the training site, please contact the Professional Development office: Sherry Sines, ext. 6517; Tammy Carolan, ext. 6771; or Connie Russell ext. 6767.

“The Agency” Will Play This Weekend

The Agency

Staff who enjoy listening to the Cedar Rapids blues/rock band called “The Agency” will again get a chance to hear the group perform Sunday evening, Oct. 10, from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. on the grounds of the Secret Cellar in Shueyville. Bring a lawn chair and purchase your favorite beverages from the Secret Cellar. There will be no cover charge.

Members of the band include, above, left to right: John Berning, Ron Fielder, Jim Henry, Laura Swiser, Jim Barth, and Chris Swiser.

Cancer Benefit for Teacher's Family

For those of you who know Chris Lafrenz, 5th grade teacher at Cleveland Elementary in Cedar Rapids, the Jefferson High School junior J-Hawk baseball team is hosting a cancer benefit for Chris's family. Both her husband and son have cancer. The benefit will be held Oct. 16 from 1 to 3 p.m. at Jefferson High behind the new gymnasium, and will include carnival games, a dunk tank and a home run derby. Donations may also be made at Hills Bank for the "Lafrenz Family Benefit." Questions may be directed to Sherry Kopecky (phone 389-6303), who co-teaches with Chris.

Lunch and Learn planned
Oct. 20

Cookin' Up A Great Credit Score
Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2010
Noon - 1 p.m.

Grant Wood AEA Sixth St. Facility
Stone Room

To register, sign-in to the online Grant Wood AEA Professional Development and register for course 5560-10-01.


credit score

Seating is limited to 20. Free pizza and beverages will be served. See attached flyer for information.

Cookin' Up A Great Credit Score is offered as a community outreach program by Linn Area Credit Union. Participants are not charged anything, and there is no requirement for participants to be a member of LACU or to join the credit union as a result of this class.

Tennis anyone?

Tennis racquet

Drop by the Wilson School tennis courts after work on Tuesday, Oct. 12, to try something new, dust off those skills or find hitting partners. Play begins at 4:45 p.m. – singles, doubles or rotation depending on turnout. Racquets available upon request, and tennis balls will be provided. If there is interest, we will set a particular day of the week to start regular play in the spring. Call Sandy at ext. 6761 to RSVP.

Grant Wood AEA Holiday Craft Show 2010


Friday, October 29

7:30 a.m. - 4 p.m.


If you would like to participate as a vendor, call or email Erlene Spicer (ext. 6746)
before October 25.

Grant Wood AEA Professional Development opportunities

For more information, contact Sherry Sines, Professional Development coordinator, Ext. 6517.

Grant Wood AEA Webinars

Archives of Grant Wood AEA Webinars and Assistive Technology Webinars are also available.

Grant Wood AEA Online Resources Webinars

Webinars featuring information about the online resources.

Vacancies, Adobe PDF logo October 8, 2010

The Bulletin Board is published and distributed weekly to all GWAEA staff and Board members. Buy, Sell or Trade items are run for 2 consecutive issues, unless we are notified to remove an item. If you wish to submit items, please do so by Wednesday of the week you wish the item to be posted. Send items via email to George Held in the Communications office (

Please note: The Bulletin Board is also posted on the agency's Web site and is publicly accessible. We recommend you use your office or voice mail phone number instead of your home telephone number for any items listed in this newsletter.

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 1-800-332-8488 or TDD 319-399-6766, Grant Wood AEA, 4401 Sixth St SW, Cedar Rapids, IA 52404.

The Bulletin Board is the official employee information publication of Grant Wood Area Education Agency, 4401 Sixth Street, Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52404