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Grant Wood Area Education Agency

Mark your calendars!

Nov. 25, 3 p.m.


Agency closes at 3 p.m. in observance of Thanksgiving

Nov. 27


Agency closed
Agency servers and Web down all day

Dec. 1, 4 p.m


PRIME Benefits meeting, Autumn Rm.

Dec. 8, 11:30 a.m.


Sixth St. Holiday Potluck

Dec. 9


Flexible Spending Plan Election Forms for Year 2010 due
into the Business Office

Dec. 16, 5:30 p.m.


GWAEA Board meeting

Dec. 18, 11:30 a.m.


Coralville Office Holiday Potluck

Dec. 24, 3 p.m.


Agency closes at 3 p.m. for winter break through Jan. 1, 2010

Agency Institutes New Security System for Its Offices

The agency is preparing to implement some new security measures within its facilities. Additional security steps will be added over the next few months. The intent is to match the security practices used by many of the school districts in our area, and to comply with recommendations provided by the Cedar Rapids Police Department.

Wear Your AEA Badge
Beginning Monday, Nov. 30, all agency staff will be required to wear/display their Agency-issued identification badges when in the Sixth Street, 33rd Avenue, and/or Coralville facilities. Staff who have misplaced their ID badges may receive a new replacement at no charge through November and December. Beginning in 2010, staff needing to replace a lost or missing badge will be charged a fee of $10.00.

All visitors (non-agency staff) will be required to register at the front desk, and they will receive a visitor’s badge in order to access areas beyond the conference center. This includes all meeting room areas outside of the conference center.

Visitor badges will be color coded so that Agency staff can quickly identify visitors and understand their access levels. The colors and their significance are:

Teal Badge

  • Individuals with teal-colored badges will have been cleared to be unescorted in the following areas of the building:

    • Media Center

    • Creative Services: print shop and teacher work center

    • Professional Development

    • Human Resources

Lime Green Badge

  • A lime green badge indicate the visitor has permission to be unescorted in the building.

  • Visitors assigned this badge may access the building during regular business hours without escort.

  • This badge will only be assigned to the following parties:

    • Approved Agency vendors in the building to maintain or repair equipment. (e.g. printers, copiers, HVAC, electricians, etc.)

    • Approved Agency sub-contractors and partners needing access to building resources. (e.g. Horizon’s employees who work with early childhood and need to access EA staff).

    • Hearing Booth/Reading Recovery rooms

Red Badge

  • If the visitor has a red badge, they must be escorted throughout the building by a Grant Wood AEA employee in any areas of the building that are NOT part of the Conference Center..

  • Applies to all visitors moving in areas of:

    • Administration

    • Second floor of Sixth and 33rd

    • Technology Services

At either the Coralville or Sixth Street facilities (outside of the conference center or Coralville’s rooms A & B), if you notice an unaccompanied visitor with either a teal or red-colored badge who is wandering through the building, please greet them, ask them where they need to go, and then walk with them to that destination.

If a visitor is in the secured area of the building and they do not have a Grant Wood ID badge, they need to be respectfully escorted back to the front desk to sign-in and get a badge. They may then be escorted to where they need to go.

We appreciate everyone’s understanding as we work to provide better security for both our employees and guests. While we have not had a significant issue with unwelcome guests in the past, we have had thefts. Given the nature of the times and the work many of us do in working with families and children under stress, it is important that we adhere to these inconvenient, yet necessary steps.

Retirement Investors’ Club (RIC) 403b Program
Calendar Year 2010 Product Summary Preview

Employees have the opportunity to save for retirement by participating in a voluntary 403b program offered through RIC (general information about this program was provided in the November 6 issue of the Bulletin Board).  For provider options that will be available beginning January 2010, RIC completed a competitive bid process, as required by recent legislation.  The winning providers and the proposed investment options are summarized on the attached RIC 403b Provider Summary.  The bid process resulted in expanded investment categories and a considerable reduction in provider fees.  This summary is for review purposes only.  The investment options listed are not available until January 2010. 

Horace Mann is no longer available through this plan.  If you currently invest with Horace Mann through payroll deduction, you must select a new provider and submit a Salary Reduction Form to the Business Office by December 31, 2009, if you wish to begin the payroll deductions in January.  Please contact one of the providers on the attached summary to open a new account to receive contributions in January.  You may leave your existing funds at Horace Mann, if you wish.  If you want to transfer your assets from Horace Mann to one of the active provider products, you may do so at any time.  There are no restrictions or fees for transfers from a 2009 product to an active provider.

If you currently invest with Hartford, ING, TIAA-CREF or VALIC (formerly AIG Retirement), you will receive information from your provider about your new investment options.  If your current fund options will not be offered in 2010, your provider will invest your new contributions in similar funds as of January 2010.

If you currently invest with Security Benefit, you may need to make a change.  If you contribute to the NEA Valuebuilder mutual fund product, you will need to open a new account with Security Benefit.  Your provider will contact you to open the account.  If you contribute to the SFR mutual fund, you will not need to make any changes.

If you have questions about the RIC program, please contact your provider or call RIC at 866-460-4692 or visit the RIC website at


Agency Schedule

Grant Wood AEA will be closed on the following dates for Thanksgiving and Winter Break:
Nov. 25 - Close at 3 p.m.
Nov. 26 - Thanksgiving
Nov. 27 - Agency closed
Dec. 24 - Close at 3 p.m.
Dec. 25, 2009 through Jan.1, 2010 - Winter Break - Agency Closed

Meet Your New Board Member


Dr. Pamela Pfitzenmaier Jacobs was elected to fill the position previously filled by Janet Martin. Dr. Jacobs currently works at Learning Point Associates where she serves as the National Training Director for the Intel® Teach program.  In this role, she works with selected state departments of education and urban school districts to prepare classroom teachers to effectively utilize technology in teaching 21st Century skills to their students.

Prior to joining Learning Point Associates, she served as special projects director for the Iowa Department of Education, a position she assumed when she relocated to eastern Iowa.  Prior to her move in early fall 2007, she served for three years as the Administrator of the Division of PK-12 Education for the Iowa Department of Education. 

She supervised five Department bureaus:  Instructional Services including all educational technology services; Nutrition Programs and School Transportation; Children, Family and Community Services; as well as school accreditation, practitioner preparation, and teacher quality.  She launched Iowa Learning Online (ILO), the Iowa Department of Education’s virtual high school courses.

Her previous experience included serving as Director of Educational Telecommunications at Iowa Public Television (IPTV) from 1994-2004 as well as Iowa’s Star Schools Project Director from 1992-2001, directing the deployment of distance learning work with Iowa’s educators through grants of over $32 million.  During her tenure at IPTV, she acted as technology director for the Iowa Department of Education.

Pam earned her doctorate in education from the University of Iowa. She has two grown daughters. Her older daughter has a BA in business from Wartburg College and an MBA from Iowa State University. She lives in North Liberty and works in her father’s business in Monticello. The younger daughter will graduate from the University of Northern Iowa in December and is job hunting. Pam also has 3 stepsons and 1 stepdaughter. The stepsons all live in the Monticello area and the stepdaughter lives in North Liberty.

Pam taught for 17 years, starting out in West Des Moines.  When she taught sixth grade in the Monticello district, the teacher next door to her was Lisa Fry! She was selected as teacher of the year for Iowa in 1990 and became Iowa’s first Ambassador for Education.

The Bulletin Board...

...will resume publication on Friday, Dec 4. Happy Thanksgiving!

Agency Servers and Web Will Be Down for A Day

On the Friday after Thanksgiving, November 27th at 7:00AM, Grant Wood AEA will be installing new equipment and reconfiguring our existing routing for the servers. The install will result in the total loss of connection to the Grant Wood AEA servers (Mail, Accounting, IMS, IEP, BSO, SEMS, Powerschool, Web, and Network Storage), hosted domains, and Internet connection. Please plan on a worst case scenario of the outage lasting 36 hours. If nothing unforeseen occurs, the servers will be restored by the evening of the 27th. This service interruption is being performed to create a more robust, secure and stable environment on the agency’s servers.


Grant Wood AEA Professional Development opportunities

Click on the link above to access Professional Development opportunities for October.

For more information on any of these listings, contact Sherry Sines, Professional Development coordinator, Ext. 6517.

Grant Wood AEA Webinars

Webinars to feature information about NetTrekker, Google Docs, Digital Images in the Classroom, Twitter, and Moodle. Click on the link above for registration information.

Grant Wood AEA Online Resources Webinars

Featuring NetTrekker and World Book

Thank you

I want to thank everyone for the cards, kind and caring words and positive thoughts following the recent death of my father. The support and encouragement I received were very much appreciated and so helpful during this significant life event.

Denese Toomey

Welcome, New Staff!

Margo Grolmus, has joined the agency as an Autism Consultant. She has her MA from the University of Iowa and most recently taught in a behavior focused special education classroom at College Community's Prairie Crest Elementary for five years.



Kate Lytle joined the agency as a Vision Screener. She graduated with a BA from Cornell College in 2005 majoring in Studio Arts and Technical Theatre. Over the last few years, she has been pursuing her teaching certification in the hopes of working with elementary students in the area of Art or Special Education.



Margaret "Maggie" McConnell is a speech-language pathologist. A recent graduate of UNI with an MA in Speech-Lanuage Pathology, her internship placements included Children's Mercy Hospitals and Clinics in Kansas City and with the Department of Defense Dependants Schools (DoDDs) in Naples, Italy.


Jayme Mews has joined us as a school social worker, CART, Washington County. Jayme has an MSW from the University of Iowa and worked at the Center for Disabilities and Development as a behavior specialist/consultant from 2001-2009.




Chair Massages

Terri Nicol, LMT, will provide chair massages on Thursday, Dec. 15, 9 a.m. - 1 p.m. in the Iowa Conference Room, Sixth St. Facility. The chair massages are $10. To schedule a time, please e-mail Stacy Murphy, at

Blanket The Heights

Leslee Sandberg is once again conducting a blanket drive for families and individuals who live in the Wellington Heights area. Starting the Monday after Thanksgiving, please bring new or gently used blankets that you’re willing to donate. A box will be set up in the employee break room to receive contributions. We will collect the blankets through January 15. They will be distributed to individuals through the Loaves and Fishes program in the Heights area.

Wanted: Pink Yoplait yogurt lids

Stacy Murphy, IMS operator, is collecting pink Yoplait yogurt lids to support the annual "Save Lids to Save Lives" drive for breast cancer research. Collection containers will be available in the break rooms of the Cedar Rapids and Coralville facilities or contact Stacy, Ext. 6888.

“Angel Tree” for the animals at the Vinton Shelter

An “Angel Tree” for the animals at the Vinton Shelter is available upstairs between Central File and the NE/NW area. There are 32 tags with the namesand pictures of animals available for adoption at the shelter. Take the tag for the animal that you'd like to support and purchase pet food/treats, etc. Attach the name tag to the item and return it to the tree. Or if you would like to make a donation of food/litter/towel/blankets/paper towels or bleach, please give those items to Stacy Murphy.  Stacy will drop the items at the shelter.  Brighten a homeless pet’s holidays this year!

Summer trip to England, Scotland and Ireland

Registrations are currently being accepted for people who want to travel to ENGLAND, SCOTLAND and IRELAND June 17-27, 2010. This is an 11 day fully escorted trip led by an experienced Go Ahead Tour Director. We will have a group leaving from Cedar Rapids, but friends and family who accompany you and live elsewhere can depart from almost any airport and meet the group in London. Register now to lock in lower 2009 rates! For a complete itinerary, click on Please contact Nancy Dearborn, School Psychologist, for further information at 319-573-5877 or


Vacancies, November 20, 2009

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