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Grant Wood Area Education Agency

Mark your calendars!

Dec. 24, 3 p.m.


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

Agency Separation Plan Update

At the Board meeting on November 11, the Board approved offering the Transition Separation Plan for 2010-11.  The plan design for 2010-11 is to be defined before February 1, 2010.  On Wednesday, December 16, the Grant Wood AEA Board of Directors approved for first reading revisions in the plan design for 2010-11.

As part of a fiscal management plan, the Transition Separation Plan shall be offered to employees in 2009-10 and 2010-2011.  Policy language approved for first reading includes a separation payment not to exceed 30% for 2009-10 plan participants and a separation payment of 35% for 2010-11 plan participants, with the plan to end on June 30, 2011.  

The current plan design for 2009-10 entices eligible employees to continue working in order to receive a higher separation payment.  For 2010-11, however, recovery dollars will end and additional budget constraints are anticipated.  The recommended changes are intended to help address limited resources that are projected while also allowing an opportunity for all eligible employees to participate.

A link to the currently proposed Separation Policy - #4136 and proposed Administrative Regulation #4136A.

Dr. Fielder will listen to employee feedback regarding the agency’s separation policy at forums scheduled at 4:00 p.m. in Coralville in Room AB on Tuesday, January 5, 2010 and in the Northern Facility Staff Conference Room on Thursday, January 7, 2010.  Separate forums or pod casts will be planned at a later date for providing budget updates.

The GWAEA policy committee will review the proposed language and employee feedback regarding the separation policy prior to the next GWAEA Board of Directors meeting.  The proposed separation policy will be presented for second reading at the GWAEA Board of Directors meeting on Wednesday, January 20, 2010.  Changes to Board policies become official after the Board has approved the changes at two meetings.

If staff would like to provide additional feedback about the policy, they may send their written comments to Kim Martin at

Update for Contracted Staff – TQ Salary Dollars

The Iowa Department of Education (DE) recently issued a declaratory order that Teacher Salary Supplement funds are subject to the 10% across-the-board budget reduction ordered by Governor Culver on October 8, and the Agency will proceed accordingly in making the adjustments for Teacher Quality (TQ) pay.  These TQ pay adjustments are projected to begin with the January 22 payroll.  For those contracted staff eligible to receive TQ salary payments, more details regarding these adjustments will be provided in a notice to be included with the January 8 paychecks.  If you have questions please feel free to contact Jackie Schreder, Human Resources Office at x6731 or or Liz Hooley, Association President, at x6719 or

Conference Center Concierge Service Initiative

The agency is implementing a new approach to customer service as it relates to the conference center. With the restoration of the conference center following the flood, management agency leaders have determined that our conference center guests (including staff members who use the center) should be supported as well as they might be at other high-quality conference centers. To that end, we are adopting a concierge service approach for the center.

A team of Grant Wood AEA staff has spent the last few months designing and developing a vision for the Conference Center and has worked to determine and implement steps to help us move closer to that vision. With the start of a new year, we will be making some changes to implement this vision.

The team’s goal, simply stated is: We are recognized as the area’s best place to host and attend meetings and workshops and are known for our exceptional customer service.

Changes Coming
In order to achieve our goal, we have instituted a variety of changes to the Conference Center and the way in which it is supported. This will include changes in two key areas:

  • Improved building security.

  • Improved customer service – both in-person and via our phones.

Improved Building Security Actions
On November 30, agency initiated its security badge system for staff and guests. This allows us to better monitor guests in the building. Beginning December 21, we will test a new approach to how we handle the switchboard for the agency, dividing this role among numerous staff. By changing the role of the front desk person at the Sixth Street office from operator to receptionist, this will allow Cathy Nelson, Angela Krejci and others who fill that role to focus on the needs of guests and to attend to the traffic in and out of the facility.

The front desk person will also monitor agency security cameras. This enables us to keep the Conference Center doors open at both ends during regular business hours and will provide an additional level of security in the building.

Phone Switchboard Team
The switchboard operator role will be spread across a team of operators throughout the Agency in a variety of locations and departments. Our phone system eliminates the need to have a single switchboard location. Software in the phone system will distribute calls to this team of operators on an equitable basis. When you press “O”, you may not always get the same individual taking your call.

We will provide training for operators to help ensure that calls are answered quickly and forwarded to the appropriate department or person.

Duties of The Conference Center Concierge Receptionist
The Conference Center concierge receptionist will be responsible for the following work:

  • Greeting guests and providing front-line security.

  • Assisting staff and guests by getting them further assistance as needed quickly and accurately.

  • Monitoring security cameras.

  • Maintaining extra supplies for the Conference Center.

The position will also include:

  • Handling all K-cup coffee orders for individuals and the Agency.

  • Refurbishing and maintaining the presenter and participant kits for the Conference Center as well as other supplies.

  • Assisting Staff Liaison in caring for clients using the center.

  • Providing support to other departments by working on projects that can be done in and around the reception desk area.

  • A member of the switchboard team of operators.

Staff Liaison for Conference Center Events:
When meetings are booked for the conference center, each event will have a liaison identified to provide support to the presenter and participants. The liason will not be the front desk receptionist, since we will need to keep someone at the front desk at all times that the front doors are open. Staff providing this liason support will have training to ensure consistent results. Liaisons will:

  • Confirm that room set up and equipment matches the submitted request.

  • Greet and escort presenters to their room.

  • Provide presenters with information about how to get assistance during the day, facility layout, available services, emergency information, etc.

  • Periodically check on the presenter to assist with any emerging needs.

  • Manage any coffee/catering that may be a part of the meeting or workshop.

  • Be readily available to assist if called by Concierge Receptionist.

  • Conduct an informal survey regarding our services with the presenter and assist them in collecting their things. Thank them for choosing Grant Wood AEA.

  • At the end of the day – return supplies and equipment, throw away trash left out, report any supply issues to the Concierge receptionist and any facilities issues to so that they may be quickly attended to.

Conference Room Scheduling System
Software for reserving a conference center meeting room is being revised to ensure accurate and appropriate room reservations. The system will:

  • Enable users to pre-identify room setup, catering needs, equipment and technology needs, etc.

  • Regularly communicate with contact person to manage any late changes or adjustments.

  • All PD will go through Grant Wood AEA’s Professional Development Office prior to scheduling rooms. Meetings will use the scheduling system to secure a room, provide setup information, and identify the event’s liason.

For questions, contact George Held, communications supervisor, Ext. 6714.

What Happened with Our Email

by Dave Brousard, GWAEA Director of Information Technology

Last weekend the agency experienced some major problems with its email server. While there were various reasons for the failure, the primary culprit was the large quantity of emails sent from PowerSchool to parents of students in our area. After trying several options, it was finally decided that the best route was to move our email program onto a new, more powerful server and rebuild the email database from scratch. That was finally accomplished on Thursday morning and for the most part, things are working well.

While most emails were delivered correctly, there is a chance that some email delivered on Saturday, December 12th or Sunday, December 13th were lost. If you were expecting an email and have not received it, please ask for it to be resent. Email sent this week should have gone through. If not, the sender would have received the email back along with a notification of the problem. They should have known at that point to resend it. There is also the possibility that you will receive duplicate emails. If you do, simply delete the 2nd email.

Over the next several months we will be evaluating out current email software and will decide if we have the correct software for the needs of our agency. We will keep you apprised of the situation and we appreciate your patience as we work through these problems.

Agency Schedule

Grant Wood AEA will be closed on the following dates for Winter Break:

Dec. 24 - Close at 3 p.m.
Dec. 25, 2009 through Jan.1, 2010 - Winter Break - Agency Closed

The Bulletin Board will resume publication on Jan. 8, 2010.

Grant Wood AEA Professional Development opportunities

Click on the link above to access Professional Development opportunities.

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; Virtual Science Conference planned Saturday, Jan. 9, 2010

Using Google Docs and Sites

We have had an overwhelming amount of requests for assistance with Google Docs & Sites. We have opened up two full day learning sessions (same content both days) for staff to sign up and have hands on training on the two applications. Please see the information below for registration.

Using Google Docs and Sites
This workshop will cover how you can use Google Docs to increase collaboration writing, spreadsheets, presentations, and assessment/data collection. We will also explore Google Sites as a way of publishing information and even creating a controlled online learning experience for your staff and learning community! The day will be broken up by doing Goodle Docs in the morning and Google Sites in the afternoon. Participants are asked to bring their laptops.
Number: 9510-09-01
Dates/Time: Jan. 19, 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.
Number: 9510-09-02
Dates/Time: Feb. 11, 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.
Location: Grant Wood AEA, 4401 6th St SW, Cedar Rapids
Format: Hands-On
Target Audience: All
Registration: Complete registration form or register electronically at least two weeks in advance.
Fees: None
Credit: None
Instructor(s): Stacy Behmer, Technology Consultant, Grant Wood AEA

Thank you

Thank you for the flowers, memorial gift, phone calls, thoughts, cards, messages, notes, and prayers at the time of my mother's death. The love, care and support that Grant Wood AEA shares is a blessing! You are a wonderful group of people! Thanks much! God bless you!

Careece Thompson

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.

Thank you

Thank you everyone for collecting the pink Yoplait lids this year. We collected 615 lids this year which is absolutely great!  Happy Holidays to all!
Stacy Murphy

“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 eight tags for cats at the shelter left on the tree.  If you haven’t already done so, or would like to sponser a homeless pet, please visit the tree.  Also, anyone who took a tag, please have your present at the tree by Christmas Eve morning. For information, contact Stacy Murphy at

Lost and Found:

There is a box at the front desk containing pencils, stickers, erasers, and a few other miscellaneous items. Please let the front desk know if you were the person that dropped it off and what it was for. Thank you.

Buy, Sell or Trade

If you are interested in helping the Catherine McAuley Center by purchasing a pin from the “Pins by Lucinda” collection, see Cathy at the front desk.

Vacancies, December 18, 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