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Grant Wood Area Education Agency

Mark your calendars!

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

School or Agency Closings:

When severe winter weather comes, staff are urged to make the decision whether or not to go to their assigned work site or leave work early, using the following criteria:

  1. Is/are my school(s) closed?

  2. Is there work I could be doing at my agency center?

  3. Is it endangering my safety for me to travel?

In the event of an Agency closing due to weather or some other emergency, a voice mail notification will be sent to all staff.  If the decision is made to close one or more of the Agency Centers, the communications office will also contact the news media (KHAK, WMT, KGAN-TV and KCRG-TV) and place information on the agency Web site. Through the all-call voice message, staff will be informed regarding (a) which centers are affected, (b) when the center(s) will close, (c) when the agency anticipates reopening the center(s), and (d) when the next employee update will be available.

If a staff member decides to remain at home due to a school closing or travel conditions, or the agency announces closure of an Agency Center, employees scheduled to work during that time are to make up the work time missed while the Agency Center was closed or while they remained at home during work hours. Options for making up the work time include:

  1. calendar change,

  2. emergency leave,

  3. personal leave,

  4. leave without pay or

  5. as otherwise specified in the Master Contract (Article 7 for Classified Staff, Article 8 for Contracted Staff) or terms of employment.

As a reminder, all leave requests are subject to supervisor approval.

If an employee performs assigned or approved work during a closing, the amount of time spent performing those services is recognized and considered as work time.

When a school or Agency Center closes, staff members may see a need to work from home for all or part of a work day, in which case the staff member is to provide advance notice of this schedule change to their supervisor and receive prior approval of the intent to work from home.  This communication best serves all involved and provides clear understanding regarding staff schedules and time worked.  (As a general rule, hourly staff are not authorized to work from home.)

When a staff member is not scheduled to work during an Agency closing because the closing occurred on a non-work day or other leave was scheduled to be used at the time of the closing (such as personal, illness/disability, vacation, etc.), these schedules are not affected by the Agency closing and are reported as usual.

As with all leave situations, staff members are to provide timely verbal notice to both the supervisor and secretary for communication and recordkeeping purposes.  Following an absence, staff are to submit a completed leave form no later than one week following the absence.

The leadership of staff in planning and providing for services that are missed due to school or Agency closings is important for ensuring quality services. Thank you for your conscientious efforts!

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

Meet Your New Board Member


This week we feature our other new Grant Wood AEA Board member, Marilyn Wirtz. Ms. Wirtz is filling the board position formerly held by Randall Jordison. Marilyn represents the Iowa City school district on our Board. She knows that district well, since she served in the Iowa City school district for nearly 30 years. She was a classroom teacher at Lucas Elementary School for 13 years, and in 1992 she became the principal at Hoover Elementary. She currently is working with the Wallace Foundation as a Data Collector for the National SAM Project.

Marilyn has her BS and MA from the University of Iowa. She has been active in the NAESP (National Association of Elementary School Principals), and served on that group’s Task Force for the National Elementary and Secondary Education Act.

She is a Past National Vice President, Membership Chair and National Foundation Trustee for Mortar Board, Inc. Mortar Board is a national honor society that recognizes college seniors for excellence in the areas of scholarship, leadership and service.  She also serves on the Hancher Performing Arts Center Advisory Board. Other professional organizations to which she belongs include School Administrators of Iowa, Phi Delta Kappa, National Parent/Teacher Association, and the International Reading Association.

She has three children – two daughters and a son. Terri is an attorney in Minneapolis, Toni is a VP for Human Resources in Chicago, and Dan is the owner of a corporate real estate company in Atlanta and Vancouver. She has four grandchildren.

One of Marilyn’s interests is more of a passion, actually. She will visit her seventh continent this coming January. She also enjoys reading, calligraphy, gardening, tennis, bicycling, walking, theatre, and athletic events.

Email Hoaxes, Viruses and Pfishing Scams

The latest hoax to pop up on staff screens is a virus-laden email sent to them supposedly from UPS or FedEx with a message that the package they shipped via the delivery company was undeliverable. The recipient of the message is asked to open the attached copy of their invoice and to print it out so that they can reclaim their undelivered package.

Obviously, if you get this message, you should NOT open the attachment! The majority of pfishing cons and virus spammers depend on your being trusting and guileless and/or so busy that you don’t take the time to think about the message as thoroughly as you might during a slower time of year. In the work we do here, staff may not know every person from whom they receive an email.  So, rule of thumb to use is: if the email seems fishy or not exactly right, it probably is a scam or an attempt to spread a virus. Always be wary of them.

At this time of year, individuals who like to spread computer viruses seem to step up their activity. Some attempt this by including their viruses in emailed Christmas card greetings. Some of these spammers succeed in grabbing users’ email lists and send you an email using the name of an individual whom you might know. If you receive a Christmas greeting from someone, it never hurts to confirm with that individual that they did send you a message before you ever touch the message. If the greeting is from someone you don’t know at all, be very leery.

Most of the agency computers have software embedded to help you catch and remove virus-laden files, but the best protection for your computer is you. Your curiosity may be aroused by such emails, but don’t let it get the best of you. Delete those questionable messages.

Assistive Technology Integration Program (ATIP)…Now Taking Applications

Fifteen GWAEA employees from various disciplines and regional assignments will be accepted into the newly formed ATIP Cohort Group I. Our intent through this professional learning team is to enable GWAEA professionals to develop and fully expand their understanding of the Iowa Core Curriculum specific to 21st Century Skills and its application for the provision of assistive technology tools and services for students with disabilities.  Additional incentive for those selected is the use of an iPod Touch for their personal and professional use as part of their GWAEA Core materials.  See attachment with this issue of The Bulletin Board online application details.

The deadline to apply is Thursday, December 10. Those selected to participate in the ATIP Cohort Group I will be notified by December 16 .

Project Manager, Statewide Online Learning:

Full time position serving all AEAs in Iowa.  Office location will be determined by current location of candidate selected. Contract and benefits will be based on the housing AEA’s current package.  Salary is to be determined, but can be up to a maximum of $80,000 annually, plus benefits. Qualified candidates will have an Iowa teaching license, education of a master’s level or beyond in the field of education, minimum of three years teaching experience, experience designing or providing online professional development, and an evaluator approval endorsement or the ability to obtain such.  Prefer candidates with previous experience in online course design.  Please visit our website at for a full job description.  All applicants must complete an online application via our Applicant Online system
This position is open to AEA employees only.  (Internal application deadline: 12/15/09)
For questions and additional information please contact Melissa Bell, Human Resources Specialist, Heartland AEA 11, 515-270-9030 x14625,

Our Condolences

We are saddened to report that former Grant Wood AEA school psychologist Lynn Beckenbaugh passed away on Thursday of this week. He died peacefully with members of his family by his bedside. Visitation will be Sunday, December 6th from 2 – 6 p.m. at Parrot & Wood Chapel of Memories, Overton Family Funeral Home, 965 Home Plaza, Waterloo, IA  50701.  Services will be held on Monday, December 7th at 10:30 a.m. at the Traer United Presbyterian Church, 307 Walnut St, Traer, IA, military rites at Buckingham Cemetery, lunch following at the church.


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

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

Welcome, New Staff!

Megan Neiber joined the agency this year as a new School Psychologist. She earned her Master of Science degree in School Psychology from Minnesota State University in Moorhead.


Myka Peterson is a programmer for the computer services group. She has her BA from Cornell College and comes to us from Cornell, where she worked as a Quantitative Reasoning Studio Peer Consultant. She also worked for Hy-Vee as an IT/Statistics intern.


Deb Scott returned to GWAEA as an offsite teacher for the agency this year. She worked for the agency from 1999 to 2001, then moved on to work in the Cedar Rapids schools for 8 years, completing her time there as an associate director from 2004-09. She has her BA from UNI, MA from U of Iowa and her EdS from Drake.


Sarah Shelquist came to Grant Wood AEA from the Cherry Creek School District in Colorado where she worked as a Speech-Language Therapist. She also taught kindergarten in Colorado for a couple of years before becoming an SLP. She earned her MA in Speech-Language Pathology from the University of Colorado in Boulder.



Maggie Slaymaker is also a Speech-Language Pathologist joining the agency. Maggie earned her MA degree from the University of Northern Iowa this past spring. She has been assigned to work in the Central Region as an SLP.



Another Speech-Language Pathologist new to the agency is Rachel Smith. Rachel earned her MA from the University of Iowa. She is serving in the Iowa City region out of the Coralville office.


Kelli Robertson (Central Region SLP) and husband Doug, along with big brother Chase and big sister Carlie welcomed Quinn William to the family on 11/19/09. Quinn weighed 7 lbs, 9 oz. and was 21 inches long.   

Chair Massages

Terri Nicol, LMT, will provide chair massages on Tuesday, 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, December 4, 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