Grant Wood AEA logo
Bulletin Board


Nov. 21, 3 p.m.

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


Dec. 7 Flexible Spending Account enrollment forms for 2013 plan year due into the Business Office


Dec. 12, 2012
Grant Wood AEA Board Meeting
5:00 p.m.
Grant Wood Room


Dec. 13, 2012

Holiday Potluck Lunch – Coralville Office
11:30 to 1 p.m.


Dec. 18, 2012
Holiday Potluck Lunch – Sixth Street Office
11:30 to 1 p.m.


Dec. 24, 3 p.m.

The agency closes for winter break and will reopen on
Jan. 2, 2012, at 7:30 a.m.



In this issue:

Agency Closings - Winter Weather Advisories
The Bulletin Board distribution changes to Thursdays...
New Meeting Space Emerges at the Sixth St. Office
Flexible Spending Accounts - 2013 Benefit Plan Year
iPad App Recommendations
GMail Update
Communications Advisory Team Forming
November issue of "Impacting Lives"
The Second Annual GWAEA Photo Contest
Holiday Giving Drive
The GWAEA Yellow Pages Directory of Services
Save Lids to Save Lives
Recycle Used Cell Phones, Eyeglasses
From the Front Desk...
Like Us on Facebook and Twitter
TQ Professional Development dates
GWAEA Professional Development Opportunities
Buy, Sell or Trade


Past Issues

Nov. 9, 2012

Nov. 2, 2012

Oct. 26, 2012

Oct. 19, 2012

Oct. 13, 2012

Oct. 5, 2012

Sept. 28, 2012

Sept. 21, 2012

Sept. 14, 2012

Sept. 7, 2012

Aug. 31, 2012

Aug. 24, 2012

Aug. 17, 2012

Aug. 10, 2012

Aug. 3, 2012

July 20, 2012

Archive issues of The Bulletin Board





Agency Closings - Winter Storm Advisories

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

  • Is/are my school(s) closed?

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

  • Is it endangering my safety for me to travel?

Here is how the agency will respond to winter storm conditions. As a general rule, if a school remains open during a winter storm, the Agency will likely remain open.  If most of the schools are closed, it’s possible one or more of the agency centers may also close.



Most of the agency staff have the flexibility to make adjustments to their calendars to respond to bad weather situations.


Staff who work in the schools should pay close attention to morning school announcements for any announced closures or late starts. In the instances where the schools have closed for the day, staff serving those schools need to consider the circumstances. In some cases, the schools ask staff to report to the buildings. If this is productive time for you to be in the building so that you can meet with staff, you are encouraged to go in – as long as you feel the driving conditions are safe for you to travel.


If staff are not asked to report or the road conditions are not passable for you, consider making a calendar change and take a non-work day. 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.) Staff need to be the judge of what is safe or not safe driving conditions in your area. 


In the event an Agency Center closes, a voice mail message will be sent to all staff via the SchoolReach system. We will also do an all agency voice mail system message. 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.


Employees scheduled to work during the time an agency center has been closed will be required to make up the work time missed while the Agency Center was closed. The primary options for making up the work time include: calendar change, emergency leave, personal leave or leave without pay (please see your Master Contract or terms and conditions of employment for additional options that may be available). Employee calendar and leave requests are subject to supervisor approval, so please work with your supervisor to determine the option that is appropriate for your situation.  In the event an employee performs assigned or approved work during a closing, the amount of time spent performing such services will be recognized and considered as work time.


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 always, be smart, pack appropriate emergency supplies in your car, and plan ahead for bad weather.  If you have any questions about how you should respond to a weather delay or cancellation, talk to your supervisor before the weather turns bad to confirm how you should plan to act in such an emergency.

The next issue of The Bulletin Board will be distributed on
Thursday, Nov. 29.

The weekly distribution of The Bulletin Board is changing to Thursday afternoons. Please forward submissions on Wednesdays by 4:30 p.m. to George Held or Valerie Taylor Hill in the Communications Office.

New Meeting Space Emerges at Sixth Street Office

A new area in the Sixth Street office has been opened for informal meetings, discussion groups, exploration of new technology and tech support for GWAEA staff. We are calling it the "Creative Commons." The area is just beyond the “behind the glass” rooms on the first floor of the agency.


Staff members are invited to stop in and use the area for informal meetings (where you are not dealing with any confidential information). It is also a gathering place to be used as an idea center – a place to explore new ideas, check email, or just to relax for a few minutes during a break.


Jonathan Wylie, one of our agency technology consultants, will schedule times to be available in the Creative Commons to help with iPads, Google Drive, Gmail, Google Sites, Google Calendar, Dropbox, screencasting, web 2.0 tools, and more. A calendar with scheduled times and other information can be found on The Creative Commons Tech Support website at


In this commons area the agency will display new pieces of equipment, such as Chromebooks, Android tablets, or new iPads. A large touchscreen Windows computer is also available for technology demonstrations.



Turner Room Also Upgraded
A number of staff have already discovered the Turner Room, which opens out into the Creative Commons. The Turner Room was originally a much smaller meeting room. It has been expanded and has comfortable seating for up to 15 people.

It also has a built-in digital projector and a large, dry-erase white board. It’s one of the few meeting rooms in the building that actually has windows!


The Turner Room can be reserved through the agency’s normal meeting room system. The Commons cannot be reserved. It is open for staff to use whenever they are in the area. Stop by and take a look at both of these rooms. They are inviting places!

Flexible Spending Accounts – 2013 Benefit Plan Year

Flexible Spending Account (FSA) materials for the 2013 benefit plan year have been distributed to all employees.  Employees only need to complete an election form if enrolling in a medical and/or dependent care flex account.  Please submit enrollment forms to Cathy Kearns, Grant Wood AEA Business Services by December 7, 2012.

What is a Flexible Spending Account?

A Flexible Spending Account (FSA) is a tax-free account that allows you to pay for health care expenses that are not covered, or are partially covered, by your medical, dental and vision insurance plans; or pay for child/dependent care expenses.  When you enroll in an FSA, you decide how much to contribute to the account for the entire plan year.  The money is deducted from your paycheck pre-tax (before Federal & State income taxes and FICA taxes are deducted) in equal amounts over the course of the plan year.  After you incur expenses that qualify for reimbursement, you submit claims (reimbursement requests) to ASI Flex to withdraw from your FSA to reimburse yourself for these expenses.


Our FSA program runs on a calendar year basis, January 1 through December 31.  Participants must re-enroll in the FSA program each year, even if you don’t want your election amount to change.


New in Plan Year 2013 – The federal Affordable Care Act limits the amount that an individual can set aside in a health care FSA to $2,500 per enrollee, per plan year, starting January 1, 2013.


ASI, our flex benefits administrator, offers many features including:

  • Daily Reimbursements – Once a flexible spending claim is processed, reimbursement will be made to participants the following day!  Claims are typically processed within two days of receipt.

  • Online Access – Participants have password protected access to account information, including balance available and reimbursements made.  Website:

  • Direct Deposit and E-mail Notifications – If you choose, there is an option available for direct deposit into your bank account for reimbursements and e-mail notifications of your account transactions.

  • Customer Service Center – Calls are answered live, and the Customer Service Center has extended hours:  7 am to 7 pm, Monday through Friday, and 9 am to 1 pm on Saturday.  Telephone:  1-800-659-3035

Questions can be directed to Cathy Kearns, Grant Wood AEA Business Services at or 319-399-6706  or by contacting ASI Flex using the phone number listed above.

iPad App Recommendations

Grant Wood AEA is a leader in the state with iPad utilization to support student achievement. We are collecting a list of iPad Apps from AEAs statewide and will be sharing these Apps and resources by content area/discipline. Information will be shared about what apps are being used and how they are being used. Please fill out this form for Apps you are currently using and would like to recommend for AEA staff and consultants across the state.
Link to the form:


Upcoming PD Opportunities

Basics: Essential Skills for Educators - November 27 - Wylie and Cowell
Creating Educational Content With iBooks Author - November 30 - Wylie and Doane

New Compose Feature in Gmail!

Some of you may have noticed that Gmail made an optional change this week! They are continuing to make improvements. This is an optional transition now and you can continue to use the old look, but one of the benefits of the new feature is that you can start writing an email and minimize it and come back to it later. Google has more information about the feature on their blog. Watch a quick video showing the new compose feature and how to turn it on and off.


Only 2 Transition Workshops Left!!!
Cut over to the new system just a couple weeks away!

by Stacy Behmer, Coordinator of Digital Learning

We will be cutting over to our new email system shortly! If you have not yet attended one of the transition workshops, get signed up! There are only a couple left!  To find out more visit the Gmail Transition Site:


At the workshop you will begin using the new interface. Please visit the Gmail transition site to get signed up! You will need to have your administrative login to your computer and your webmail password for the workshop.


There are also a lot of resources on the site to help support you with the new email client, so don’t forget about it when you are taking some time off and need to set that vacation reminder! If there are things you would like to see added to the site, please let me know.


A lot of staff have already made the move, just a reminder, once you have moved, please fill out the the following form to let us know:  Link to Form


Please let me know if you have any questions!

Communications Advisory Team Forming

In this age of incredibly sophisticated communications, we know we still have staff who aren’t getting important agency information, and that’s troubling to us.

In response to this concern, we are creating a communications advisory team, which we hope can help us figure out how to improve our message delivery systems.

If you would like to help us with this effort, please contact George Held ( or
Valerie Taylor Hill ( The team will meet two times yet this year.


November Issue of Impacting Lives

Read the latest Impacting Lives update at In this issue are two articles highlighting schools in the Grant Wood AEA services area:

Also featured are learning outcome success stories and a heartwarming article about the Selby brothers.


Iowa's AEAs are imacting lives. To share a story idea for "Impacting Lives," contact George Held or Valerie Taylor Hill in GWAEA Communications.

The Second Annual GWAEA Photo Contest

Submissions due Nov. 30


Submit your entries by email to either
George Held or Valerie Taylor Hill in the Communications Office.


See flyer for details.



Holiday Giving Drive

Computer Services and Technology Support have started their Holiday Giving Drive. Their hallway is decorated and ready to start taking donations for local food banks, Waypoint and Wounded Warrior Project. Please donate this holiday season. We take so much for granted.


holidaygiving1 holidaygiving2 holidaygiving3


Click on each graphic above to access the holiday giving information.

The Grant Wood AEA Yellow Pages Directory of Services is online


A revised copy of theThe Yellow Pages Directory of Services is available on the Grant Wood AEA website in PDF format. Click to access the copy.




Collect Pink Yoplait  lids for the Yoplait Save Lids to Save Lives program. General Mills will donate 10 cents to Susan G. Komen for each lid received.


 Stacy Murphy has a collection tub in the staff break room of the Sixth Street building or send to her via van mail.

Recycle Used Phones and Eyeglasses

The social concerns committee at St. Patrick’s Church in Cedar Rapids is collecting used cell phones and eyeglasses. The phones will go to the domestic violence shelter and the eyeglasses will go to the Lions Club. If you have items you’d care to donate, please bring or send them to
Mary Van Voltenburg
in the agency's Media Center.

From the Front Desk...

  • The Sixth St Front Desk has one-day passes to Sam's Club.

  • If you didn't get your free sandwich coupon for the Chick-fil-A on Collins Rd. NE location, there are a few remaining.

"Like" Us on Facebook Earns Possibility of $20 Off GWAEA PD


For every 20 people who like us, we will hold a drawing and give out one $20 coupon applicable toward any Grant Wood AEA professional development class offered at GWAEA (online classes do not qualify for the discount.)


Like us today at

See the complete article in the Sept. 28 issue of The Bulletin Board.

Grant Wood AEA on Facebook facebook logoand Twitter twitter logo

Are you connected with Grant Wood AEA? The agency has a presence on both Facebook and Twitter. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. For questions, contact the Communications Office.

Professional Development Opportunity (*)

An important factor to consider when designing new models of teaching and learning is how to engage students in the learning process.  To help educators learn how to engage students, we have established a statewide PD opportunity for educators to learn how to personalize learning, which will begin this month.  We believe that this approach, which focuses on individual student learning pathways and adapting technology to provide



See attached flyer


anytime/anywhere learning opportunities has great potential to engage students and provide robust teaching in Tier 1, lessening the number of students needing Tier 2 and Tier 3 interventions.  The tools used to personalize learning can strengthen student engagement around the Iowa Core as well as teaching in any of the tiers in the RtI model.  To sustain and extend the learning in this area, we are facilitating the establishment of a statewide community of practice around personalized learning.


Susie Green, our GWAEA student program specialist, is coordinating this project and will serve as the eCoach for the community of practice in our area. The attached flyer provides information regarding registration for the Community of Practice.  

The 2012-2013 TQ Professional Development proposal application dates are:

Nov. 21
Feb. 27
May 29

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

Grant Wood AEA Professional Development opportunities


Information for Professional Development National Speakers for 2012-2013 is now on the Professional Development Google Site.  To access Google site, log into your Google account, click on Sites, and browse sites. 

Professional Development Announcements – November-December




12/5/2012 1-4 PM


See flyer for details

Creating Digital Rich Classrooms: Teaching and Learning in a Web 2.0 World

Outside of school, today's students are accustomed to a high level of interaction and collaboration. Engage students in solving real-world problems while staying true to standards-aligned curricula. This session provides a research base and practical strategies for using web 2.0 tools to create engaging lessons that transform and enrich content.

Audience: Administrators, General and Special Education Teachers, Media Specialists, Consultants




12/17/2012 8:30 AM -4 PM



See flyer for details

Reading and Writing Accommodations: Evidence-Based Protocols and Tools

As technology becomes more mainstream at home and in the classroom, knowledge of the issues surrounding accommodations is paramount. The day will begin with a current review of the literature of reading and writing accommodations for students with disabilities. Protocols that can be used to develop evidence-based decisons on accommodations will be shared. Online tools and applications that support struggling readers and writers will be presented. Strategies for conducting just-in-time professional development on accommodations will be discussed. Participants will leave this workshop with up-to-date information that can serve as an accommodations guide to stakeholders in their district.

Audience: K-12 Administrators, General and Special Education Teachers, Media Specialists, Paraeducators, Reading Support Staff, Speech Language Pathologists, Psychologists, OT/PT, Consultants




1/18/2013 9 AM -4:30 PM


1/19/2013 8:45 AM - 2:15 PM


4/26/2013 1-4:00 PM



See flyer for details

This workshop will assist participants in developing the skills necessary to use a coaching interaction style in home, community, and early childhood settings to build the capacity of parents, teachers, and other adults in the life of infants, toddlers, and preschool age children with developmental delays and disabilities. The presenters will describe the characteristics of coaching and natural learning environment practices, present the evidence supporting the use of coaching and everyday learning opportunities, and provide tools and techniques for practitioners to use to evaluate their own coaching skills. Participants will have the opportunity to observe the instructors role play various coaching scenarios, analyze videotapes of others using coaching using instruments from the coaching toolkit, and then practice and analyze their own coaching through role play and videotape review.


Standards, Assessment and Grading: Teaching Practices to Support Student Learning


Session 1, January 14, 2013
Keys to Implementing Common Core State Standards

Registration #: 19153-12-01


Session 2, February 26, 2013
Assessment Practices that Support Common Core

Registration #: 19154-12-01


Session 3, April 1, 2013
Quality Grading Practices
Registration #: 19155-12-01


Target Audience: K-12 teachers, administrators and AEA staff

Grant Wood AEA Staff training opportunities including Gmail transition workshops:



For a complete listing of all upcoming trainings:


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

Buy, Sell or Trade 

For Sale: 2 tickets to TCR presentation of "Meet Me In St. Louis" for Saturday, December 1st at 7:30pm. Face value is $60.00 - offering $50.00.  Please contact Kim at 399-6838.





GW logoAEA logo

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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