Grant Wood AEA logo
Bulletin Board


In This issue:

Crozier, Becker Named to Iowa Core Commission
Phone Notification Test Worked
Who Would You Like to Recognize?
Welcome, New GWAEA Staff
USPS Postage Rate Change
Operation Backpack Donations
Our Condolences
Hope Blooms ... It's daffodil time!
Live Healthy Wellness Challenge
Bouquets and Kudos...
The GWAEA Daily
Like Us on Facebook and Twitter
TQ Professional Development dates
GWAEA Professional Development Opportunities


Agency Advisory Minutes

Grant Wood AEA Staff Openings

The GWAEA Board Book

The GWAEA Board Minutes


Past Issues








Grant Wood AEA


To ensure success for all learners.

Grant Wood AEA Goals:

1. Increase the academic performance of all learners.

2. Increase the percentage of students who perform at the proficient level.

3. Increase student acquisition and application of 21st century skills and knowledge.

Joe Crozier and Jenny Becker Named to
Iowa Core Commission

Advisory group will help successfully implement Iowa’s statewide academic standards


Iowa Department of Education Director Brad Buck announced Monday a new state commission to help ensure Iowa’s academic standards for what students should know and be able to do from kindergarten through 12th grade are put into practice successfully in schools statewide. Joe Crozier from Grant Wood AEA and Jenny Becker from Rockwell Collins are the only two individuals from our area who were appointed to this commission.


In making the announcement of the commission members, Director Buck said, “Clear, uniform standards raise the bar on what we expect from all students, and Iowa has a strong foundation in place with the Iowa Core standards. However, it’s not enough to set rigorous standards and expect schools to figure out how to help students reach those standards. Schools need more support.”


The Iowa Core Commission is an advisory group of 21 Iowans, including teachers, school administrators, education associations, higher education leaders, business leaders, and Iowa Department of Education staff members. This group’s work will focus on strengthening a statewide implementation plan and improving communication from the state level to local schools.


“It’s clear there’s a fair amount of confusion around what implementing the Iowa Core means and looks like in schools,” Buck said. “While it’s important to continue to leave instructional decisions up to local schools and teachers, they are clearly telling us the state must step up to help them implement these standards successfully,” Buck said.


The Iowa Core standards establish what students are expected to learn in mathematics, English/language arts, science and social studies from kindergarten through 12th grade.

Iowa was the last state in the nation to adopt statewide standards in 2008. State legislators led this shift away from locally determined standards, which had caused inconsistent expectations in schools across the state.


The Iowa Core standards reflect real-world knowledge and skills that students need to graduate from high school prepared for success in postsecondary education and training.


Implementation of the standards is an ongoing process led locally by schools and school districts with assistance from the Iowa Department of Education and area education agencies. The process will continue well beyond the legislatively mandated deadlines for full implementation, which are the 2012-13 school year for high schools and 2014-15 for kindergarten through eighth grades.


The new commission’s work falls in line with Iowa’s role in a consortium of rural states to successfully put into practice statewide standards. The state consortium, which also includes Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota, is working with consulting firm Education Delivery Institute through a grant funded by the Council of Chief State School Officers, an association of state school chiefs.


The Iowa Core Commission will meet for the first time Wednesday, Jan. 15, from 9 a.m. to noon in Room B50 of the Grimes State Office Building. Meetings are open to the public.

Phone Notification Test Worked

We had very few people complain about the phone notification system test on Tuesday evening. If you did not get a phone call, and want to receive the emergency closure messages, please contact George Held for additional support with this.


Due to the weather conditions further east, the notification calling system was backed up with cancellation notices being sent out to parents and students. As a result, our calls came a little after the scheduled 6:30 p.m. call time. That can happen when the call volume is extremely high.


Who Would You Like to Recognize?

Nominations for Caring Colleague, Friend of Education, and Educational Partners are due by March 7 for the annual Grant Wood AEA staff recognition banquet


Saying “thank you” to your co-workers, community volunteers and/or the people with whom you work can be wonderfully uplifting to someone you feel is special – within Grant Wood AEA, in the community or at one of the schools you serve. It can also be satisfying and meaningful to you, personally.  Please consider nominating one or more persons you have worked with or observed as “going the extra mile." The categories you may nominate individuals for are:

  • Friend of Education (usually business and community partners)

  • Educational Partner (usually school personnel)

  • Caring Colleague (GWAEA staff only)

Only Grant Wood AEA staff may nominate people for these awards.  A random group of Grant Wood AEA staff members always comprises the awards selection committee. Click for a list of previous honorees.


Contact George Held (ext 6714) or Valerie Taylor Hill (6824) or email us your nomination formNominations are due by March 7 in the Communications Office.


The awards will be presented at the Grant Wood AEA Staff Recognition and Partnerships Banquet, which will be held at the The Longbranch Hotel and Convention Center in Cedar Rapids on Thursday, May 8.

Welcome, New GWAEA Staff


Monica Goodvin

B.A., University of Texas

Monica previously held a position as an Autism Paraeducator with the Iowa City Community School District.


USPS Postage Rate Change

A change in the price of postage will go into effect on January 26, 2014.  On that day, first class postage stamps will increase from $0.46 to $0.49. Consider purchasing a supply of Forever stamps, which can be used to mail first class letters regardless of future price changes.


Barb Harms and Casie Trimble

Operation Backpack Donations

Studies show that children perform better in school when they eat three balanced meals a day.


Operation BackPack, our local Feeding America backpack program, began in 2008 at Polk Elementary School in Cedar Rapids with 50 students.


During the 2013-2014 school year Operation BackPack has expanded to more area schools. HACAP is gathering food and coordinating  with area churches to provide the manpower to fill the backpacks.


Operation BackPack provides children with nutritious, kid-friendly foods, such as whole grain cereal, canned meat with pasta, fruit in 100% juice, whole grain crackers, 100% fruit juice, 1% white milk, skim chocolate milk, and dried fruit. The food is packed and delivered to the school by volunteers each Friday that school is in session. Each child brings home approximately 6.5 pounds per food a week. 

If you are interested in supporting Operation BackPack, there will be a donation box in the staff break room until January 31. Please place any new or gently used backpacks in the box.

*Please do not donate any drawstring style bags.*

Our Condolences...

  • to the family and friends of Janet Kovarik, who passed away on Jan. 12. Janet served 30 years as a GWAEA School Social Worker (Early Childhood), retiring in 2008.


Hope Blooms ... It's daffodil time!

This year, daffodils will be sold by an organization called Gems of Hope. They will sell the same choices at the same prices and use the profits for cancer patients and their families. You can visit their website, to see other ways they help with the fight against cancer.


To purchase bunches of daffodils, and make a contribution towards the fight against Cancer, please see, call, or email Cathy Nelson at the 6th Street Facility front desk.


The options are:

  • Bunches of Daffodils: $10 a bunch

  • Bunch 'n a Vase: $15

  • Mini Daffodils: $15. Replantable miniature daffodil bulbs in a container.

  • Hippo Hugs: $25. Comfort a child experiencing cancer with their very own Hippo

  • Gift of Hope Bouquet: $25. These bouquets are given anonymously to cancer patients.

  • Hippo 'n a Bunch: $25. This is a Hippo and a bunch of daffodils

  • Sunshine Bouquet: $75. A glass vase filled with brilliant yellow daffodils and greenery to thank clients, customers, employees or vendors or decorate an office, lobby or church.

Pictures of these are at the front desk. Orders will be taken from now until Jan. 29, 2014. Flowers can be picked up on or around March 12, 2014. (Please make checks payable to the Gems of Hope.)


Stop by the Northern Facility front desk, from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. or call Cathy at
Ext. 6544 to place your order. Thank you for contributing.

Live Healthy Iowa 10 Week
Wellness Challenge


Dates of Challenge: Jan. 27 – April 4, 2014


Live Healthy Iowa 10 Week Wellness Challenge is a fun, easy and affordable way to engage Iowans in healthy behaviors. This team-based physical activity, nutrition and weight loss program is designed to promote positive changes leading to a healthier lifestyle.

How does it work?
Teams of 2-10 Iowans compete in a web-based competition tracking weight loss and/or activity minutes for 10 weeks.

For $20, each participant will receive:

  • T-Shirt - NEW color in 2014

  • Ability to sync with mobile apps and devices like Fitbit for example.

  • Specialized fitness plans for participants to choose from

  • The reporting features have been upgraded on the personal dashboard to make reporting easier

  • Webinars for captains and participants

  • New magazine choices

  • Discount registration for statewide finale 5K events
    ..and more!

For more information, visit or contact Stacy Murphy by Jan. 23.


Bouquets and Kudos...


Link to the GWAEA Daily -

Looking to expand your PLN (Personal Learning Network), but don’t know where to start or who to follow. We have put together a site to get you started! This site is published daily pulling resources from Youtube, Twitter, Facebook, blogs and other social media. You can select the subscribe button and have it emailed to you. Readers can also easily select a story, video, photo or link and share it with others! All you need is an email address to subscribe to this electronic newspaper!


Resources can be added to our paper, so if YOU are writing blog posts, adding to a Youtube channel or sending Tweets let us know! If there is another organization or professional to include in the paper fill out the Contributor’s Form. This is something that we will be sharing with LEAs as well.  Happy reading!

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.

New TQ dates 2013-2014

Feb. 26, May 28, 2014
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 2013-2014 is now on the Professional Development Google Site.  To access the Google site, log into your Google account, click on Sites, and browse sites. 



iPad Professional Development

There are a series of Google and iPad workshops being offered. See the GWAEA Professional Development site to register.



Introduction to Sheltered Instruction

This course will provide participants with a research-based framework to guide differentiated lesson planning, delivery, and assessment that meet the needs of ELLs and other diverse learners. Teaching strategies and demonstrations specifically designed to facilitate simultaneous learning of language and content will be presented by a variety of veteran educators.


Location: Coralville Public Library

1401 5th Street, Coralville,
Number: 4269-13-01


01/25/2014 8:45 AM-4:15 PM
02/08/2014 8:45 AM-4:15 PM
02/25/2014 4:30 PM-6:30 PM



See flyer for details.


The Measures That Matter Most

Presenter Brandon Busteed will share research findings of how schools are increasing student engagement, hope and well-being and why these measures are more important than tests and grades.


See flyer for details.


Number: 19221-13-012/5/2014 1:00 PM-3:30 PM

Number: 19221-13-02

2/5/2014 6:00 PM-8:00 PM

Thinking About Thinking: Practical Social Thinking Strategies for Students with Social Learning Challenges

This workshop is designed to introduce attendees to Social Thinking and social learning related to functional treatment strategies to use both at school and at home. The ILAUGH Model of Social Thinking will be introduced which helps to demonstrate how social processing difficulties impact many of our students, not only their social skills but also their ability to work as part of a group and focus on specific academic tasks such as written expression, reading comprehension and organizational skills.


A deeper discussion about WHY students with social skills difficulties have related academic challenges, which impact them across their school and home day will also be a part of the workshop day.


Emphasis will be given to understanding the Common Core Standards (CCSs) and how these related to individuals who are more literal, aloof, miss sarcasm, are less organized, show marked difficulty reading social contextual cues from people and the situation, comprehending language arts material, expressing themselves in written expression, and appear more awkward in their attempts to socially engage with their peers. The emphasis of this day will be around expanding our understanding of where to start and how to progress with these students based on their age, what is realistic to teach, and how to apply this learning in the inclusion-based classroom.


Number: 19230-13-01
Date/Time: 02/07/2014 8:30 AM-3:30 PM

Significant Disabilities Miniseries: Literacy Instruction for Students with Significant Disabilities

This session will introduce the basic principles of literacy instruction for use by regular and special education teachers for students with significant disabilities. This content is based primarily on the research of Karen Erickson from the Literacy and Disabilities Studies Center at UNC-Chapel Hill. Join us as we discuss this framework of instruction as well as practical implementation strategies to get you started.
Number: 19214-13-01

Date/Time: 02/07/2014 1:00 PM-4:00 PM

Supporting Brain Functioning in the Classroom

Participants will gain an awareness of the GWAEA Brain Injury Resource Team. Content will include discussion and interactive learning that includes parts of the brain and their executive responsibilities. Additionally, participants will learn about the potential classroom impacts of brain injuries with a primary focus on classroom strategies to support individuals with brain injury and support universal learning for all students.
Number: 19212-13-02
Date/Time: 02/11/2014 8:30 AM-11:30 AM

Crisis Prevention Intervention Certification

Crisis Prevention Intervention (CPI) is a behavior management training program designed to provide safe and secure behavioral intervention. It is a respectful, noninvasive method to use in defusing escalating behavior and safely manage physically aggressive behavior. This approach emphasizes prevention and teaches educators how to de-escalate potentially disruptive or violent situations. Participants also learn how to design school-wide behavior crisis management systems and to create behavior crisis intervention teams. Participants who complete CPI training are certified for one year by the International CPI Association.
Please bring a sack lunch as it is a working lunch.
Number: 9303-13-03
Date/Time: 02/13/2014 8:00 AM-5:00 PM

An Evidence Based Approach to Standing and Walking for Children with Moderate to Severe Motor Dysfunction

This one day course will focus on infants and children with moderate to severe gross motor dysfunction. Standing and walking will be presented using a review of the evidence interspersed with case studies using videos from the presenter's personal experiences.
Number: 19239-13-01
Date/Time: 02/20/2014 8:30 AM-5:00 PM

Assistive Technology Consideration and IEP Team AT Resources

This workshop will discuss the requirements for assistive technology consideration during the IEP process and how to include that information on the new Iowa IEP forms. The content of this workshop will also provide tips and methods for carrying out successful AT consideration in an IEP meeting. A form used by many AEAs and highlighted on the Iowa Department of Education website will be highlighted and discussed. Assistive Technology resources and related forms for documentation will also be highlighted. These AT tools and resources are available on the GWAEA AT Website for district IEP teams to utilize as they seek to meet the needs of students with disabilities. Participants are encouraged to bring their own technology device (BYOD) to this workshop in order to access and bookmark web-based resources that are discussed in this workshop.
Number: 19205-13-03
Date/Time: 02/25/2014 8:30 AM-11:30 AM

The Conversation is the Relationship - Intro to Fierce Conversations

Number: 4602-13-01

02/18/2014 8:30 AM-4:00 PM
Grant Wood AEA Northern Facility
4401 Sixth Street S.W., Cedar Rapids

04/01/2014 8:30 AM-4:00 PM
Grant Wood AEA Southern Facility
200 Holiday Road, Coralville

05/05/2014 8:30 AM-4:00 PM
Grant Wood AEA Northern Facility
4401 Sixth Street S.W., Cedar Rapids


See flyer for details.

The course will provide an introduction to the concept of "fierce conversation."


Participants will begin to build a foundation of the four conversations models with "Fierce."


During the three class meetings conversation models will be shared, inside and outside classroom time will be used to develop and practice the tools:

Team Conversations - Engage teams in frictionless debates that interrogate multiple, often competing realities, resulting in the best decisions for the organization, enthusiastically implemented.


Coaching Conversations - Engage individuals in conversations that increase clarity, improve understanding and provide impetus for change - resulting in professional development, a bias for action, and accelerated results.


Delegation Conversations - Clarify responsibilities and raise accountability, ensuring that each employee has a clear path of development, action plans are implemented, goals are achieved, and leaders are free to take on more complex responsibilities that confront and resolve attitudinal, performance, or behavioral issues, while also enriching relationships.

Confrontation Conversations - Engage individuals and teams in conversations that confront and resolve attitudinal, performance or behavioral issues, while also enriching relationships.
With the focus on these four conversations, participants will be supported in their implementation through a professional learning community providing coaching and feedback.

Looking for Learning in the Digital Classroom

Presenter: Jeff Utecht

Just because the laptops are open does that mean learning is occurring? We need to move beyond doing old activities in new ways to doing whole new activities that lead to deeper more meaningful learning.


This session will help educators learn what to look for in the digital classroom. Using new theories and new standards, you will walk away with a greater understanding of how digital tools change the learning landscape and allow for authentic learning experiences.


See flyer for details.

Search is the skill of our era, a life skill that once mastered opens up all sorts of opportunities. Do we teach search in you classrooms and schools? This session will also focus on the skills and strategies of search. Participants will walk away with plans, ideas and classroom routines they can start using tomorrow in their classroom to teach students the skill needed most in today's connected world.



Number: 19232-13-01

3/5/2014 1:00 PM-3:30 PM


Comprehensive Implementation Training

April 14-15, 2014

8:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.

Check & Connect is a model of sustained intervention for promoting students’ engagement at school and with learning.


See flyer for details.


Register Online. Special needs should be indicated on registration information. Fees: $575. Register by April 6, 2014

Building Bridges: Eastern Iowa Assistive Technology Conference

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Location: Iowa Memorial Union
University of Iowa

Keynote Speaker: Ruth Ziolkowski

President, Don Johnston Incorporated


The “Building Bridges: Eastern Iowa Assistive Technology Conference” is in its third year and will provide an opportunity to see firsthand the latest in assistive technologies (AT), practices and services for children (birth-21) with disabilities. This AT conference will serve as a unique opportunity for professionals, parents, administrators and service providers to exchange and gather information on the current status and assistive technology tools available for consideration.


See flyer for details.

The sessions presented at the “Building Bridges: Eastern Iowa Assistive Technology Conference” are divided into six main tracks, which include:

• Accessibility

• Augmentative and Alternative Communication

• Mobile Devices & Special Education

• District Policy to Practice

• Accessibly Instructional Materials/Universal Design for Learning

• Core Curriculum & Assistive Technology


Participants are encouraged to attend a single track or a wide variety of tracks depending on your conference objectives. Lunch and parking are included with your registration.


Audience: Special Education Teachers, General Education Teachers, AEA Support Staff, Curriculum Directors, Administrators, Parents


Workshop Number: 19018-13-01

Registration Deadline: 04/08/2014

Workshop Fees: $50

iPad U: Slide to Unlock Learning

July 9-11, 2014, 9 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.

The goals of iPadU are to provide educators with support and training in the implementation of iPad use in the classroom to begin utilizing the device for teaching and learning.


iPadU is a three-day conference that will offer sessions and a keynote featuring Matt Gomez. Participants will customize their iPad learning and plan or expand how it can be used in an educational setting to enhance teaching and learning.


Join us for a variety of workshops and sessions that will guarantee exciting, hands-on learning experiences that you can use to integrate technology instruction in K-12 classrooms. Lunch will be provided for all participants.


See flyer for details.

Course #: 4628-14-01

Registration Deadline: July 1, 2014 at 6 a.m.



Total for non-credit $100

Total for Renewal $125

Total for Drake credit $200

Registration is not complete until all fees are paid in full. Credit: R, D-EDEX - 1 Sem. Hrs.

Evaluator Approval Information

Professional Administrator Licenses require approved Evaluator Approval coursework as a part of the licenses renewal credits.  The course options include Assessing Academic Rigor and iEvaluate. A letter from the DE/BOEE is attached for additional information. Please contact the PD office if you have further questions.


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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