Grant Wood AEA logo
Bulletin Board

In This issue:


Reminder - Employee Background Checks for All GWAEA Staff
Parent Summary of Educational Evaluation Form
What Your Agency Cabinet Has Been Considering
News from the Agency Wellness Advisory Committee
Reminder for Contracted Staff: Professional Leave Reimbursement
Each and Every Child
Learning Together
Welcome, New GWAEA Staff
Thank you
2014 Horizons Meals on Wheels
Potato Fest
Parent/Student Transition Night
Thank you from the Animal Shelter
The GWAEA Daily
Like Us on Facebook and Twitter
TQ Professional Development dates
GWAEA Professional Development Opportunities
Buy, Sell or Trade


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.

Reminder -- Employee Background Checks for All GWAEA Staff

Please remember to sign up for fingerprinting!  Available appointment times include:

a.      Wed, Feb 19, Cedar Rapids 6th St

b.      Mon, Feb 24, Cedar Rapids 6th St

c.      Fri, Feb 28, Cedar Rapids 6th St

d.      Wed, March 5, Coralville

You may refer to the January 23 Bulletin Board for more information regarding this new requirement.

Parent Summary of Educational Evaluation Form

As of January 27. 2014, the Parent Summary of Educational Evaluation Form has been removed from the IowaIDEA 2013 system until further notice. For additional information, contact Melissa Tandy,

What Your Agency Cabinet Has Been Considering

Below is a recap of the key issues the executive cabinet discussed at its meeting last week. If you have any questions, feel free to contact any of the cabinet members* for more information.

Good News to Share

Grant Wood AEA is working with a new Medicaid provider, MJ Care. Staff participated in training on our new Medicaid procedures/systems last week.  Preliminary reports from staff indicate that the training went well.

The business office has received the Independent Auditor Report for 6/30/13.  A representative from the audit firm will be at the February board meeting to review the report with the board.

HR reports the SLP floater position has worked well as a resource to support reliable coverage for various service needs that have occurred throughout the course of the year.

Early Literacy Initiative Support

The Iowa TIER, as well as IGDIs and FAST assessments, will be made available to all districts to support the requirement in recently enacted Iowa Code Section 279.68 (Early Literacy Legislation) that all schools must implement valid and reliable universal screening and progress monitoring assessments by August 2014. There is a team of AEA/DE/LEA personnel working to develop a detailed plan of how we will provide professional development and technical assistance to support the rollout of the TIER system to school personnel and to AEA staff members. More information about the proposed training plan will be available in the next several months.

Wellness Advisory Committee

There were a number of discussion items regarding this work. Please see the update from the Advisory Committee in this issue.

Staff Background Checks and Fingerprinting

As reported in last week’s Bulletin Board, this is going forward with dates in February and March. (See the above article.) Contracted staff working on-site in the schools will be given first choice for dates/times to get their fingerprinting done.

Anticipated Vacancies Being Posted

The cabinet approved the posting of anticipated vacancies for the four largest job categories in the Contracted Staff employee group (School Psychologist, School Social Worker, Speech-Language Pathologist and Special Education Consultants). Since openings routinely occur in these categories each year, it's important to begin the search process as early as possible.

Legislative Letters

George will be providing information to staff with sample letters for staff, educators and parents. A reminder that the letters should not be written on GWAEA letterhead. The Cabinet discussed how powerful it would be if every staff member in the agency wrote at least one letter to a legislator and encouraged at least one other individual to write a letter in support of the AEAs. This would have a huge impact on legislators in our area!

*The Cabinet is comprised of the following individuals: Joe Crozier, Maria Cashman,
Lisa Wilson, Kris Donnelly, Jackie Schreder, Barb Harms, and George Held.

News from the Agency Wellness Advisory Committee

Committee members have investigated retrofitting the drinking fountains in our facilities so staff can fill their water bottles at the fountains. The projected cost is approximately $1,000 per fountain. The Cabinet fully supports this upgrade to the fountains. Since Coralville staff will be moving to a new facility, the effort will begin with the four fountains at the 6th St facility and will be incorporated in the design planning for 33rd Ave.


Committee members discussed information shared by the Blue Zones Project regarding research that suggests people with a strong sense of purpose live longer and enjoy better health. The Agency mission, goals and priorities that are regularly communicated support a sense of purpose, and the Committee is also exploring sponsoring training that encourages employees to connect with their own personal purpose.


The Committee inquired about the possibility of obtaining group savings or discounts through the Iowa Educators Consortium (IEC) for a variety of wellness/fitness-related items to promote employee well-being. The IEC is now exploring educator discount options that may include employee savings for activity tracking devices (such as Fitbits), athletic shoes and other fitness apparel, home fitness/exercise equipment and gym memberships.


While the Blue Zones Project will be concluding in the Cedar Rapids area in January 2016, the Agency Committee will continue efforts to support, promote and sustain well-being activities for Agency staff on an ongoing basis.


If staff have questions or would like to provide input regarding well-being efforts, please feel free to contact any of the Wellness Advisory Committee Members.

Reminder for Contracted Staff: Professional Leave Reimbursements


As a reminder, the timelines for submitting professional leave reimbursement forms are:

  • Equipment and materials – no later than March 1, or at least three months prior to leaving the Agency, whichever is first.

  • Other expenses (including conferences, license fees and professional dues) will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis – again the March 1 timeline is an indication for determining an expense is job-related.

These timelines, which apply to all contracted staff, help establish the job-related connection of the expense and improve the likelihood an eligible reimbursement request will be granted.
For additional details on Professional Leave Reimbursement, see the Grant Wood AEA Business Services and Human Resources manual found on the HR & Business Office page of the Grant Wood AEA website.

Iowa Department of Education's February issue of Each and Every Child

The Iowa Department of Education’s e-newsletter,

Each and Every Child, is aimed at the special education community, and is distributed to over 12,000 Iowans.


In the February 2014 issue, learn "What High Growth Schools are Doing," the focus of a recent study completed by the Iowa Department of Education in conjunction with Grant Wood AEA.

Each and Every Child is available on the Iowa Department of Education website. Email address changes may be sent to

Learning Together



Career Connections staff and Iowa Vocational Rehabilitation Services (IVRS) counselors met Jan. 24 to collaborate on student needs and progress. A large group meeting is planned once a year; Career Connections and IVRS staff plan to meet at least once a quarter.

Welcome, New GWAEA Staff


Megan Simonsen

B.A., Buena Vista University

Megan worked at Grant Wood Elementary in Iowa City, Nov. 2013-Jan. 2014, and Washington Comm. School District, as a paraeducator, Nov. 2012-May 2013. She also worked as a youth counselor for two years at Four Oaks in Cedar Rapids in the Aspergers Program.

Thank you

I would like to thank all of the Grant Wood staff for the kind thoughts, prayers, cards and gifts received following my mom’s passing. Most importantly, I owe a special thanks to those who volunteered to manage my caseload during my leave, which allowed me to care for my mom during her last week of life. All of these gifts will never be forgotten. Dave and I are so fortunate to work with such a wonderful group of people. Again, thank you!


Kelly Brousard


Hope Blooms ... It's daffodil time!

Orders have been extended to Monday, Feb. 3, at 10 a.m. Read about this year's orders in the Jan. 23 issue of The Bulletin Board.


2014 Horizons Meals On Wheels Lunchbox fundraiser at Grant Wood AEA


The 4th Annual Horizons Meals On Wheels Lunchbox fundraiser is planned for the week of Feb. 10-14, 2014.


We would like to offer GWAEA staff two opportunities to participate in this worthy cause. Group orders will be taken for delivery at the GWAEA Northern Facility on Tuesday, February 11, and Thursday, February 13.  The lunches may be picked up at the receptionist desk any time after 11:30 a.m.


The Lunchbox costs $10, $5 of which will feed you, while the other $5 benefits Horizons Meals On Wheels as the organization continues to help older adults and persons with disabilities meet their daily nutritional needs.


Lunchbox sandwich choices: 
1. Larry’s Favorite Roast Beef - $10 – Fresh marble rye roll stacked high with shaved roast beef and crispy coleslaw. Served with kettle chips and apple slices with caramel dip on the side.
2. Turkey Club Focaccia - $10 – Fresh herb focaccia bread layered with smoked turkey, bacon, and sun dried tomato basil mayonnaise. Served with kettle chips and apple slices with caramel dip on the side.
3. Mediterranean Salad - $10 – Mixed romaine and baby greens prepared with fresh veggies and topped with slices of fresh mozzarella and rosemary lemon vinaigrette on the side. Served with a garlic breadstick and apple slices with yogurt dip on the side.
4. Chef Mike’s “CR” Delight - $3 each – Decadent chocolate cake with rich chocolate mousse and raspberry topping. Treat yourself or share with your sweetheart!


Celebrity Cookbooks are also being sold for $15 each. They include recipes from over 100 celebrities. Order 5 or more at $10 each. If interested check with Cathy and she will put orders together to qualify for the discount.

Send your choice of sandwich etc. and payment (cash or check made payable to Horizons Lunchbox) to the attention of Cathy Nelson, Sixth Street front desk, no later than Friday, February 7, 2014.


Click for flyer



Keynote speaker: Lew Montgomery

Click for flyer


Get detailed information about your retirement account. Learn about possible retirement dates, benefit option payouts, and service purchase options.
See flyer for details.



Residence Inn - Marriott
1900 Dodge Rd NE
Cedar Rapids IA

Individual Appointments:      

April 28, 29 30 and May 1, 2014


Residence Inn – Marriott
2681 James St
Coralville IA

Individual Appointments:
July 7, 8, 9 and 10, 2014


Pre-registration is needed to attend an individual appointment. To schedule an individual appointment, contact IPERS at 1-800-622-3849.  Appointment times will fill quickly; please do not delay in calling to set up an appointment.


Thank You from the Animal Shelter

Thank you!!! We would like to thank everyone that gave to the Giving Tree!  We got so many wonderful gifts- the cats love all of the beds especially! We appreciate all of the donations more than you realize. We're overwhelmed with your generosity!

Friends of the Shelter Volunteers


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.




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

Selecting Writing Accommodations for Struggling Students

Join us as we introduce to you the Written Productivity Profile (WPP) for use with struggling writers as a means to determine the most appropriate accommodations for written expression. The updated version of the Written Productivity Profile is to be released by this fall via the Don Johnston website. Participants may be encouraged to download this tool (for a small charge) prior to attendance. There will be opportunity for you to observe step-by-step administration of this tool. In addition, we will introduce additional free writing assessments and low cost AT supports that enable teachers to closely examine the writing process for ALL students including those with mild to significant disabilities.
Participants are asked to bring a laptop with them to the training and if possible to download the updated Written Productivity Profile from the Don Johnston website.


Number: 19201-13-04


Date/Time: 02/17/2014 8:30 AM-11:30 AM


Audience: K-12 General and Special Education Teachers, Reading Support, Social Workers, Speech Language Pathologists, Psychologists, OT/PT, Consultant



Grant Wood AEA Northern Facility
4401 Sixth Street S.W.
Cedar Rapids, IA 52404

PAR-ty: Selecting Reading Accommodations for Struggling Students

Big news! There is a tool available that has been making a big difference in identifying the best reading accommodations for struggling readers. This new tool is called PAR (Protocol for Accommodations in Reading) and it is a free download from Don Johnston, Inc. Whether you've never heard of it - or have already downloaded it - this workshop is to help us all get started using this tool the right way. And what better way than with a party? Or rather, a PAR-ty! Come join us to learn more about the tool and get your materials together, along with a chance to practice PAR on a fellow colleague or two.
Participants are asked to bring a laptop with them to the training and to download the PAR guide and to print resource guide prior to workshop.


Number: 19202-13-04


Date/Time:02/17/2014 12:30 PM-3:30 PM


Audience: K-12 General and Special Education Teachers, Reading Support, Social Workers, Speech Language Pathologists, Consultants



Grant Wood AEA Northern Facility
4401 Sixth Street S.W.
Cedar Rapids, IA 52404

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.

Buy, Sell or Trade

For Sale: Girl Scout cookie sales begin Feb. 8th! Jane Harney’s daughter is selling cookies this year, so if you’d like to place an order - you may call, email or stop by & see Jane starting Monday, Feb 10. (x6520).


For Sale: HyVee Fun Raising Coupon Book. Redeem coupons at any Cedar Rapids & Marion Hy-Vee Food Store or Drugstore. Over $100 worth of savings. If interested, please contact Amy Keller, or 319.321.3986


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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