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Grant Wood AEA Innovation Day

May 13, 2014




The latest on RtI: A new name
Emergency Closure Phone Call Test
Electronic W-2's Now Available
Thank you
Our Condolences
Hope Blooms ... It's daffodil time!
Witwer Children's Therapy Conference
The GWAEA Daily
iPad Air Refresh
View and Save GMail Attachments Directly with Drive
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.

The latest on RtI: A new name

An effort to implement Response to Intervention in schools statewide is continuing under a new name.


Leaders from the Iowa Department of Education, Area Education Agencies, and school districts recently agreed to rename this effort Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS).


“Both RtI and MTSS essentially mean the same thing,” said Rita Martens, a lead consultant at the Iowa Department of Education. “We’re choosing MTSS because it is a more accurate description; it more accurately reflects the work. It is a multi-tiered focus, not just a focus on shoring up students who have fallen behind.”


While the name has changed, the focus remains the same: Help all students read proficiently by the end of third grade.


MTSS is a proven practice to help schools identify, and intervene with, struggling readers as well as students who are on track to read proficiently early on. This is accomplished by setting up an early warning system, adapting instruction to fit those students’ individual needs, and then monitoring their progress.


MTSS focuses on three tiers of intervention:

·         Universal: For every student

·         Targeted: For students who are either struggling or need to be accelerated

·         Intensive: For students who are significantly behind and where targeted intervention didn’t help


MTSS allows educators to judge the overall health of their school system by examining data on all students in general and special education, as well as identifying students who need additional supports.  Those supports are provided in both small group and individual settings and are measured to determine if they are making a difference. The idea is to ensure all students reach the expectations set by the Iowa Core standards and are prepared for success after high school.


“MTSS is just a clearer articulation about what the effort is focused on,” said Brad Niebling, a Department consultant. "This work is intended to facilitate student learning in the Iowa Core and the Iowa Early Learning Standards.”


About 10 percent of the state’s schools rolled out MTSS last fall under the Response to Intervention name. Iowa’s education system is working to put the practice in place statewide through Collaborating for Iowa’s Kids, a partnership among Iowa’s AEAs, school districts, and the Iowa Department of Education.

Emergency Closure Phone Call Test

On Tuesday of next week (Jan. 14) at 6:30 p.m., the agency will test its emergency closure phone announcement system.
We are using the phone numbers provided by staff in the HR department files. If you have checked the “No One” option for sharing your phone number, you will not be called. If you select “Agency Staff Only” or any of the other options, then you will receive a closure call, if we need to announce one.


To check your listed contact information, go into the agency’s Employee Self Service Log-in. At the top of the list on the left-hand side of the screen, just under the heading “my information” you will see “Personal Information.” Click on that. You may then edit your home phone or cell phone number, your mailing address, etc. Be sure to click on “Save Changes” before you exit this web page.


Electronic W-2’s Now Available

The Grant Wood Payroll System now includes functionality to distribute Form W-2 Wage and Tax Statements electronically to employees who give proper consent.  By giving electronic W-2 delivery consent, this means you will not receive a paper W-2 Form in the mail.  Instead, you would receive an email indicating that your W-2 Form is available to view and print on the Employee Self Service (ESS) site.


This option is available and can be made within the ESS at:  Log in with your username and password. Under the ‘my information’ column select the W-2 History tab.  Read through the Electronic W-2 Delivery Consent bubble to give your consent.




Contact Cathy Kearns, Compensation/Benefits, with any questions about W-2 Forms and/or electronic delivery consent.  Email:  or phone:  319-399-6706.

Thank you...

Thank you to each of you who have sent me cards and emails, supported me while I was out of the office, and who have contributed to my wife Pam's memorial fund. This experience has reminded me that we are indeed a family at Grant Wood AEA. 


George Held

Our Condolences...

• to Carol Cassells on the passing of her husband, Tom, on Dec. 31, 2013. Carol is an AEA colleague providing temporary curriculum services with the VAST Center.



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.

Witwer Children's Therapy Conference

April 3-4, 2014

DoubleTree by Hilton, Cedar Rapids


Day 1: Kelly Dorfman, MS LND, author of “Cure Your Child with Food” will discuss “Using Nutrition to Improve the Biochemistry of Development, Learning and Mood.”


Day 2: Cris Rowan, OT, will present “Attachment and Addictions: How Virtual Parenting is Destroying our Children” and “Technology Balance: Connection to Technology is Disconnecting Child Development.”


To register, visit



See attached flyer for details


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!

iPad Air Refresh

Remember if you are getting your iPad refreshed in this cycle your orientation is next week. Please see the email confirmation you were sent to make sure you have the device backed up to iCloud and are ready to set up your new device. Here is the list of staff, their scheduled appointment time and case selection.

View and Save Gmail Attachments Directly with Drive

Gmail lets you save attachments directly to Google Drive without ever leaving Gmail. The next time you open an email with attachments, you’ll see new previews of the files at the bottom of the email. When you click on one of those previews, a full-screen view of the image or document will appear. You can now also save your attachments directly to Drive simply by clicking the Drive button that appears when you hover over the preview. You can even put it in a current folder or create a new one to put it into!



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.


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

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: 2013 Retina MacBook Pro. Contact Mike Hauer, 399-6788.



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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