Grant Wood AEA logo
Bulletin Board


Nov. 27, 3 p.m.

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


Dec. 24, 3 p.m.

The agency closes for winter break and will reopen on
Jan. 2, 2013, at 7:30 a.m.


Grant Wood AEA Innovation Day

May 13, 2014




American Education Week
EAP Reminder
Flexible Spending Accounts
Thank you
Six Iowa Schools Honored for Breaking Barriers
Iowa Core Fine Arts Testimonial
View and Save GMail Attachmentrs with Drive
GWAEA iPad Refresh
Link to the GWAEA Daily
Recycle Cell Phones and Eye Glasses
Like Us on Facebook and Twitter
TQ Professional Development dates
GWAEA Professional Development Opportunities
Buy, Sell and 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.

2013 American Education Week—November 18-22, 2013

"Raise Your Hand for Student Success"


Thank you, Grant Wood AEA Staff!

Thank you for being “developers” of the future.  As educational developers, similar to developers in business or industry, you are providing direction for the future. The support provided for student achievement directly impacts our next generation and their families.
During the 93rd annual American Education Week, Nov. 18-22, 2013, Americans nationwide are joining the National Education Association in raising awareness about the need to provide every child with a quality public education.
The celebration highlights the importance of bringing together educators, parents, students, and communities in a unified effort to build great public schools. It also reflects NEA's vision of calling upon America to provide public school students with quality schools so that they can grow and achieve in the 21st century.

American Education Week celebrates public education and honors individuals who are making a difference and partnering to ensure that every child receives a quality education.
Thank you, GWAEA staff, for your dedication and enthusiasm to improve student achievement. We appreciate you!

EAP Reminder

The Agency provides an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) to support staff and family members. This program is provided through Mercy EAP Services and includes professional and confidential counseling and referral services for a variety of personal issues. The goal of the program is to assist employees in effectively identifying and resolving personal concerns in a proactive manner before they affect job performance. 

All clinicians with Mercy EAP are licensed mental health counselors and are experienced in assisting individuals in meeting the challenges of today’s busy lifestyles. The EAP is confidential and easy to use – just call 319-398-6694 or 1-800-383-6694  to schedule an appointment. There is no cost to employees for initial discussions – up to 3 sessions per employee family member per year (July 1-June 30) are provided.  

A variety of personal situations can complicate one’s life at home and on the job. The Employee Assistance Program provides counselors who can talk with you or your family about a problem and assist you in solving that problem. Whenever necessary, you will be referred to another resource that can best serve your needs. In most cases, your insurance may be used to cover the cost of additional help. If you need help that is not covered by insurance, the counselor can recommend services that are based on ability to pay.

It is hoped employees and families always lead happy and healthy lives, however if problems do occur and additional support or assistance would be helpful, the Agency is pleased to provide this valuable resource through the EAP. If you are ready to try a new approach to addressing challenges in your life, please remember Mercy EAP Services.

If you have questions or need additional information, feel free to call the Human Resources Office at x6703, refer to the Business Services & HR Procedures Manual at, or view brochure at

Flexible Spending Accounts – 2014 Plan Year Enrollment

This is a follow up to the employee e-mail communication sent November 11.  We are in our enrollment period for the 2014 Flexible Spending Account (FSA) plan year.  The FSA program allows you to set aside money from your paychecks on a pre-tax basis to pay for qualified health and dependent care expenses.  The following documents are available for further guidance and enrollment:

Employees must complete the ASI Flex Enrollment Form if electing to participate in a health and/or dependent care flex account for the 2014 plan year.  Please print, complete and submit the enrollment form to Cathy Kearns, Grant Wood AEA Business Services, by the December 6, 2013 deadline.  


Remember:  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!


Payroll deductions for health, dental and vision insurance premiums are automatically made on a pre-tax basis.  An annual pre-tax election for this is not necessary. Employees who want to have their insurance premiums deducted post-tax are to contact Cathy Kearns prior to December 6, 2013.


Grant Wood AEA is aware of the recent IRS notice allowing partial carryover of unused FSA funds for health care expenses.  Please be aware as you consider your annual elections for 2014 that the carryover option is not currently included in the Agency's FSA plan.  Over the course of the 2014 plan year, the Agency will be reviewing the potential impact of making this option available at a later date.


Questions can be directed to Cathy Kearns, Grant Wood AEA Business Services, ext. 6706 or


Thank you

I so appreciate all of the support from my colleagues here at Grant Wood following the loss of my father on November 7.  I am grateful to work with such generous and caring people.  



Nicole Clymer

Six Iowa schools honored for ‘Breaking Barriers’

Schools recognized for reducing gaps in achievement among students

Congratulations to Kennedy High School, Cedar Rapids Schools, one of six schools from across the state honored by the State Board of Education for significant progress in closing gaps in student achievement.


The Breaking Barriers to Teaching and Learning Award was created by the State Board of Education. Each year, the award recognizes successful efforts to eliminate achievement gaps among students who face challenges. This year’s award-winners were recognized for having the highest proficiency rates statewide in math and reading among a specific subgroup of students, such as students who do not speak English as their native language and students from low-income backgrounds. Data from three years were examined to confirm a positive trend for each school.


The schools that met this criteria include:

·         Kennedy High School, Cedar Rapids: Latino students (92.3 percent proficiency rate in reading and mathematics; statewide average for this subgroup is 58.8 percent).

·         Cedar Falls High School, Cedar Falls: African American students (84.7 percent proficiency rate in reading and mathematics; statewide average for this subgroup is 46.3 percent).
·         South Tama County Elementary, Tama: Native American students (75.8 percent proficiency rate in reading and mathematics; statewide average for this subgroup is 59.3 percent).
·         Carroll High School, Carroll: Low socioeconomic status (86.4 percent proficiency rate in reading and math; statewide average for this subgroup is 61.3 percent).
·         Northeast Elementary, Ankeny: Students on Individualized Education Programs (75.8 percent proficiency rate in reading and mathematics; statewide average for this subgroup is 32.3 percent).
·         Lenox Elementary School, Lenox: English language learners (86.4 percent proficiency rate in reading and math; statewide average for this subgroup is 42.6 percent).

Interviews with school principals revealed a common thread between the honored schools: the use of evidence-based practices, a staff-wide commitment, high expectations and substantial teacher collaboration.


Reducing the achievement gap is one of the State Board of Education’s top priorities.

“We celebrate these schools because they’ve made major strides in helping students overcome challenges and achieve,” said State Board of Education President Rosie Hussey. “We look to their leadership as we work to move our education system forward in Iowa.”

Iowa Fine Arts Testimonial Recruitment

The Iowa Alliance for Arts Education is planning a Fine Arts Advocacy Day at the State Capitol on January 29, 2014.


The purpose of the event is to advocate for Fine Arts education in Iowa and ask for legislative support of a bill to add Fine Arts to the Iowa Core. Please see the attached flyer for additional information.


For information, contact Myra Hall,


View and save Gmail attachment directly with Drive

Over the next few days, Google will be rolling out a feature that lets you view Gmail attachments and save files 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.




GWAEA iPad Refresh

The announcement was made about the new iPads in August. We elected to wait until the new iPads came out and they were just released November 1st. We have ordered a few to preview, to see if we need new cases, features etc. The refresh will hopefully be taking place in December and we will use data from the feedback forms to decide who will be part of the first wave of refresh. This is not going to be an easy process and we will try to meet the needs of as many staff as we can. Be watching The Bulletin Board for updates.


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!


Recycle Used Phones and Eye Glasses


Thank you to those who donated cell phones and eye glasses. I will continue to take these items at any time.

Mary Van Voltenburg

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. 

Mandatory Reporter, Bloodborne Pathogens and/or Chapter 103: Seclusion and Restraint training

Reminder notices are being sent. Please submit certificates of completion to Tammy Carolan in the Professional Development Office.



iPad Professional Development

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



GWAEA Professional Development Opportunity

Special Education and Iowa Core Mathematics

Dec. 9, 2013 • 8:30 AM-3:30 PM


Registration Deadline: Dec. 4, 2014,
6:00 a.m.


See flyer for details

Routines and Activities in Word Study for Phonics, Vocabulary, and Spelling Instruction K-3

Presenter: Donald Bear

Participants will explore schedules to implement word study in the classroom. Routines for teacher-guided small group, and independent learning will be introduced. Spelling routines are considered as part of word study. Participants will examine sorts and activities at each developmental stage. Core standards will be addressed in the areas of foundational skills, reading, writing, and language. Participants will receive Words Their Way, 5th edition and grade level specific supplemental materials so they can implement these strategies with students.


Target Audience: PreK-3 General and Special Education Teachers, Reading Support, Speech Language Pathologists

Word Study

See flyer for details


Number: 19237-13-01


12/10/2013 8:300 AM-3:30 PM

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: 19202-13-03

Date/Time: 12/12/2013 12:30 PM-3:30 PM

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: 19201-13-03

Date/Time: 12/12/2013 8:30 AM-11:30 AM

Sink or Swim: How to Modify High School Curriculum for Learners with Special Needs

This workshop will provide participants a process which will enable them to modify any course content so that students who are included in the general education classroom will be able to understand, know and be able to do the basic requirements for the course.
Number: 19217-13-01


01/06/2014 9:00 AM-3:30 PM



See flyer for details.

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: Full size violin. Asking $400.00.  Email


Lost & Found

Pin: Purple heart shaped awareness ribbon found in the 6th Street Building. Check with Cathy Nelson,, 6544, at the front desk to claim.

Book: Personal Learning Networks - Using the Power of Connections to Transform Education, found in the conference center break room.


Pen: Silver & Black "Grant Wood AEA" pen/stylus 


Staff Break Room Recycle Table will be emptied on November 27. Lost & Found items that haven't been claimed will also be there for the taking. Check for items that you might be able to use.



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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