Grant Wood AEA logo
Bulletin Board

In This issue:


AEA/DE Customer Satisfaction Survey
Education Funding
Negotiations Update
Who Would You Like to Recognize?
Reminder - Fingerprinting Required for ALL Staff by March 14, 2014
Professional Leave is moving Online!
GWAEA Joins Blue Zones
Healthier Vending Options Coming Soon!
New Workshop: Digital Formative Response Tools
Our Condolences
The GWAEA Daily
Like Us on Facebook and Twitter
TQ Professional Development dates
GWAEA Professional Development Opportunities
Goodwill Seeks Emily Helms Award Nominations
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.

AEA/DE Customer Satisfaction Survey

The 2013-14 AEA Customer Satisfaction Survey is available through Friday, April 11. The Iowa Department of Education conducts this annual statewide survey. The survey provides us with insight on what the AEA is doing right and what we can do to improve our services.

Please encourage educators to participate in this survey so that we can gain valuable input about our programs and services. 


The Joint Education Allowable Growth Group (IASB, UEN, AEAs, SAI, ISEA) developed an action plan to address the declining education funding and the need for consistent growth in annual spending rate (as well as the need to set rate consistent with law). This weekly email is sent to all legislators and the governor. DE Director Buck highlights a pertinent fact about pending legislation that affects education in Iowa.

Education Funding March 3, 2014

Fact of the Week:

It's All About The Timing

Click to access the text.

Negotiations Update

This joint update is being provided by the Agency/Association teams regarding negotiations.  A bargaining session was held Wednesday, March 5, and the group is pleased to announce that a tentative agreement has been reached for 2014-15 for Classified Staff.  (As a reminder, a 2-year total package agreement was reached last year for Contracted Staff with a 3.6% total package increase for 2014-15.)

Information on the tentative agreement will be provided to staff at a ratification meeting, which is being scheduled for Monday, March 10. The Association will be communicating further details about this meeting.

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.

Reminder – Fingerprinting Required for ALL Staff by March 14, 2014

Please remember to sign up for fingerprinting!  A few appointment times are still available on Mon, March 10, in Cedar Rapids. 


If you did not schedule on-site fingerprinting, please refer to the February 13 Bulletin Board regarding other options to complete your fingerprinting. You may refer to the January 23 Bulletin Board for more information regarding this new requirement.

Professional Leave is moving Online!

Virtually all form-based processes have been converted to online systems over the last several years.  The Professional Leave request/reimbursement process is now moving online in order to save staff time and provide better access to the information.  Programming was completed last fall and two regions, Northeast and Northwest, have been using the online system on a pilot basis since September 2013.  That pilot has gone very smoothly, so we are now ready to roll out the system to all other staff. 

The Online Professional Leave system is part of the Employee Self Service (ESS) and was demonstrated at the March 5th Support Team meeting. Support staff will train their staff at upcoming region/department meetings in March & April. All staff will then be expected to use the online system for new requests. The online system will be fully implemented by July 1, 2014, with no paper forms used after that point. The online system will not only streamline the process, but will allow all staff/supervisors access to current Professional Leave balances.

If you have a new Professional Leave Request, please contact your region secretary/support person for assistance in using the new online system.

Grant Wood AEA joins the Blue Zones movement

Grant Wood AEA is seeking to become a Blue Zones Worksite.  The agency’s Wellness Advisory Committee is working to provide support for these efforts, and WE also NEED YOU!  
To receive Blue Zones designation, a minimum of 25% of employees are to register their commitment to well-being (this is called a Personal Pledge) and complete one action to promote good health.

The Wellness Advisory Committee is planning a launch the week of April 7-11, 2014 with an emphasis on health and well-being planned at each of the agency’s three facilities. During this week, registration will be available to join the GWAEA Blue Zones Worksite, which counts toward the agency’s Blue Zones Worksite designation when including the
GWAEA organization code: GWAEA.

There are two options for registering. Staff can register at an agency facility by completing the Blue Zones Personal Pledge registration form in person or online at


When registering, it’s important to include the GWAEA organization code in your profile.

For questions, contact any member of the agency’s Wellness Advisory Committee. Watch for updates in The Bulletin Board.


GWAEA Wellness Advisory Committee Members


Job Title

Agency Center


Nicole Clymer


6th St


Karalee Cole

Speech-Language Pathologist



Connie Dvorak

Executive Assistant

6th St


Julie Foltz

Curriculum Consultant, Science

33rd Ave


Peggy Gingerich

Speech-Language Pathologist



Mike Hauer

Network Administrator

6th St


Valerie Taylor Hill

Public Information Specialist

6th St


Kim Martin

Board Secretary

6th St


Kelli Robertson

Autism Consultant

33rd Ave


Jackie Schreder

Human Resources Coordinator

6th St


Cathie Stutsman

School Social Worker



Deanna Weber

Media Specialist

6th St


What is Blue Zones?

The Blue Zones Project is a community-by-community well-being improvement initiative designed to make healthy choices easier through permanent changes to environment, policy, and social networks.

The Blue Zones Project is based on Blue Zones® principles developed by author and researcher Dan Buettner. Blue Zones employs evidence-based ways to help people live longer, better lives by taking a systematic, environmental approach to well-being, which focuses on optimizing policy, social networks and the environments where people spend their time.

Cedar Rapids, Iowa City and Marion are among 15 Iowa communities selected to receive support from experts on their journeys to become healthier places to live, work, and play

Healthier Vending Options Coming Soon!

To help support access to healthier snack options for Agency staff while at the Cedar Rapids facilities, the Wellness Advisory Committee is working with our vending machine service provider, Cam’s Vending, to offer healthier items.  The goal is to provide at least 50% of the snack items served in vending machines that meet the following standards:
- No more than 35% of calories from total fat, not including seeds and nuts
- No more than 10% of calories from saturated fat
- No more than 35% sugar by weight, not including dried fruits
According to these standards, there are currently five items provided in the vending machines that meet these healthier criteria: animal crackers, Chex Mix, Gardetto’s, Gold Fish and Peanuts.
To assist staff in identifying the healthier options, green product markers will be placed in the machines to clearly distinguish those items that meet the healthier criteria.  Healthier items will begin to be stocked in the machines within the next week.
Due to the low vending sales volume at the Southern Facility, the vending provider who previously serviced that location has discontinued the service. While plentiful vending options will be available in the new location that is under construction, arrangements have been made to provide a beverage machine for staff in the Coralville office during the interim period.
If you wish to provide feedback regarding healthy vending choices, or would like to submit other suggestions to help promote well-being in the workplace, please feel free to share your ideas with Jackie Schreder, Wellness Advisory Chair, or any other Wellness Advisory Committee member.

New Workshop:  Digital Formative Response Tools

Looking for "digital"  ways to assess if your students "got it"?

Take a look at our new workshop that will review a number of "Digital Formative Response Tools" that can be used on almost any device.

Date:  April 11, 2014
Time: 8:30 am to 11:30 am
Location: Grant Wood AEA, 6th Street facility

Course Number: 19251-13-01

In this three-hour workshop, participants will learn about free, online Digital Formative Response tools to engage students at all levels. These tools can be used on most any device - laptop, mobile device, or Chromebooks. No accounts needed by students, just a web browser to access and engage.  Hands-on time will be provided to create and share with other participants. A few of the tools used are: Today's Meet, Mentimeter, Poll Everywhere, InfuseLearning, Socrative, Kahoot, and more.

Click on the following link for more information and to register:

Our Condolences

  • to the family and friends of Suzanne Baker-O'Brian, who passed away March 5, 2014. Sue is a former autism consultant with the Iowa Department of Education. The family will greet friends on Sunday, March 9, from 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. at Lensing Funeral & Cremation Service in Iowa City. A memorial service is planned at 2 p.m.


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.

TQ dates, 2013-2014

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 is now available on the link to
GWAEA Featured PD
on the homepage.



iPad Professional Development

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



Full/Waiting List Only

Using Assessment Data to Plan Developmentally Appropriate Interventions and Specially Designed Instruction for Young Children

This training is intended for AEA and LEA staff who work with programs for children birth to 5 years old. Information will be provided on assessment and how to use data to determine appropriate interventions. Demonstration of how to create specially designed instruction opportunities that can be embedded into existing routines and activities will be provided.
Number: 19248-13-01

Date/Time: 03/13/2014 9:00 AM-4:00 PM

Location: Coralville Public Library, 1401 5th Street, Coralville



See flyer for details.

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



See flyer for details.

Date/Time: 03/13/2014 9:00 AM-3:30 PM

Location: Grant Wood AEA Northern Facility

Using the 21 Keys for High Performance Teaching and Learning to Enhance Student Learning

Using the 21 Keys for High Performance Teaching and Learning to Enhance Student Learning
One of the most commanding tools available to education professionals is The Pacific Institute's latest offering to the field of education - 21 Keys for High Performance Teaching and Learning. The course is designed to give you the fundamental psychological tools and social learning theory you need to create effective learning environments. With its foundation in the cognitive sciences, 21 keys brings educators the most current knowledge in the field of "mental technology." Along with interactive activities the course is supplemented with a 21-unit video program. Each participant's materials include a 20 session audio reinforcement program for review and implementation after the course. It is focused on raising the warranted self-esteem of the individual, as well as enhancing self-efficacy - the individual's opinion of their ability to make things happen.
Number: 4688-13-01
03/24/2014 8:00 AM-3:00 PM
03/25/2014 8:00 AM-3:00 PM
03/26/2014 8:00 AM-3:00 PM

"Your Child's Future...
The Possibilities are Endless"

April 8, 2014
Location: West High School
2901 Melrose Ave., Iowa City


Keynote speaker: Lew Montgomery


Mark your calendars now for the "Your Child's Future…The Possibilities are Endless" parent/student transition night.




See flyer for details

This workshop will provide valuable information to parents and professionals about the transition process for middle and high school students who receive special education services. There will be speakers, breakout sessions, and informational booths for parents and professionals to learn a wide variety of services in the area of living, learning and working.


To register, visit the Grant Wood AEA Professional Development website and click on course number 19052-13-01.

Creating Inclusive Environments in Culturally Diverse Classrooms

Diversity in inclusive environments enhances learning. This workshop will provide educators with the basic skills and tools necessary to create inclusive classrooms in this diverse world. Oftentimes we forget that diversity and inclusivity goes hand in hand. By providing an inclusive learning environment teachers will enable their students to excel.
Number: 19236-13-02



See flyer for details.

Date/Time: 04/10/2014 8:30 AM-11:30 AM

Location: Grant Wood AEA Northern Facility


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

Section 504 Plans

Participants will learn about the purpose of Section 504, eligibility requirements, due process requirements, and the process to follow to develop a quality 504 Plan for eligible students.
Number: 9185-13-02
Date/Time: 04/14/2014 12:30 PM-3:30 PM
Grant Wood AEA Northern Facility
4401 6th Street S.W.
Cedar Rapids, IA 52404

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

Interdisciplinary Vocabulary Development Using the Rule of 3: 1st Grade and Up

Vocabulary development has the highest correlation with school success across subjects. The Rule of 3 is an innovative approach for systematic vocabulary development for ELL and all learners based on 14 years of school research. In 2009 the US Office of Education awarded an innovative grant to Rule of 3 for increasing students' achievement across subjects and grades.
Number: 19198-13-02
Date/Time: 04/24/2014 9:00 AM-4:00 PM
Educational Learning and Support Center
2500 Edgewood Rd NW
Cedar Rapids, IA 52405



See flyer for details on
both workshops

Interdisciplinary Vocabulary Development Using the Rule of 3 for PS and Kdg

The Rule of 3 is an innovative approach for systematic vocabulary development for English Learners and all learners. This workshop will focus on a strategy for developing vocabulary for preschool and kindergarten teachers using materials developed for the Rule of 3.
Number: 19199-13-02
Date/Time: 04/25/2014 9:00 AM-2:00 PM
Educational Learning and Support Center
2500 Edgewood Rd NW
Cedar Rapids, IA 52405


The Measures That Matter Most (A)

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.


This event is open to all educators and members of the public interested in improving education in Iowa.


See flyer for details.


Number: 19221-13-03
5/7/2014 1:00 PM-3:30 PM

Number: 19221-13-04

5/7/2014 6:00 PM-8:00 PM

Staying the Course:
Sustaining Your School Improvement Focus with
Steve Ventura

June 16, 2014 • 8:30 AM-3:00 PM


Audience: PreK-12 Administrators, Special Education Teachers, Media Specialists, Counselors


South Slope Community Center
980 North Front St
North Liberty


Course Number: 19219-13-02

Fee: $60



See flyer for details


Registration Deadline: June 9, 2014, 6:00 a.m.

Steve Ventura from the Leadership/Learning Center has served as a school leader at the elementary, middle and high school levels. This professional learning session will provide participants overview skills to implement the data team model which will provide school teams skills to analyze current student performance, select high leverage instructional practices, create a plan of action and monitor the plan of action.

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

Wanted:  Packing peanuts. Please send to the GWAEA VAST Center at 33rd Ave. Thank you.
Mary Zobeck


Wanted: Baby items such as high chair, walker, etc. I am babysitting my 6-month old granddaughter in the evening, and don’t want to buy these new, but will pay a reasonable price for good used items. Nancy/VITAL Program - 319-361-5541.


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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