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Bulletin Board


Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2014

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


In This issue:


Winter Weather Closings: Updated ESS Info Needed for System Test
Thank you to United Way Donors
American Education Week
How can GWAEA Help Transition Special Ed Students?
Experienced AEA Staff IEP Training Opportunity on Dec. 10
Honoring Veterans Day, Nov. 11
Grant Provides Support for "Read to Me!" Initiative
33rd Ave Renovation Update
Have you signed up to join the Blue Zones Project™?
Second Annual Cropping 4 Kids - Quota International
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








Articles for The Bulletin Board are due end of the day on Wednesdays. Submit your items email to
Valerie Taylor Hill
GWAEA Public Information Specialist.



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.

Winter Weather Closings: Updated ESS info Needed for System Test

Winter weather is around the corner, and the agency will be testing its notification system Tuesday, Nov. 11 around 6 p.m. 


As a reminder, if the decision is made to close one or more of the Agency Centers,
the communications office will notify staff using the following methods:


  • A voice mail message will be sent to all staff via the SchoolReach system. This system will call the numbers that you establish in the Employee Self-Service System (see below.)

  • We will record a message that will be available in all agency voice mailboxes. Through the all-call voice message, staff will be informed regarding (a) which centers are affected, (b) when the center(s) will close, (c) when the agency anticipates reopening the center(s), and (d) when the next employee update will be available.

  • We will include information on the front page of the agency website. 

  • And finally, we will contact KCRG-TV to include it in their list of closings.

Employees must update the following information in ESS to ensure they are notified through the SchoolReach system:

  • Launch ESS

  • Select Personal Information

  • Check the drop down categories available for each phone number listed.  If a number is listed as "agency use" or "Public", it will be called during our test and in the event that we activate the calling system.

Please contact Renee Nelson with questions about this process or Tuesday's test of the notification system.

Thank you to United Way Donors

Grant Wood AEA employees have pledged nearly $14,000 to the United Way through this year's agency campaign in support of the non-profit organization.



Forty-six employees signed up to support United Way this year, which was a decrease from last year's campaign. However, some of these employees were first time donors or increased their giving when compared to previous years, which made their donations eligible to be matched through a United Way Challenge grant- essentially doubling the impact of those dollars.


Thank you to everyone who supported this year's campaign!


American Education Week: Nov. 16-22, 2014
“Raise Your Hand for Student Success”


The National Education Association’s (NEA) 93rd annual American Education Week (AEW) presents all Americans with an opportunity to celebrate public education and honor individuals who are making a difference in ensuring every child receives a quality education.


The theme of the 2014 American Education Week, “Raise Your Hand for Student Success,” reflects the Association’s calling upon America to provide students with quality public schools so that they can grow, prosper, and achieve in the 21st century.


For more information about American Education Week, visit


In Celebration of American Education Week...

Hills Bank will deliver cookies to Grant Wood AEA and area schools in recognition of American Education Week. The delivery is planned on Tuesday, Nov. 18, at the Coralville facility and on Friday, Nov. 21, at both the Sixth St. and 33rd Av.e facilities in Cedar Rapids. The cookies will be available in the staff breakrooms. Thank you to Hills Bank!


How can GWAEA Help Transition Special Ed Students?
A Survey for AEA and LEA Staff

Your feedback can help provide the Grant Wood AEA Transition Cadre with information to create better post-secondary outcomes for all students.

The Grant Wood AEA Transition Cadre would like your support with gathering additional information on transition supports and services available to teachers, student, and families within GWAEA.  Below is a link to a brief survey regarding transition supports and services that we would to have completed by middle school and high school special education teachers, work experience coordinators, and high school counselors.  

Thank you for forwarding this survey to your staff (middle school/high school special education teachers, work experience coordinator, and counselor), and for taking time to complete our survey.  Please contact Melissa Tandy, GWAEA Facilitator  ( with questions or comments.  Thank you!  

Experienced AEA Staff IEP Training Opportunity on Dec. 10

On Dec. 10, 2014, the IEP training team will offer a half day (a morning and an afternoon session) IEP training for experienced AEA staff members. The training is designed to provide learning around key areas of quality written IEPs, as well as provide a refresher to staff that have not attended IEP training in a few years.

Staff may register for the training on the GWAEA Professional Development website, under GWAEA Staff Trainings. The morning session is 19305-14-01 and the afternoon session is 19305-14-02. If you have questions, please contact Melissa Tandy.

Honoring Veterans Day, Nov. 11

Thank you to the men and women who have served or are currently serving our country, and protecting our freedom.


Grant Provides Support for “Read to Me!” Initiative

by Priscilla Polehna

Grant Wood AEA  recently received an Early Childhood Reading grant from Target  for an initiative called "Read to Me!--Talk to Me!" This initiative aligns with the GWAEA Special Education Literacy team's emergent literacy efforts  Our grant came from Target (north) on Blairs Ferry Road. Target provides these grants as a way to give young children across the country a head start in reading.



This is the second year that Target has awarded us this grant. Last year, the grant monies were used to purchase classroom check-out libraries for 27 early learning classrooms in the Cedar Rapids Community School District. This year the grant monies have enabled us to purchase classroom check-out libraries for early learning programs in the following districts:   Center Point Urbana, Marion Independent, Linn-Mar, North Linn, Tipton, English Valleys, Iowa Valley, Williamsburg and Anamosa.  Each classroom received about 75 books. 

On Oct. 1, a group of dedicated SPEL team members, parent volunteers, retired teacher and other volunteers as well as a few Target employees spent the day putting stickers on books, sorting books, gluing word definitions in books and bagging books. We also had a group of students from Xavier High School's Key Club that put did a great deal of work on about 450 books.  All of those books are now on their way to preschool classrooms across the area. 



We are very grateful to Target for this grant and for their commitment to improving young children's literacy. With the help of this funding, we are providing a home connection to our literacy goals and making a huge difference in helping to develop literacy skills in many young children. 

33rd Ave Renovation Update


The atrium was removed last week and the concrete removed.

The outside concrete work continues.



The ceiling in the VAST area was painted earlier this week. Work continues preparing the floor for finishing.


Watch for additional information and photo updates in The Bulletin Board.

Have you signed up to join the Blue Zones Project™?

Participants have access to an online well-being community available at no cost. See the May 8 issue of The Bulletin Board for a list of well-being community activities. Sign up today at (remember to use the Grant Wood AEA code: GWAEA) and take the personal pledge. And, receive a Grant Wood AEA water bottle for signing up.


Contact a member of the GROW Team for more information.


See flyer for details


Soundness with Sayde

Grant Wood AEA Sixth St. facility


Class dates:

Monday, Nov. 10, 4:30-5:30 p.m.

Monday, Nov. 17, 4:30-5:30 p.m.


Cost: $5 for each session; $15 to attend all four sessions. Bring a yoga mat and blanket.

Second Annual Cropping 4 Kids

Quota International of Cedar Rapids


Jan. 23-24, 2015

Friday, 5:30 - 9:30 p.m.

Saturday, 7:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.


Held at Grant Wood AEA, 4401 Sixth St. S.W.,
Cedar Rapids

Cost: $20 Friday, $35 Saturday, $45 both days.


See the information and registration flyers for details.


New TQ Dates 2014-2015

Nov. 10, 2014; Feb. 18, May 27, 2015
The TQ proposal template and directions are available on the GWAEA Staff Portal under the
Teacher Quality Committee
link. Please submit your proposal electronically to Sherry Sines at by the dates listed above. Proposal reviews are typically completed by the
TQ committee within 7 - 10 days after the due date.

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.

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: One year old Canon EOS Rebel T5i, 18-55mm STM Lens, EF-S 55-250mm STM IS F/4-5.6 Lens, Filter, Cleaning Kit, 2 yr. Warranty Extension, 8 GB Extreme SDHC. New at Photo Pro in Cedar Rapids (Dec 2013) - $1,312.62 ------ For Sale - $847.00. Call Jerry at 350-2728 or 399-6741.


Wanted: Stacy Murphy is collecting Pink Yoplait lids for the Yoplait Save Lids to Save Lives program. Collection containers are in the Sixth St. facility staff break room or send to Stacy by office mail.


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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