Grant Wood AEA logo
Bulletin Board


May 7, 2015

Grant Wood AEA Staff Recognition and Partnerships Banquet

Bella Sala, 205 S. Park Rd., Tiffin


In This issue:


Grant Wood AEA Designated a Blue Zones Worksite™
Grant Wood AEA Server Maintenance Planned Feb. 16
Sixth Street facility impacts- Designing and Implementing Common Formative Assessments Workshop, Feb. 16
Celebrating the Certification of Three GWAEA Challenging Behavior Specialists
Have Student Loan Debt or Going Back to School?
Board Policies Distributed Annually
Who Would You Like to Recognize?
Strategies, Strategies, Strategies!
GWAEA BrightBytes Clarity Survey
GWAEA PD Online - 28 Days of OLLIE
33rd Ave Renovation Update
Have you signed up to join the Blue Zones Project™?
Blue Zones Project™ Upcoming Events
Weight Watchers at Work
Grant Wood AEA Book Club
GWAEA Professional Development Opportunities


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 Mission: To ensure success for all learners.


GWAEA Designated a
Blue Zones Worksite™


Grant Wood AEA was designated as the area's newest Blue Zones Worksite™ in a ceremony Wednesday afternoon, Feb. 10, 2015.


Sixteen of the top worksites in Cedar Rapids have joined the Blue Zones Project®. This award reflects the organization’s appreciation of employee individuality and the resulting considerations developed to provide a safe, challenging, and enjoyable work environment. Blue Zones Worksite designation requires employer actions to be coupled with employee participation and enthusiasm.


See the full list of local Blue Zones workplaces here.



Members of the agency's GROW Committee join representatives of the Blue Zones Project® during a ribbon cutting ceremony on Feb. 11.



Joe Crozier, GWAEA chief administrator, accepts the Blue Zones Worksite™ designation.

Grant Wood AEA Website Server Maintenance Planned on
Feb. 16

The Grant Wood AEA website and Professional Development registration system will be down for server maintenance on Monday, Feb. 16, 2015, from 4-8 p.m.

Other services on the server such as Business/HR services, and the IEP/IFSP system will not be affected.

Sixth Street Facility Impacts - Designing and Implementing Common Formative Assessments Workshop, Feb. 16

The Designing and Implementing Common Formative Assessments Workshop will be held on Monday, Feb. 16, at the Sixth Street facility.  More than 200 attendees are expected. Staff will be meeting in different areas of the building. Parking, break rooms, and restrooms will be impacted. Remember to hardwire your computer or make sure you are on the GWUser network. With 200 people come 200+ devices on the GWAEA network.

Celebrating the Certification of Three GWAEA Challenging Behavior Specialists


GWAEA Challenging Behavior Specialists Amy Graber, Jake Vitense and Kristi Miiller
have received additional certification from the Iowa Department of Education.


Three Grant Wood AEA Challenging Behavior Specialists have completed Department of Education (DE) training to the advanced level.


GWAEA has four Challenging Behavior Specialists who receive in-depth training to address the most challenging student behavior. They are tasked with providing on-site support directly with the students who have the most challenges in this area. They also provide professional development to our staff and LEAs. The Iowa Department of Education has been supporting AEA Challenging Behavior Teams so that each AEA would have advanced-level staff members to assess and consult on students displaying challenging behaviors in school settings.


GWAEA’s Amy Graber, Kristi Miiller, and Jake Vitense attended this specialized training. The DE provided didactic training on behavior assessment and intervention while contracting with experts in behavior analysis from the Center for Disabilities and Development (CDD) at the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital to provide hands-on training conducting assessments with students engaging in challenging behaviors.


Through this training, Amy, Kristi and Jake’s skills were assessed through a knowledge exam on functional behavior assessment and behavior principles, a self-assessment of their expertise in functional behavior assessments, and multiple independent demonstrations displaying skills of preparation, decision-making, and procedures for a variety of areas in the field of applied behavior analysis, including preference assessments, functional analysis, antecedent analysis or concurrent operants assessment, data collection, graphing, along with assessment design and linking to future assessments and interventions.

“This is an important milestone for these professionals and the agency,” says Regional Administrator and Team Link Jill Weigel. “Their dedication to learning the assessment practices and their commitment to attend all training visits over the past year and a half was impressive, and their knowledge and skills will help us in our commitment to assist students.”


Amy, Kristi and Jake participated in the training by attending bi-monthly presentations, along with conducting assessments with the CDD training team both in the school setting and in clinic settings approximately two times per month. They made presentations on their practice at the Learning Supports Conference in April 2014, and also presented to other AEA and LEA challenging behavior teams.


Congratulations to Amy Graber, Kristi Miiller, and Jake Vitense!

Have Student Loan Debt or Going Back to School?


If you are searching for a way to lower your monthly student loan payments or make additional degrees more affordable, the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program may be an option for you.


Unlike the Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program, any full-time staff member may be eligible for the PSLF Program. Additionally, there is no cap in the amount of student loan forgiveness with the PSLF Program.


See flyer for details

Grant Wood Area Education Agency has partnered with Innovative Student Loan Solutions (ISLS) to provide student loan forgiveness expertise and personalized strategies to help you maximize the Program. More information about the program and their services are listed below. You can easily see if you qualify and schedule an initial no-obligation consultation by following the online scheduling link below:


Step 1: Visit:

Step 2: Enter Registration Code AEA10

Step 3: Answer 5 simple questions to find out if you are eligible, then schedule your no-obligation, virtual/phone consultation with a student loan forgiveness expert to get started.


PSLF Program Benefits:

· Immediately lower your monthly student loan payment by up to 88%.

· Eliminate student loan debt – average of $49,000 student loan debt eliminated after PSLF Program completion.

· Significantly reduce the cost of earning advanced degree including Bachelor’s, Master’s or Ph.D.


What Could Make YOU eligible?

· Being a full-time employee.

· Having federal loans such as Subsidized Stafford, Unsubsidized Stafford, Parent PLUS and Graduate PLUS loans.

· Pursuing an additional degree.

· Private student loans are NOT eligible.


Proven Results of an actual Educator

Before ISLS Strategy:

With ISLS Strategy:

$78,635 (total principal + interest)

$54,271 in student loan forgiveness

$655 per month for 10 years

$98 per month for 10 years


Contact the Innovative Student Loan Solutions team via their online contact form or by phone at 1.866.831.5564. One of their representatives will be happy to assist you.


Learn more about ISLS by visiting


**This program/service is being provided as a courtesy to help staff reduce their student loan debt. Our district is not endorsing this organization.**

Board Policies Distributed Annually

Policies related to 1) equity in employment, programs and services, 2) harassment and bullying, and 3) substance-free workplace are distributed on an annual basis.  Click on links below to access each policy and administrative regulation.


Policy # 4119 – Equity in Employment, Programs and Services
Administrative Regulation # 4119A - Equity in Employment Programs and Services Complaint Procedure


Policy # 4123 Agency Personnel: Harassment or Bullying
Administrative Regulation # 4123A - Agency Personnel: Harassment or Bullying


Policy # 4175 Agency Personnel: Controlled Substance/Alcohol-Free Workplace
Administrative Regulation # 4175A - Agency Personnel: Controlled Substance/Alcohol-Free Workplace


If you have questions or need additional information, please contact Kim Martin, GWAEA board secretary. For additional policy information, refer to on-line policy manual accessible from GWAEA home page (select Board of Directors then Board Policy Manual).

Who Would You Like to Recognize?

Nominations for Caring Colleague, Friend of Education, and Educational Partners are due by March 6 for the annual Grant Wood AEA Staff Recognition and Partnerships 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 Renee Nelson (ext 6714) or Valerie Taylor Hill (6824) or email us your nomination form. Nominations are due by Friday, March 6 in the Communications Office.


The awards will be presented at the Grant Wood AEA Staff Recognition and Partnerships Banquet, which will be held at Bella Sala, 205 S. Park Rd., Tiffin, on May 7.

Strategies, Strategies, Strategies!

Join the Brain Injury Resource Team as they share strategies that assist students who have experienced trauma to the brain or other factors that do not allow the brain to function properly. AEA staff, teachers, parents and others interested in helping students function better in the classroom, this class is for you. You are welcome to come if you are interested in learning something new or just need a refresher on the topic.


Read more about and register for the Grant Wood AEA Professional Development class entitled, "Brain Function in the School Setting and Effective Classroom Strategies" by clicking this link.

GWAEA BrightBytes Clarity Survey

Deadline is Friday, Feb. 13

During the All-Agency Inservice last summer, we shared information about our Agency goal to increase student acquisition and application of 21st century skills and knowledge.

In order to meet that goal we need to understand our own strengths and areas for growth related to technology.  We would like to gather data from our staff to understand the role technology plays in your work, and areas where we can better support our staff in expanding their current skill sets.


Staff have received an email from Stacy Behmer with the link to the survey that will need to be completed by ALL GWAEA STAFF by February 13. It will take approximately 10 minutes to complete. The survey information is anonymous and will be used to help us provide targeted professional development and ensure staff has access to training specific to their needs. Thank you in advance for your participation.


Updates from AEA PD Online

Visit the AEA PD Online and AEA K-12 Online websites for current professional development updates. Follow AEA PD Online on Twitter @aeapdonline or on your mobile device by accessing the app at

28 Days of OLLIE during February

Online Learning for Iowa Educators


On Feb. 1, AEA PD Online launched 28 Days of OLLIE, the new online community for teachers. The community provides educators resources, live events, discussions, sharing and networking with other educators. It is the perfect learning place for teachers looking to add blended or flipped learning to their classroom.


Educators at all levels and those who support them are invited to participate. The first step is join the community, which can be done in seconds at


The learning during Feb. 10-18 includes the following:

Day 10 - The Student Personalized Learning System (SPLS)
Day 11 - Spectrum of Online Learning
Day 12 - Blended Learning Basics
Day 13 - Blended Learning Models
Day 14 - Instructor Presence
Day 15 - Instructor Presence: How to Create
Day 16 - Starting a Schoolwide program
Day 17 - Starting a Schoolwide program (cont.)
Day 18 - Moodle

Once you’re signed up, you’ll receive regular updates about:

  • Webinars and other real-time events

  • Forums on topics related to teaching and learning online

  • Activities that you can be part of

  • Resources that are available

  • Badges you can earn

  • And much, much more!

To learn more, visit the following link.

33rd Ave Renovation Update


The VAST Center has moved to the north side of the building.

Painting is underway on the south side of the building.



The outside doors to the new dock have been installed.


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.


Blue Zones Project™
Upcoming Events

Don’t let the cold keep you from staying active this winter. Keep improving your well-being by participating in one of the many events coming during February! Visity the following links for lists of Blue Zones Project events in the Cedar Rapids, Marion and Iowa City areas. For additional information, visit



Yoga with Sayde

Grant Wood AEA Sixth St. facility

4:30-5:30 p.m.


Class dates:
Monday, February 16
Monday, February 23


Cost: $5.00/ session or $15.00 for all four weeks. Bring a yoga mat and blanket.


Weight Watchers at Work

Grant Wood AEA At Work Weight Watchers' meetings are held Tuesdays at 4:30 p.m. Since the launch on Nov 4, 2014, the group has lost a collective total of 293 pounds!  


New Enrollee Opportunity

1. Weekly prorated rate available (8 weeks remain in first session)
2. Weekly meeting offered at GWAEA/Scale Up Classroom every Tuesday at 4:45 p.m.
3. Prefer another location? Take advantage of our reduced rate and attend a weekly meeting at a community location

Contact: Kim Martin, 319-399-6710,

Grant Wood AEA Book Club

Feb. 25, 12 p.m. or 4 p.m.

Media Center Learning Commons



Looking for some social time with colleagues? Join us for Book Club on Wednesday, Feb. 25. We will be reading "All the Light We Cannot See" by Anthony Doerr. Join us at 12 p.m. or 4 p.m. in the Media Center Commons. If you would like to join us virtually, please let Deanna know and she can send you a Zoom invitation. Questions email Deanna Weber at

New TQ Dates 2014-2015

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.


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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