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 Staff Recognition and Partnerships Banquet
Who Would You Like to Recognize?
With the Legislature
Mayes to Speak at Grant Wood AEA, March 9
Assignment Change Procedures - Contracted Staff
Reminder for Contracted Staff:
Professional Leave Reimbursements
Retirement Investors’ Club 403(b) Plan - Annual Eligibility Notice
New Resources in the
Grant Wood AEA PEP Library
Our Condolences...
Have Student Loan Debt or Going Back to School?
Literacy Intervention Fair
Strategies, Strategies, Strategies!
GWAEA BrightBytes Clarity Survey
GWAEA PD Online - 28 Days of OLLIE
33rd Ave Renovation Update
Kirkwood Regional Center Project 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.


Grant Wood AEA Staff Recognition and Partnerships Banquet

Celebrating 40 Years of Area Education Agencies (AEAs) in Iowa




All employees with 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35 or 40 years of employment with
GWAEA, retirees, and persons nominated and selected by agency staff will be honored.


Date: Thursday, May 7, 2015


Bella Sala

205 S. Park Rd.



Social Hour: 5:30 p.m.
Dinner: 6:00 p.m.


GWAEA Board Members and Employees: $13

Spouses, Friends and Retired Staff: $25 per person


Reservations Due: May 1, 2015


Groups may reserve a table. Please submit all reservation requests to Cathy Nelson at Sixth Street, ext. 6544.

Click to access the banquet invitation. Printed copies are available if needed. See Cathy at the front desk. Include cash or check (payable to Grant Wood AEA).

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.

With the Legislature

Joe Crozier, GWAEA chief administrator, met recently with Sen. Rob Hogg and

Sen. Liz Mathis to discuss the AEA's legislative priorities for this session including a school-based mental health pilot program for students.



Mayes to Speak at Grant Wood AEA, March 9

The IDA Leadership Group has invited Thomas Mayes, Attorney for the Iowa Department of Education, to speak at Grant Wood AEA on Monday evening, March 9, from 6:00-8:30 p.m., Sixth St. facility conference center. Mr. Mayes will speak on the Literacy Law and the Dyslexia Bill. This presentation is open to parents, educators and all GWAEA staff.

Assignment Change Procedures - Contracted Staff

As a reminder, contracted staff wishing to be considered for a change in assignment, to work in another region, may access on the Agency’s website the Procedures for Assignment Changes within a Job Category.  The procedures can be found in either the Business/HR section of the Staff Website or on the Business/HR Google site at: Assignment Change Procedures - Contr Staff.


Please note: These procedures are followed only when a contracted staff member wishes to be 1) considered for an assignment to work in a different region, 2) within their current job category. These are not the procedures followed when 1) staff assignments are realigned within their current region or 2) when staff is interested in applying and being considered for a different job category.


Assignment Openings (all employee groups)
Assignment information is updated on a daily basis, as openings become available, and this info is posted online at Staff Openings.  Each opening is posted for at least 5 Agency days.
Since assignment postings may change on a daily basis, employees interested in actively seeking other opportunities within the Agency are advised and encouraged to:

  1. Check the posting at least one time each week, on the same day of each week, in order to be certain a timeline is not missed to apply for the opening;

  2. Bookmark the Staff Openings page for regular access;

  3. Set up a Google calendar reminder to check the Staff Openings page on a weekly basis; and/or

  4. Use the Quick Link for Staff Openings that can be found in the left margin of each weekly issue of the Bulletin Board.

The newest or most recent openings will appear first in each employee group listing (Contracted, Classified, etc).

Reminder for Contracted Staff:
Professional Leave Reimbursements

As a reminder, the timelines for submitting professional leave reimbursement forms are:

  • Equipment and materials – no later than March 1, or at least three months prior to leaving the Agency, whichever is first.

  • Other expenses (including conferences, license fees and professional dues) will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis – again the March 1 timeline is an indication for determining an expense is job-related.

These timelines, which apply to all contracted staff, help establish the job-related connection of the expense and improve the likelihood an eligible reimbursement request will be granted.


For additional details on Professional Leave Reimbursement, see the Grant Wood AEA Business Services and Human Resources manual found on the HR & Business Office page of the Grant Wood AEA website.

Retirement Investors’ Club 403(b) Plan - Annual Eligibility Notice

Did you know that Grant Wood AEA participates in the Iowa RIC 403(b) tax deferred retirement savings plan?

Grant Wood AEA employees have the opportunity to save for retirement by participating in a voluntary 403(b) plan offered through the Iowa Retirement Investors’ Club (RIC). You may participate by making pre-tax contributions and Roth post-tax contributions, to one of the RIC investment providers.

See flyer for details

What do I have to do to start a 403(b) retirement account?

To start your contributions, you must first open an account with one of the five approved providers and submit a completed RIC Salary Reduction Form to the Grant Wood AEA payroll office. Provider contact information is on the RIC website. The provider can send you enrollment information, or if you prefer, a provider representative will schedule an appointment to help you with the enrollment process.      


What if I’m already contributing?

Take full advantage of the benefit!  Consider increasing the amount you are saving for retirement (up to the maximum limits listed below). If you wish to change the amount you are contributing, simply complete and submit an RIC Salary Reduction Form to the Grant Wood AEA payroll office. Call your investment advisor to set a time for you to review your statement and your retirement income needs.      


How much may I contribute?

In general, you may contribute up to $18,000 in calendar year 2015. This amount may be adjusted annually if declared by the IRS.  If you are age 50 or older, you may contribute an additional $6,000. Also, you may be able to make further catch-up contributions (up to an additional $3,000) if you have at least 15 years of service with your current employer, Grant Wood AEA, and meet other eligibility rules.   


How can I receive more information about the plan?

Information is available at  or at www.planwithease.comYou may also contact RIC toll-free at 1-866-460-4692 option #1 or Planwithease toll-free at 1-855-464-6928 for more information about this employee benefit. 



New Resources in the Grant Wood AEA PEP Library

The PEP Resource Library has three new DVDs for families of children and young adults on the autism spectrum. The new DVDs are:

  • "Understanding Brothers and Sisters on the Autism Spectrum" - “This DVD contains four programs for siblings of children on the autism spectrum and their parents. Each program covers a range of autistic challenges and strengths and describes the techniques siblings can use to get along and support each other. Parents can show their children the program that best suits their age and developmental levels, from age 4 years through adult.”

  • "The Puberty Video for Boys with Asperger Syndrome (and Autism Spectrum Disorder-Level 1)" - “This DVD helps young men with social challenges understand how to interact positively with girls and women. Most importantly, it puts sex into perspective, revealing the truth behind the myths boys may see in the media: DVD Chapters-1. Introduction 2. Puberty Basics 3. Your Male Body 4. The Female Body 5. Dating 6. Sexuality 7. Conclusion “

  • "Managing Puberty, Social Challenges and (Almost) Everything-A Video Guide for Girls" -”This DVD explains the physical and mental changes girls experience during puberty. It also offers strategies to help girls who have social and communication challenges make friends, begin dating, and prepare for the future. DVD Chapters are: 1. Introduction 2. Puberty 3. My Body 4. My Mind 5. Being Social 6. Fashion Sense 7. Dating 8. Understanding Sexuality 9. Staying Safe 10. My Future”

Teachers and GWAEA staff can check these and other PEP resources through the Media on-line catalog. Just use the “collections” pull down menu and click on “PEP Library” and check out our resources.

Our Condolences...

  • to Su Groff-VanArendonk and family on the passing of Su's husband,

    Wayne VanArendonk, on Feb. 17. Visitation will be at Lensing Funeral Home in Coralville on Saturday, Feb. 21, 4-6 p.m. Su is a GWAEA special education consultant.

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.**

Literacy Intervention Fair

This workshop is designed to provide participants the chance to view and interact with reading intervention materials for struggling readers. Publishing companies will each have a booth to display their materials. They will also each provide a 30-45 minute presentation highlighting the target for the interventions, how data is gathered and monitored, and research based results.


May 11, 2015

8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. - Presentations

8:30 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. - Displays


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

Number: 19008-14-01



See flyer for details or visit the
Grant Wood AEA Literacy Intevention Fair website

GWAEA BrightBytes Clarity Survey

Thank you so much to everyone who took the time to complete the survey. The results are in and we are starting to take a look. Here is one data highlight:  




Why This Matters

Barriers that inhibit technology integration include educators’ confidence, beliefs about how students learn, and the perceived value of technology to the learning process (Ertmer et al., 2012).


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. 19-28 includes the following:

Day 19 - Other LMS
Day 20 - What makes a good online lesson?
Day 21 - Community Review of Online Lessons
Day 23 - Copyright
Day 24 -What's in your eLearning Toolbox?
Day 25 - Tools to use: SoftChalk
Day 26 - Tools to use: Screen Capture Technology
Day 27 - Other Online Teaching Tools
Day 28 - AEA PD Online's Reflections - Congratulations!

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


Framing is underway on the south area of the building.

Construction is underway on the building's south side.



The building's new entrance construction continues.



Kirkwood Regional Center Project Update

A recent update on the Kirkwood Regional Center in Coralville included photos of the 5th floor construction, which will become home of the Grant Wood AEA Coralville facility.


The view looking northwest out of the 5th floor windows.

Fireproofing has been installed on the 5th floor south soffit.



Wall framing has started on the west side of the 5th floor.


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 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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