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:


Legislature Considers AEA Bill on School-Based Mental Health Funding
Negotiations Update, March 3, 2015
March is Brain Injury Awareness Month
Now's the Time! Spring Cleaning
Agency Phone System Update Planned on March 11
Have Student Loan Debt or Going Back to School?
Our Condolences...
Grant Wood AEA PEP Parents as Presenters Workshop
Iowa Department of Education newsletters
Literacy Intervention Fair
Grant Wood AEA Staff Recognition and Partnerships Banquet
Who Would You Like to Recognize?
33rd Ave Renovation Update
iPad App Orders
Google Drive Shared with Me is Back
Blues 'n' Buffett Chili Challenge, March 8
Have you signed up to join the Blue Zones Project™?
Blue Zones Project™ Upcoming Events
Weight Watchers at Work
GWAEA Professional Development Opportunities
Shoes for Shelters


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.


Legislature Considers AEA Bill on School-Based Mental Health Funding

When the Iowa General Assembly convened in January, the Iowa AEAs presented them with five priorities. These five topics were those that all the AEAs supported as being the greatest priority for legislative support during the session. One of these priorities is gaining additional attention this week: the Iowa AEAs have asked the state for $2.5 million to provide pilot projects in each AEA for school-based mental health services. This effort achieved an important milestone Monday when it was passed out of subcommittee for further consideration.

The bill outline school-based mental health services that would be provided at the school site in partnership with local mental health providers. “We know there’s currently an unmet need in our schools for additional mental health consultation,” said Associate Administrator Maria Cashman. “As an AEA, we’re currently supporting schools as it relates to other students’ needs, and we feel we’re uniquely positioned to help kids with mental health needs access the appropriate service as well.”

These services would support students at their local school, and would refer the students with the greatest need to community mental health providers.

Chief Administrator Joe Crozier acknowledges some distinct differences with this proposal. “This is a pilot program as it’s presented today,” he commented. “But there is no denying that the need exists. We believe a well-executed school-based program can help our schools, and also will increase referrals to our community partners for the more severe mental health needs of some of our students. We see this as an extension to our community’s mental health assistance efforts.”

The funding would support 17 additional full-time AEA staff state-wide and three new GWAEA jobs: positions that would be posted with a similar job title to some of our existing social work jobs, but with a different job assignment.

And while the legislative funding is critical for the rollout of a school-based mental health services program, both Joe and Maria acknowledge that the program may gain momentum without the requested state funding. “We’ve heard loud and clear that there’s a need in this area,” said Joe. “If we have enough schools on board who are willing to fund this service, we’ll work hard to devise a way to continue to meet the demands of our schools.”

Mental health screening proposal would connect students, providers

$2.5M bill passes Senate panel Monday

The Gazette, March 2, 2015

Negotiations Update, March 3, 2015

March is Brain Injury Awareness Month

Grant Wood AEA's Brain Injury Resource Team invites staff to remember that March is Brain Injury Awareness Month.


"If you look at the anatomy, the structure, the function, there's nothing in the universe that's more beautiful, that's more complex, than the human brain."

- Keith Black (Discover magazine, April 2004)



Now's The Time!

It’s time for a little spring cleaning! Our agency is preparing for a refresh, and we have drafted guidelines to aid staff with this process. Staff should reference these tools to ensure consistency with what we discard/recycle, and how to organize our materials going forward.


Timeline for Cleaning

February - Purge excess files and materials.

March - Purge excess files and materials.

April - On April 17th Coralville RAs will purge unclaimed materials and common areas.

May - Continue to purge excess files and materials. Coralville office continues to pack.

June - June 12th is the last day of packing for Coralville staff. Coralville office furniture will move in/set up through the week of June 22nd - June 30th.


Any loose or boxed items that are unmarked and stacked or stowed in any location other than inside a filing or storage cabinet in each Agency facility after June 15th will be removed from the facility and discarded.

Agency Phone System Update Planned on March 11

On March 11 starting at 5:00 p.m., a software update will be completed to the Grant Wood AEA phone system. This will cause voicemail and phone outages for 3-4 hours during that evening.

Reminder...Have Student Loan Debt or Going Back to School?

Just a brief reminder. 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.**

Our Condolences...

  • Darci Lenaburg, paraeducator at Life Skills, and her family, on the recent passing of Darci's grandfather.

Grant Wood AEA Parent-Educator Partnership

Parents as Presenters Workshops

Parents of children with special needs are invited to particpate in the
Grant Wood AEA PEP Program's Parents as Presenters Workshop.



Saturday, April 25, 2015
8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Day 1: Learning to tell your story


Saturday, May 2, 2015
9:00 -11:00 a.m.

Day 2: Practice telling your story



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


Please register by Monday, April 13. The training will be offered for a minimum of 12 and a maximum of 25 registrants.


See the attached flyer for details and registration information.



See flyer for details



In the March 2015 issue of School Leader Update and Director Buck's article, "Props to our front-line warriors, our teachers."



The Iowa Department of Education;s Each and Every Child e-newsletter is designed to inform, educate and challenge those who live and work in the field of special education. The March 2015 newsletter contains the article, "Emphasize fluency over comprehension?" and work supported by Keystone Area Education Agency.

Grant Wood AEA Literacy Intervention Fair planned May 11

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

Nominations due Friday, March 6 for the 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.

33rd Ave Renovation Update


Glass has been added to the new entrance doors.


Framing the new entry area continues.



Approximately 3,700 Van Allen Science Teaching Center (VAST) curriculum units have been returned and are in the process of being packed in preparation for returning to schools.

iPad App Orders

App Order form Opens Friday, March 6

We are opening the Agency iPad App Order for paid iPad apps on March 6. Please be sure to select no more than seven apps, be responsible and only order apps you will need. The order form will close on March 18 at 5 p.m.


You must be signed in with your GWAEA Google Account in order to view and fill out the form.

Link to the form


In order to get your apps please make sure these steps are completed!

We have transitioned into distributing agency purchased apps in a new and more efficient way. In order to receive agency purchased apps from this point forward, you must add your device to the Meraki system and authorize an Apple ID for us to send the apps to (the nice thing is it can be your personal Apple ID, so less to remember). If you refreshed to an iPad Air2 recently, this was completed when you picked up your new device.


In preparation for our next agency app order you will have to complete the two steps from your iPad or you will be unable to receive agency purchased apps.


Step 1: Install the Meraki MDM Profile on your device - iPad Air users did this when they picked up their new devices. Everyone else can follow the instructions below:



Step 2: Authorize Meraki to install apps - You will receive an email from a CISCO Meraki email address and must tap the link in the email and authorize an Apple ID for agency apps to be assigned. This can be your personal Apple ID if you would like or one you create.


Fill out this form to have the authorization email sent to you, then follow the directions in the video below to authorize your Apple ID.


If you have any questions about this process, please do not hesitate to contact Stacy Behmer ( or one of the technology consultants.

Google Drive Shared with Me is Back

You may have noticed a change this week with Google Drive. The “Incoming” folder has been changed back to “Shared with Me.” This is where documents and folders are that have been shared with you by others.



Blues 'n' Buffett Chili Challenge

March 8, 2015

The 15th annual Blues 'n' Buffett Chili Challenge will be held on Sunday, March 8, 2015 at the Cedar Rapids Marriott Hotel from 1- 4 p.m.
All proceeds from this great event will benefit the Community Health Free Clinic and the
H.D. Youth Center


Come out and sample over 25 different chili recipes & vote for your favorite. There will also be a silent auction with lots of great items to bid on.  Advance tickets are just $8 ($5 for Seniors) and can be purchased from Jan Baburek at ext. 6851 or Bart Mason. Tickets will also be available at the door for $10. Come out and help support two great local community causes.  

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


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 303 pounds!


New Enrollee Opportunity

1. Weekly prorated rate available (first session ends March 24)
2. Weekly meeting offered at GWAEA/Scale Up Classroom every Tuesday at 4:45 /weigh in
4:30 p.m.
3. Prefer another location? Take advantage of the reduced rate as offered to at-work sites but attend your weekly meetings at a community location

Contact: Kim Martin, 319-399-6710,

New TQ Dates 2014-2015

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.

Shoes for Shelters



For information or to drop-off donations, contact Stacy Murphy, ext. 6888.



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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