Grant Wood AEA logo
Bulletin Board


In This issue:


Successes and Accolades Elevate i3 Mentoring Program in AEA, Iowa
Full Steam Ahead for 33rd Ave. Building Renovation
Welcome, New Grant Wood AEA Staff
Our Condolences...
Lodging Policy Update
EAP Reminder
Wanted: Kids on the Block Puppeteers
New Virtual Community Supports TLC System
PEP Library Moves to the Media Center
GWAEA Facebook #tbt
GWAEA 6th Street Location Blood Drive Oct. 24
Have You Ever Seen This Message?
iPad2s in the SDC
GWAEA joins Healthiest State walk, Oct. 8
Have you signed up to join the Blue Zones Project™?
GWAEA Especially for You Team
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.

Successes and Accolades Elevate i3 Mentoring Program in AEA, Iowa

Accolades from stakeholders across the state and around the nation are touting the Grant Wood AEA’s teacher induction consortium as it enters its second year, but the real testimonial to the work taking place comes from the teachers who are benefiting from improvements they're gaining by participating in the program.


Kim Owen

Grant Wood AEA is one of  three sites the New Teacher  Center (NTC) chose to include in the grant. The agency was invited by NTC to partner with them in the grant to improve student achievement by accelerating the effectiveness of new teachers through a quality mentoring program.

“While I don’t discount the value of having a mentor within my own school,” commented Michelle, a second year teacher who has been matched with an i3 mentor for the first time this year, “mentors within your school or district have their own students and their own curriculum to address. It’s been invaluable to have an i3 mentor whose singular focus is me. My mentor’s first and foremost job is teaching me how to teach students, and this focus is a direct result of the i3 program. Without her presence and guidance, I wouldn’t have gained and improved as much as I have this year.”


Emily Thomson

And by all accounts, Michelle’s experiences are not uncommon. Last year Mentoring and Induction/i3 Consortium Lead Coach Emily Thomson, Program Lead Kim Owen and the i3 grant mentors were supporting teachers in 55 different buildings. This year the program has expanded to 91 buildings this year, and has broadened its reach to include more than 250 first year teachers, a number that has more than doubled since last year. 

“This is largely due to demand from districts based on the success we had in our first year,” said  Kim. We anticipate bringing on another coach and are recruiting this year to help ensure we’re meeting the continuing demand.”  

Additionally, the i3 program is using its 2014-15 action plan to specifically ensure their efforts support the agency’s goals.  “We know the importance of closing the achievement gap, and we've identified a specific need to target special education teachers to make gains in this area,” said Kim.  In support of that effort,the mentoring team performed an informal audit of 144 Individual Education Plans (IEPs) in the area, and identified that none of the 144 IEPs were aligned with Iowa Core standards.   Additionally, the team realized that many of these special need education teachers had a conditional license, meaning they are conditionally allowed to teach in special education even though its an area outside of their current endorsement.  “We've boosted our capacity in this area, targeting resources and blended learning opportunities to meet this specific need,” said Kim.  "We're laser focused on this goal."

While this is a considerable charge for the team, they remain focused on continued improvement and ongoing sustainability for the consortium.  “Nationally, teachers who have participated in these programs have gone on to accept leadership roles and rejoin their classrooms with a fresh perspective, and often uncover a drive to return to the program and ask, “When can I apply to be an induction coach?”  With that in mind, we’re focused on ensuring these successes continue even after the i3 grant funding expires.”

Full Steam Ahead for 33rd Ave. Building Renovation 


As communicated in the GWAEA All Agency Meeting last month, progress continues on efforts to remodel the GWAEA 33rd Avenue location. Last night the GWAEA Board of Directors held a public hearing to review the remodeling effort of this location.  The Board unanimously approved a $455,200 bid from Unzeitig, a firm the agency has used successfully several times in the past, and recommended that GWAEA move forward with phase 1 with this renovation. 
As explained in the past, the phase 1 renovations will mainly concentrate on work on the first floor. Remodeling work will be starting from scratch on this floor with new walls and floors, and will include a much needed loading dock to support the increased work from our VAST team. The design also includes a new VAST training classroom on the first floor, and removing the current main entryway and the secondary entryway (that is currently unusable) in favor of a new, single entryway that will welcome staff and visitors each day. Plans also include improvements to the front walkways to ensure the facility is ADA accessible, improvements to the fire protection systems in the building, and upgrades the heating, cooling and filtration systems.
"This is a significant investment for our agency," said Chief Administrator Joe Crozier.  "These improvements reflect the growth of our agency's VAST program and our staff's desire for this facility to reflect positively on our agency.  This renovation is just the first phase of our efforts to improve our existing facilities, and we're excited to begin moving forward."
We will continue to share information about this project, including timelines for the work, in the near future.  Until then, please feel free to raise any questions or concerns with me, your supervisor, or our facilities lead, Dave Brousard.

Welcome, New Grant Wood AEA Staff



Jacob Nelson
School Psychologist
Specialist in School Psychology, Western Illinois University

Jacob completed an internship with Ogle County Educational Cooperative in Illinois from Aug. 2013 through May 2014.




Angie Neuville
Special Education Consultant
M.A., Morningside College

Angie provided contracted services through KeBecca at Tanager Place School, 2004-2014 (classroom associate, special eduation teacher, and site director).




Sarah Ries
Speech-Language Pathologist
M.A., University of Northern Iowa

Sarah's background includes SLP positions at AEA267 (2006-10), and at Mississippi Bend AEA (2010-2014).




Sara Sheets
Curriculum Consultant
M.A., Viterbo University

Sara taught second grade in the Webster City Community School District (2007-2010), and in the Johnston Community School District (2010-2014).




Kristi Storey
Computer Services Support Specialist

Kristi was a technology specialist with the Vinton-Shellsburg School District, Oct. 2008-July 2014.




Beth Swantz
Technology Consultant
Master of Library & Information Science, U of I

M.A., Graceland University

Beth's background includes positions as fourth-grade teacher at Kalona Elementary (1988-2008); a teacher librarian at Mid-Prairie Middle/High School (2008-2011); a learning design coach at Mid-Prairie (2011-2014); and a technology coordinator at Keota Schools (2009-2014).




Donna Wright
Secretary, Iowa Reading Research Center


Our Condolences...

  • to the family and friends of Emily Hart, who passed away on Sept. 9. Emily was a GWAEA speech-language pathologist for 23 years. Services will be held on
    Friday, Sept. 12.

Lodging Policy Update

Grant Wood AEA has had an agreement with Heart of America Hotels for several years, which has been very successful and resulted in significant savings for the Agency. Heart of America will be closing Comfort Suites on November 1 for remodeling. The hotel is expected to be closed for four months. Because of the remodeling, GWAEA and the IEC have contacted other Des Moines area hotels that offer the $55 state rate.

The Ramada Tropics Resort & Conference Center has been added as an additional hotel option for GWAEA staff. The rate of $55 with direct bill to GWAEA is available Sunday - Thursday nights by calling the hotel directly at 515-278-0271. This hotel was fully renovated in 2009 and is conveniently located just off I-80 on Exit 131 - Merle Hay Road. The hotel offers free wireless internet, a fitness room, and onsite dining options. Each room includes four passes to the indoor water park.

Ramada will also extend the $55 rate for personal use on Sunday - Thursday only, if available. Rates for Friday - Saturday are higher.  

Please see the attached - 'Travel Policy - Hotel Lodging in the Des Moines and Ames Areas'. This has been updated to include the information for the Ramada, as well as the remodeling at Comfort Suites. Staff can still contact Comfort Suites for stays prior to November and we will notify staff when it is complete. We will continue to review these options - if you have questions regarding the lodging policy, please contact your secretary, supervisor or the Business Office.  

EAP Reminder 

The Agency provides an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) to support staff and family members. This program is provided through Mercy EAP Services and includes professional and confidential counseling and referral services for a variety of personal issues including grief/loss, stress and relationship issues. The goal of the program is to proactively assist employees in effectively identifying and resolving personal concerns so employees can continue to perform their work responsibilities in a productive and quality manner. 

It is hoped employees and families always lead happy and healthy lives, however if problems do occur and additional support or assistance would be helpful, the Agency is pleased to provide this valuable resource through the EAP. If you are ready to try a new approach to addressing challenges in your life, please remember Mercy EAP Services.

If you have questions or need additional information, feel free to call the Human Resources Office at x6703, refer to the Business Services & HR Procedures Manual, or view brochure.


The Kids on the Block

Grant Wood AEA needs puppeteers for “The Kids on the Block," a troop of puppets, some of them handicapped, used to promote acceptance of persons with disabilities. This is the 30th year that staff have used these puppets with third-grade students within our AEA , and is a fun and satisfying experience for both puppeteers and students.


Puppeteers work in teams of three. A puppet presentation is approximately 1 hr. in length, and are usually scheduled at 1:00 or 1:30pm. This involves a commitment of one afternoon per month, although puppeteers can perform as often as desired. The agency's hope is to gain enough teams so that every school that would like a show is able to book one.

Teams are now being formed so if you are interested in becoming a puppeteer, or are a return puppeteer, please call 6544 or email Cathy Nelson by Thursday, Sept. 18, with the following information:

Information needed is:
1. How many times a month you are willing/able to volunteer.
2. The best afternoon to schedule you OR a list of dates you are available in case your schedule varies.
3. Who you would like on your team if you know others you want to perform with.
4. Names of anyone else who may be interested or who you would like to have on your team.

New virtual community supports the Teacher Leadership and Compensation System

Iowa’s AEAs and the Iowa Department of Education  announce the opening of a new virtual community to support the Teacher Leadership and Compensation system. The purpose of this site is to bring teacher leaders and administrators across the state together to access resources and learning opportunities and to collaborate as we strengthen teacher and administrator leadership.  

This community is an Agora site developed by AEA PD Online. To participate in the community click here.
Please contact Lora Rasey at or 515-281-6719, if you have questions about the Agora site.



The Grant Wood AEA PEP Library is moving to the
GWAEA Media Center

Open House is planned Thursday, Sept. 18, 7:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.


Grant Wood AEA's Parent-Educator Partnership (PEP) Library is moving to the Grant Wood AEA Media Center, 4401 Sixth St. S.W., Cedar Rapids. Mark your calendar and join us for an open house on Sept. 18, anytime between 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Contact Liz Hooley, GWAEA PEP Educator Partner, for information, 319-399-6719.

facebook logoCelebrate 40 years of Grant Wood AEA and Iowa's AEAs with Facebook's #tbt

Iowa’s Area Education Agency (AEA) system turns 40 this year, and there is much to celebrate!


Did you know...the Joint County Schools preceeded Grant Wood AEA?


Like Grant Wood AEA on Facebook to see  "Throwback Thursday" memories of
Grant Wood AEA
and Iowa's AEAs.


GWAEA Sixth Street Location Blood Drive Oct. 24

Use one hour of your day to save up to three lives! Grant Wood AEA will host a blood drive at the Sixth Street location Friday, Oct. 24. To schedule an appointment please contact
Cathy Nelson.

Have You Ever Seen This Message?

“This iPad Cannot be Backed Up Because There is Not Enough iCloud Storage Available. You Can Manage Storage in Your Settings”

Well, you are not alone. I have been talking to a lot of people about this recently, so decided to put together a quick guide to help solve this very problem. Read more here.

iPad2s in the Staff Distribution Center

In response to staff requests, there are 20 blank iPad2s in the SDC that staff may check out and use. Staff is responsible for returning the blank devices back to factory settings when they turn it in.


There are also 20 different iPad2s in the SDC with Tier 2 apps installed for Grant Wood AEA staff to trial before purchasing or recommending for students. A list of the devices and specific apps can be found in the SDC catalog or on this document. Additional iPads and apps may be added.

Grant Wood AEA joins Healthiest State Walk, Oct. 8

12 Minutes to a Healthier Iowa

Got 12 minutes? Then you’ve got time to help Iowa on its mission to become the healthiest state in the nation. We have been working hard since 2011 to improve our rankings in the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index®.


Please click the registration link to add your name to the walk list.

Walk Time: Oct 8, 2014 at 10:00 AM
Walk Location: 4401 6th Street SW Cedar Rapids (parking lot) (twice around the parking lot path)
registration link:

Walk Location: 200 Holiday Road Coralville (front of building) (6 min. each way)
registration link:

Walk Location: 1120 33rd Avenue SW Cedar Rapids (front lobby) (6 min each way)
registration link:


For information, contact Kim Martin, ext. 6710, or Valerie Taylor Hill, ext. 6824.

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.


The Power 9 Principles

9 things you can do now to live the Blue Zones life


Many residents living in the original Blue Zones® areas share nine healthy lifestyle habits that help them live longer, healthier, happier lives.


Visit the Blue Zones website to learn more.


Grant Wood AEA Team - Especially for You® Race Against Breast Cancer, Sunday, Oct. 5, 2014



Twenty-seven Grant Wood AEA staff and family members including 4 breast cancer survivors, 3 youth, and 4 men will be participating in the 24th annual event on Sunday, Oct. 5, 2014.

Island Fever Phlocking, Sept. 20, at the Coralville Marriott!

Interested in supporting some great charitable causes & having a lot of fun all at the same time?  Attend Island Fever Phlocking on Saturday, Sept. 20 at the Coralville Marriott. Proceeds from this event support the Eastern Iowa Honor Flight, Operation Backpack (HACAP), & Team Breast Friends (breast cancer awareness).  You can purchase a ticket for just $15 (good for main event only) from Jan Baburek or on-line.

The event will feature live music (The Blooze Brothers w/the Sweet Home Chicago Band & Cruize Control – a Jimmy Buffett tribute band); silent & live auctions (with some great merchandise); a special bucket raffle & 50/50 cash drawing; a parrot head marketplace; and great food & drink specials.  It will be a night of music, dancing, entertainment & fun!  Visit for all of the details! 

New TQ Dates 2014-2015

Sept 10, 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.

Recycling with Rick

Greetings everyone! We wanted to tell you all it's great to see everyone back and nice to welcome new faces. Just a few notes as reminders or to inform new staff of things we have here at Grant Wood AEA.


In all our buildings we have receptacles for:

  • Documents that need to be shredded

  • Paper and other products that can be recycled (containers need to be rinsed out first, please)

  • Bottles and cans

  • Boxes set in strategic places for recycling pens, pencils, markers.

  • Also, at Sixth Street location (below), there is a table in the employee break room for sharing things that can be re-used in the building. Check it out. and if you have something you no longer have use for at your desk, place it there so it can find a new home.



Remember: Stop! Think! Recycle!

Buy, Sell or Trade

For Sale: Yamaha drum set with Sabian cymbals. Very good condition!  $700.  Call Laura at 319-721-5410 or email


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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