Grant Wood AEA logo

In This issue:


GWAEA Badging Update
Education Directory Update
AEA/DE Customer Satisfaction Survey
Welcome, New GWAEA Staff
Grant Wood AEA Board of Director Elections
Holiday Early Release Dates
Grant Wood AEA Welcomes Work Experience Students
IEP Face-to-Face Training for Late Hires, Jan. 21, 2016
Section 504 Training, Jan. 29, 2016
Saving at Every Stage" - National Save for Retirement Week
info@gwaea, October 2015
Standards-Based Grading Conference with
Dr. Thomas Guskey
Employees Participating in the 403b Program – Update for 2016
Your Child's Future... The Possibilities are Endless - Monticello 
Digital Learning Tech Tip - Uploading a Document to Google Drive
GWAEA GROW News/Upcoming Events
- Blue Zones Restaurant Month
- Weight Watchers at Work
- New GWAEA Yoga Club
- YMCA October Discount for Corporate Members
- Kids Fest, Oct. 24
- Blue365 Member Discounts
- Core Fitness Member
- Grant Wood AEA Blood Drive, Friday, Oct. 23
- Lunch and Learn
- Mindfulness 101:  Stress Reduction and Wellness
Special Education Staff Fall Opportunities to Retool and Refresh
GWAEA Professional Development Opportunities
Lost and Found


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 Staff to Complete Badging Survey by Monday

At the opening day event this fall Lisa Wilson shared that we will begin badging some 21st century skills to support our agency goal to “Increase student acquisition and application of 21st Century skills and knowledge (prepared for success in college, career, and citizenship).”


We are going to kick off the badging by looking at communication and collaboration skills. In order to determine region priorities and to determine how we can support staff, we have developed a self-perception survey. We are asking ALL STAFF to complete by Monday, October 19th. The survey should only take 5-10 minutes max. If you don’t understand how to rate yourself on the scale or what the task is then feel free to score yourself low (it’s ok!).


You will receive an email in the next few weeks with information about how to start earning your badges and how the process will work!


Once you complete the survey, check you email to see your responses. We will look at the data without names associated, but you can see how you started and track your own professional growth. Thank you in advance for providing us with this information and let me know if you have any questions. For information, contact Stacy Behmer,


Communicator/Collaborator Self-Perception Survey Link

Education Directory Update


There are two ways to access information about our LEA partners. You can access details:


1.  Through this map on our website, which is in the process of being updated with this year's information,


2. Access the 2015-16 education directory. This data has been updated and is current for the year. We are no longer printing large quantities of this document, but will coordinate hard copies for staff who would like one. You can make requests for the directory here.

AEA/DE Customer Satisfaction Survey



The 2015-16 AEA Customer Satisfaction Survey will be available beginning
Monday, Oct. 19. The Iowa Department of Education conducts this annual statewide survey. The survey provides us with insight on what the AEA is doing right and what we can do to improve our services.

Educators are invited by email to participate in the AEA Customer Satisfaction Survey.
We ask that you encourage the teachers you work with to participate so that we can gain valuable input about our programs and services.

Welcome, New Grant Wood AEA Staff



Celestina Holliday
Teacher: Off-Site Programs

B.A., Arizona State University

Celestina's background includes positions as a special education teacher at Camelback High School, Phoenix, Arizona, and lead teacher at Perfect Tutors, Olathe, Kansas.


Grant Wood AEA Board of Director Elections


The board re-elected Jim Green, president; Dr. Lynne Cannon, vice-president, and re-elected as District Directors Marlene L. Hill, Mary Meisterling, and Robert Schneider during the
Grant Wood AEA Board of Directors meeting on Oct. 8, 2015. (Photo: Cannon, Hill and Schneider)

Holiday Early Release Dates

The three occasions where the Agency will close at 3 p.m. include:

  • Wednesday before Thanksgiving (11/25/15)

  • Christmas Eve (12/24/15)

  • Good Friday (3/25/16)

Grant Wood AEA Welcomes Work Experience Students

Three work experience students of teacher Mary McWilliams at College Community are joining the agency to intern in order to learn both general and specific employability skills and gain some work experience.


The students will participate with a job coach experiencing interactions with others as well as basic conference center cleaning activities. One student has begun an agency work experience, and two others will begin their activities within the next two weeks.


Help us welcome these students to Grant Wood AEA. For information, contact Dave Brousard.

IEP Face-to-Face Training for Late Hires, Jan. 21, 2016

Thank you all for your efforts to ensure your new special education teachers completed the IEP training, both the online modules and the face-to-face.


If your district has had late hires in the area of special education, the online training will continue to be available on AEA PD online and we will be offering a face-to-face training (course number is 19371-15-05) on Jan. 21, 2016 from 1-4 p.m. Please feel free to contact Melissa Tandy with questions, (

Section 504 Training, Jan. 29, 2016

Grant Wood AEA will host an additional 504 training on Jan. 29, 2016 from 9-11 a.m.

The course number is 9185-15-02 on the GWAEA Professional Development website.


All 504 coordinators, administrators, and school nurses who were unable to attend in September are encouraged to attend this training to learn more about 504 plans, including the eligibility process for 504. Questions? Please feel free to contact Melissa Tandy (

Standards-Based Grading Conference
with Dr. Thomas Guskey

March 23, 2016, 8:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.

Grant Wood AEA Northern Facility
4401 Sixth Street S.W. 
Cedar Rapids Iowa


This conference is designed to help educators learn how to effectively develop, design and implement a standards-based grading system that aligns with current instruction and assessment practices, and supports the Iowa Core Curriculum and Iowa's Competency Based Education model. Classroom practitioners will share resources and practices that have led to successful implementation.

Registration fee for educators in Grant Wood AEA, $150.


This year's conference will feature Dr. Thomas R. Guskey. Dr. Guskey is Professor of Educational Psychology in the College of Education at the University of Kentucky.
A graduate of the University of Chicago, he began his career in education as a middle school teacher, served as an administrator in Chicago Public Schools, and was the first Director of the Center for the Improvement of Teaching and Learning, a national educational research center. He will share with participants the key elements to reform assessment, grading, and reporting practices in schools.


Registration is available under the Grant Wood AEA registration log in or via paper registration form.
Search for the class title or number, 19272 15 01.

Employees Participating in the 403b Program – Update for 2016

The Iowa Retirement Investors Club (RIC) is the 403b Plan Administrator for Grant Wood AEA.  As a result of a 2015 public competitive bid by the Iowa Department of Administrative Services to determine the investment providers for January 2016 and beyond, contracts have been issued to Horace Mann, MassMutual, VALIC and Voya. These providers successfully proposed investment products and services that meet the requirements and level of excellence set by the RIC Plan Documents and Investment Policy. 


Assets currently invested in TIAA-CREF accounts may remain invested in the current product but no future contributions will be sent to TIAA-CREF after December 31, 2015.  Employees who currently contribute to TIAA-CREF and want to contribute to RIC in January 2016 and beyond would need to establish an account with one of the other core providers listed above.


If you currently contribute to Horace Mann, MassMutual, VALIC or Voya, no paperwork is needed to continue your payroll contributions in 2016.  These providers will redirect your contributions in the same manner you have elected.


More detailed communication will go out individually to current 403b participants regarding the January 2016 changes. 


Employees not currently participating in a voluntary 403b plan may enroll at any time.  More information is available at the RIC website.  Questions may be directed to Cathy Kearns, Compensation/Benefits.



"Saving at Every Stage" - National Save for Retirement Week,
Oct. 18 – 24

National Save for Retirement Week is a national effort to raise public awareness about the importance of saving for retirement. During the week of Oct. 18 – 24, Voya will provide multiple opportunities to help employees reflect on their personal retirement goals to see if they are on track to meet those goals.


Beginning on Tuesday, Oct. 20 through Friday, Oct. 23, Voya will host a series of entertaining and informative webinars, each just 20 minutes long, and packed with information, tips, and real-time answers to help your employees be ready for what’s ahead.


Register here.

info@gwaea, October 2015

info@gwaea is monthly e-newsletter for teacher librarians and educators. Learn more about the resources available to educators in the
Grant Wood AEA Media Center.


In the October 2015 issue:

  • Area Teachers Share Their Student eBook Experiences

  • Grant Wood AEA Offers Over 1,200 Student eBooks

  • Bookmark the MackinVIA Teacher-Librarian Support Page

  • Resources and Project Ideas for Veterans Day

  • American Education Week, Nov. 16-20, 2015

  • Staff Feature: Stacy Craft

  • Best Practice in Selection/Reconsideration Policies

  • Integrated One: Your Search Begins

For information, contact Deanna Weber,



info@gwaea, October 2015

Your Child's Future... The Possibilities are Endless - Monticello 

Nov. 12, 2015

6:00-8:00 p.m.


Jones Regional Education Center
Monticello, Iowa


Number: 19052-15-01

Registration recommended but not required.


See flyer for details.


Digital Learning Tech Tip - Uploading a Document to Google Drive

If you want to upload a document from your computer to Google Drive and then make it a Google doc to edit and share, take a look at this video from Mindy Cairney, GWAEA technology consultant.

GROW News/Upcoming Events

- Blue Zones Restaurant Month

- Weight Watchers, Sept. 22, 2015 - Feb. 2, 2015

- New Yoga Club to Meet at GWAEA

- YMCA October Discount for Corporate Members

- Kids Fest, Oct. 24

- Volunteering - Discover the Benefits of Giving Back

- Blue365 Member Discounts

- Core Fitness Member Discounts

- Grant Wood AEA Blood Drive, Friday, Oct. 23

- Lunch and Learn with a Hy-Vee Dietician,
Nov. 9, 2015

- Mindfulness 101:  Stress Reduction and Wellness



Contact a member of the GROW Team for more information.

Blue Zones Restaurant Month

The month of October is dedicated to celebrating Blue Zones Restaurants®. Cedar Rapids has 36 Blue Zones Restaurants, meaning each restaurant has completed pledge actions that help make the healthy choice the easy choice.


To discover the variety of delicious, light, and fresh menu items each restaurant has to offer, all are encouraged to visit at least one Blue Zones Restaurant this month. Subscribe to the Cedar Rapids Blue Zones Facebook page for details and chances to win prizes from drawings, giveaways, and more. Please Comment, Like and Share their post each day as they highlight a new Blue Zones Restaurant.


Visit these Facebook links for upcoming activities and events:

Cedar Rapids Blue Zones Project

Iowa City Blue Zones Project

Marion Blue Zones Project


Keep improving your well-being by participating in one of the many Blue Zones Project events in the Cedar Rapids, Marion and Iowa City areas.

Weight Watchers At Work – Everyone is Welcome to Join


The excitement just keeps growing …

New 19-week session:  9/22/2015 – 2/2/2016 (you may join any time during the session)


Membership Opportunity extended to staff, family and friends

(find a location that works for you -- GWAEA on Tuesdays or any community location)


Payment options – payable to Weight Watchers at time of registration

one check or credit card payment ($186 total for the 19-week session – prorated for remaining weeks) or three checks submitted at time of registration to be deposited - week 1, week 5, and week 9


Contact:  Kim Martin /399-6710/

New Yoga Club to Meet at
Grant Wood AEA

Mondays and Thursdays at 4:30 p.m. 
Media Center (outside the Glass Classroom


A group of GWAEA staff is beginning a new yoga club that will meet Mondays and Thursdays at 
4:30 p.m
(unless the agency is closed) in the
Media Center area outside of the Glass Classroom.


Nicole ClymerTara Johannsen and Cathy Kearns will facilitate the weekly sessions with the assistance of yoga DVDs. Bring your mats, blocks and straps if you have them. There is no fee or sign-up required to join. The sessions began Sept. 28.

YMCA October Discount for Corporate Members

Scratch-off ticket discounts

Oct. 22, 2015, 8 a.m. - 8 p.m.


For information, contact our YMCA Corporate Contact Deanna Haddy, 319-399-6762.



See flyer for details



Kids Fest

Saturday, Oct. 24, 2015

10 a.m. - 1 p.m.

Helen G. Nassif Downtown YMCA


See flyer for details




Volunteering - Discover the Benefits of Giving Back

Aside from the emotional benefits of volunteering, there are significant health benefits associated with giving your time. Studies have noted lower rates of disease as well as reduced healthcare costs among people who volunteer regularly. It seems that volunteers gain as much as they give!


Area volunteer opportunities include:

United Way of East Central Iowa

United Way of Johnson & Washington Counties

Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) Program for Linn & Jones Counties - CASA for Children is a network of 949 community-based programs that recruit, train and support citizen-volunteers to advocate for the best interests of abused and neglected children in courtrooms and communities.


See these flyers for additional information: CASA Volunteer, National CASA Infographic.

Blue365 Member Discounts

Individuals covered under the Agency's group health insurance plans with Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield are eligible to participate in the Blue365 discount program, which offers savings on products and services for healthy living. Discounts include fitness center memberships, workout apparel and healthy eating programs. Click here for more information and to check out some of the discounts available! The discounts and services are always changing, so please visit the Blue365 website for a list of current vendors.

Core Fitness Member Discounts

Core Fitness, with three locations in North Liberty/Iowa City, offers GWAEA employees a discounted membership of $39 monthly with a $49 one-time enrollment fee. If employees sign-up for a year contract, Core Fitness will waive the enrollment fee for a $49 savings.


All memberships include:

- All group fitness class including: Les Mills, cycling, yoga, ZUMBA, aerobics and aquatics classes
- A FREE fitness assessment with a personal trainer
- Steam room and sauna at all locations
- 24/7 access to the North Liberty location
- Pool and spa access at the Mormon Trek location
- Women's only workout area at the North Liberty location


Grant Wood AEA Blood Drive, Friday, Oct. 23

Save Someone’s Life, Donate Blood
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 on Friday, Oct. 23.


Did you know that 19% of blood products transfused go to treat cancer patients? In many 
cases these are routine weekly and monthly transfusions. This means that our local blood 
supply is constantly fluctuating and there may be times when there is not enough blood 
available to meet patient needs. The only thing we can do is continue to reach out to our 
donors and ask them to give a little bit of their time to donate blood. Sign up to donate on 
the 23rd and you could be the difference between life and death for a patient in need right 
here in Cedar Rapids.

GWAEA Sixth Street Location Blood Drive, Oct. 23

1:30 – 5:00 p.m.
Grant Wood AEA – Scale-Up Classroom 
For questions or to schedule an appointment, contact Cathy Nelson at 319-399-6544 
or e-mail


Nov. 9, 2015, Noon-12:30 p.m., Linn/Johnson Room, Sixth St. facility

Topic: Healthy food options to make it through the holidays.

Mindfulness 101:  Stress Reduction and Wellness

This nine-week opportunity is supported through the agency's GROW Committee. The class is designed to help you cultivate your inner resources through mindfulness meditation practices to respond more skillfully to stress and find greater ease and peace of mind.


Research suggests that mindfulness practice can positively affect stress resilience, physical and mental health, interpersonal skills, academic skills and promote overall well-being.

This class is based on a model developed by Jon Kabat-Zinnm, Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction and will be led by GWAEA retiree Christine Allen as the instructor. This model has been used with diverse groups around the world including corporate employees, CEOs, educators, students, attorneys, judges, prison inmates, health care professionals, teachers and professional atheletes.


Christine has practiced mindfulness meditation for many years, received training in MBSR for health care professionals from Jon Kabat-Zinn, Saki Santorelli and staff at the Center for Mindfulness, and has attended several extended mindfulness meditation retreats. She has taught Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction courses at University Hospitals and Clinics since 2004 and helped develop and teach a credit course on mindfulness meditation for undergraduates at The University of Iowa for several years.

These links include video clips that provide more information.

Anderson Cooper - "60 minutes Reporting on Mindfulness"

Jon Kabat-Zinn - "What is Mindfulness"

Andy Puddicombe - "All it Takes is 10 Mindful Minutes"

Dan Harris of ABC News - "Changing Your Life Through Meditation"

Class dates are Jan. 14, 21, 28, Feb. 4, 11, 18, 25, March 3, 10, 2016. Registration fees are $125, a reduced fee through the support of the agency's GROW Committee. License renewal credit is available. Register on the Grant Wood AEA PD website under the Grant Wood Employee link.

Leadership for Continuous Improvement Learning Sessions

See flyer for presenters, dates and fees.



Special Education Staff Fall Opportunities to Retool and Refresh

The following workshops are available for special education staff as an opportunity to refresh your skills and knowledge. Please review and discuss these opportunities with your supervisor.  Additional professional learning workshops with national, regional and agency presenters and courses for credit are listed under the professional development listing below and on the professional development webpage

2015-2016 TQ Dates

Dec. 2, 2015, Feb. 24 and May 25, 2016
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.


TQ funds are available to support professional learning. All contracted staff in a position that requires educational licensure are eligible. Funds can be used to support learning time and resources for agency-wide proposals, region/discipline/program proposals and individual proposals. During the 2014-2015 school year, 31 proposals were approved to support professional learning in Literacy, Math, Early Childhood, Autism, Behavior, Science, Coaching, Mentorship, Speech Language, ELL, and Leadership Development. The application documents can be accessed on the Staff Portal. Committee members are happy to answer questions about proposal development. Contact Sherry Sines, Terri McGraw,
Lisa Haverkamp, Hillary Prall, Susan Parker, and a member to be determined.

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. Pre-registration is required for all participants including practicum, interns and student teachers.






October 2015

November 2015

December 2015

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.

Lost and Found:

1. WANTED:  Does anyone have a Garmin they don’t need anymore? One of our new Southern Facility employees that is new to the area could use one to help her get to the schools.
Free or inexpensive would be nice.

2. This child's jacket and shoes were found in the Grant Wood Room on Sept. 25 after a SPEL Meeting. Does it look familiar to anyone from that meeting or another meeting around that time?


3. Are you missing a water bottle, insulated mug or any dishes?


4. Other lost and found items




Please see or call 
Cathy Nelson
, ext. 6544 at the front desk to claim these items.


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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