Grant Wood AEA logo

In This issue:


Educational Rounds
Marion Independent Schools Invitation to Visioning Process
Education Directory Update
AEA/DE Customer Satisfaction Survey
Standards-Based Grading Conference with
Dr. Thomas Guskey
Your Child's Future... The Possibilities are Endless - Monticello 
Digital Learning Tech Tip - Uploading a Document to Google Drive
  - Blue Zones Restaurant Month
  - Weight Watchers at Work
  - GWAEA Yoga Club
  - YMCA October Discount for Corporate Members
  - Volunteering
  - Kids Fest, Oct. 24
  - Core Fitness Member
  - Grant Wood AEA Blood Drive, Friday, Oct. 23
  - Kids Fest, Oct. 24
  - Lunch and Learn
  - Mindfullness
Special Education Staff Fall Opportunities to Retool and Refresh
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 Mission: To ensure success for all learners.



The Grant Wood AEA Child Find Team would like to support you and your teachers by offering individualized support through Educational Rounds. See flyer for details.

What are Educational Rounds? Our intention is to help AEA staff problem-solve challenging cases through individualized conversations. Similar to when medical professionals collaborate together to solve challenging problems, Educational Rounds will be an opportunity to meet with agency speciality teams to share data and investigate additional resources, strategies, and options to support student needs.  

The Format: Each Educational Rounds event will begin with individualized support from 8:00-10:00 a.m. focusing on Child Find Procedures. These discussions will typically be brief, but offer a chance to discuss the child find process.

From 10:00 a.m. - Noon, specialty teams will support your individualized case.  

Special Education Literacy Consultant: Concerns with reading and writing

Autism Consultant: Concerns with social skills or behavior for children with Autism or Autism characteristics

Math Consultant: Concerns about math

Behavior Team Consultant: Concerns about a student with behavioral issues

ELL Consultant: Concerns about how English Language is impacting the child

Language Consultant: Concern about young child (Preschool-2nd grade) and their overall language development.

Interested?  To register for the Educational Rounds you must complete the Google form to indicate what type of support you will need.  

Register HERE

To select a time slot, please sign up for a time:  SCHEDULE


Round Table #2: Nov. 13, 2015

Round Table #3: Jan. 21, 2016

Round Table #4: March 3, 2016


8:00 -10:000 a.m. - [Optional] Schedule time with Hillary Prall or Austin Beer if you would like general child find support.


10:00 a.m. - Noon - Schedule a time for educational rounds support with a specialty team.
(typically 30 minutes)


Rounds are intended to be short, about 30 minutes of targeted discussion for your individual case. You are welcome to only attend during the time slot you sign up for, limiting the time out of your buildings. See the video below for additional details.


Reinventing Schools Committee

Marion Independent School District Invitation to Join Visioning Process


Chad Zrudsky, Associate Principal, Marion High School is beginning the process of applying for the XQ: The Super School Project to reimagine and design the next high school in America. The task is to rethink and build a school that deeply prepares our students for college, jobs, and life. The funding for this would be $2 million a year for the next 5 years.


Five schools in the nation will be chosen. While this will be a highly competitive process, Chad feels the work in building a vision and concept will be beneficial for their school and students regardless of the grant outcome. He is inviting school stakeholders (students, school staff/faculty, parents, community & business members, and higher education staff) to begin the visioning process together. The deadline for submitting a concept is Nov. 15, 2015.


Chad is proposing imagining meetings next week with any and all stakeholders. Both meetings will be run on the same agenda, though participants are welcome at both.


· Monday, 10/26/15 from 5:00-7:00 p.m. in the auditorium (we will move to the science wing for small group focused brainstorming and imagining)


· Tuesday, 10/27/15 from 3:30 – 5:30p.m. in the auditorium (we will move to the science wing for small group focused brainstorming and imagining)


From there, Chad will ask for a couple of representatives from each stakeholder group who would be willing to continue to meet and dive into the imagining data and prepare a concept for submission.


If you plan to attend, please take a moment to watch the short YouTube video and consider the following:


· What do young people need to learn today in order to succeed in the future?

· How do adolescent students learn?

· What is essential for effective learning?

· How do we empower young people to contribute to their own learning?

· How do we expand the boundaries of leaning beyond school?

· How will we measure student growth and identify problems?

· How might things look different/the same?


Complete program details can be found at:

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 launched on 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.

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.

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

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

- Kids Fest, Oct. 24

- Volunteering - Discover the Benefits of Giving Back

- Blue365 Member Discounts

- Core Fitness Member Discounts

- 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/

Yoga Club at Grant Wood AEA

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


A group of GWAEA staff has created a new yoga club that meets 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 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.

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



Blood Drive Friday!

Save 3 Lives with 1 Donation!


Grant Wood AEA
Blood Drive
Friday, Oct. 23, 2015

1:30 – 5:00 p.m.
SCALE-UP Classroom 


For questions or to schedule an appointment, contact

Cathy Nelson at 319-399-6544 
or e-mail






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


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.

Buy, Sell or Trade:

1. Hot tub--$1,200 (new heater and new motor Oct. 2014. Includes steps and some chemicals).
2. 65" big screen tv and solid oak entertainment unit to surround it--$1,250 together or $500 for big screen tv alone.
3. Smaller solid oak entertainment /shelf unit--$275
4.Solid Oak Hutch/ trophy case--$275

Pictures of the items are available. Contact Jana Albers,, or 319-521-4224.


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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