Grant Wood AEA logo


Oct. 12, 2015

Flu shot clinics through the
Visiting Nurse Association


In This issue:


Grand Opening at New Coralville Facility
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
Walk at the Whistle, Oct. 7
Fight the Flu!
- YMCA October Discount for Corporate Members
- Kids Fest, Oct. 24
- Blue365 Member Discounts
- Core Fitness Member
- Boot Camp Challenge
- 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


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.


Grand Opening at New Coralville Facility

Today Grant Wood AEA was joined by executives from Kirkwood and the University of Iowa for an official grand opening event at our new Coralville facility.


With a welcome by Kirkwood Regional Center at the UI Director Jon Weih, guests heard from Interim President University of Iowa Jean Robillard, Superintendent of Clear Creek Amana Tim Kuehl, President Kirkwood Community College Mick Starcevich, and Chief Administrator
Grant Wood AEA Joe Crozier.


In his comments to guests, Joe commented, "Our hope is that, in this single brick and mortar location, we’ll broaden each of our organizational horizons and envision the strengths of a collaboration between our intermediate service agency and a community college, a regents university. That makes today’s celebration even more exciting - because I believe this is just a precursor of even greater things to come."


Approximately 120 GWAEA staff will be housed from our space on the fifth floor of this new facility.




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.

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

- Grant Wood AEA Team Joins 2015 Especially for You® Race Against Breast Cancer, Oct. 5

- Walk at the Whistle, Oct. 7, 2015

- Fight the Flu, Oct. 12, 2015

- YMCA October Discount for Corporate Members

- Kids Fest, Oct. 24

- Volunteering - Discover the Benefits of Giving Back

- Blue365 Member Discounts

- Core Fitness Member Discounts

- Boot Camp Challenge

- 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.

Grant Wood AEA Team Joins 2015 Especially for You®
Race Against Breast Cancer,
Oct. 5

Grant Wood AEA's Especially for You team included runners/walkers at last Sunday's event. Congratulations to all who participated!









Grant Wood AEA's Walk at the Whistle, Oct. 7, 2015

The GROW committee sponsored an indoor walk route this year that showcased several GWAEA departments in the Sixth Street facility. 


In addition to the indoor walk, the tour featured a virtual route option and the completion of a passbook online.


All entries submitted by 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 7, were entered in a drawing for a gift certificate to Scheels or Dick's Sporting Goods. A total of 48 staff entered the drawing. The following are the participation and drawing winners: Shari Schwarz, Judy Bibeau,
Tracy Petersen, and Michelle Bendickson. Congratulations!











Fight the Flu

Oct. 12, 2015, 7:30 - 9:30 a.m.

Sixth St. Facility - Grant Wood Room

Coralville Facility

Link to register


Flu Shots planned at Grant Wood AEA through the
Visiting Nurse Association. Bring your insurance information. VNA will direct bill your insurance company.


As a reminder, and for employee reference, the Agency health plans provide flu shot benefits, which includes:

  1. Full 100% coverage, with no co-pay, for shots received through in-network or
    out-of-network providers.

  2. Under the HMO Essential plan, however, individuals must go to an in-network provider for the shot or the shot will not be covered.

  3. If another non-preventive service in addition to the flu shot is performed in the doctor's office, individuals are then responsible for the office co-pay.

If there are questions about your health plan benefits, please contact Cathy Kearns, Payroll/Benefits Specialist, at ext. 6706 or

For information, contact Connie Dvorak,

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

Core Fitness Boot Camp Challenge, Oct. 12

A Boot Camp Challenge program, exclusive to Core Fitness, is also open to Core members AND non-members so if someone is looking to improve their health and wellness but not quite ready to join a gym, this program may be perfect for you!


Boot Camp Challenge is either a 6-week or 3-week fitness program where campers meet at the same


time 3 times a week and perform cardiovascular training, strength training, and flexibility along with nutritional guidance to guarantee results. Working with the same boot campers for six continuous weeks allows friendships to be made, camaraderie to be formed and boot campers pushing each other to work together to achieve individual goals!


All the workouts in the Boot Camp Challenge program can be modified to fit ALL fitness levels as well as any age so everyone can try it out! A Boot Camp Challenge flier is attached.


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.






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.


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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