Grant Wood AEA logo
Bulletin Board


Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2015
Agency closes at 3 p.m. in observance of Thanksgiving


Holiday Potluck Dates

6th Street

Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2015
Creative Commons/Media Commons
11:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.



Friday, Dec. 11, 2015
Rm. 500
11:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.


Dec. 24, 2015, 3 p.m.
The agency closes for winter break and will reopen on Monday,
Jan. 4, 2016, at 7:30 a.m.

In This issue:


Winter Weather Closings: Updated ESS info Needed for System Test
Flexible Spending Accounts - 2016 Plan Year Enrollment
Agency Holiday Potluck Dates
United Way Campaign is Underway
-United Way Fundraiser Chili Cook-off
American Education Week 2015
Our Condolences
Grant Wood AEA Job Readiness Fair
AEA/DE Customer Satisfaction Survey
2015-2016 Innovation in Education Workshops
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
iPad Care Reminder
What's My Line?
GWAEA GROW News/Upcoming Events
- Walking Trail Opens
- Weight Watchers Anniversary
- Weight Watchers at Work
- November is American Diabetes Month
- New GWAEA Yoga Club
- Blue365 Member Discounts
- Core Fitness Member

- Lunch and Learn
- Mindfulness 101:  Stress Reduction and Wellness
Third Annual Cropping 4 Kids
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.


Winter Weather Closing System Test Tonight: Reminder to Update ESS Info

Winter weather is around the corner, and the agency will be testing its notification system Thursday, Nov. 12 around 6 p.m. 


As a reminder, if the decision is made to close one or more of the Agency Centers,
the communications office will notify staff using the following methods:


  • A voice mail message will be sent to all staff via the SchoolMessenger system. This system will call the numbers that you establish in the Employee Self-Service System (see below.)

  • We will record a message that will be available in all agency voice mailboxes. Through the all-call voice message, staff will be informed regarding (a) which centers are affected, (b) when the center(s) will close, (c) when the agency anticipates reopening the center(s), and (d) when the next employee update will be available.

  • We will include information on the front page of the agency website. 

  • And finally, we will contact KCRG-TV to include it in their list of closings.

Employees must update the following information in ESS to ensure they are notified through the SchoolReach system:

  • Launch ESS

  • Select Personal Information

  • Check the drop down categories available for each phone number listed.  If a number is listed as "agency use" or "Public", it will be called during our test and in the event that we activate the calling system.

Please contact Renee Nelson with questions about this process or Thursday's test of the notification system.

Flexible Spending Accounts – 2016 Plan Year Enrollment

This is a follow-up to the e-mail communication sent to employees November 10.  We are in our enrollment period for the 2016 Flexible Spending Account (FSA) plan year.  The FSA program allows you to set aside money from your paychecks on a pre-tax basis to pay for qualified health and dependent care expenses.  The following documents are available for further guidance and enrollment:

Employees must complete the ASI Flex Enrollment Form if electing to participate in a health and/or dependent care flex account for the 2016 plan year.  Please submit the enrollment form to Cathy Kearns, Grant Wood AEA Business Services, by December 1, 2015.


Remember:  Our FSA program runs on a calendar year basis, January 1 through December 31.  Participants must re-enroll in the FSA program each year, even if you don’t want your election amount to change.


Questions can be directed to Cathy Kearns, Grant Wood AEA Business Services.


Agency Holiday Potlucks


Please join us for good food, good friends, good fun. Bring a dish to share.

Sixth Street Potluck

Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2015

11:30 a.m.- 1:00 p.m.

Creative Commons/Media Commons

Coralville Potluck

Friday, Dec. 11, 2015

11:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.

Room 500

United Way Campaign is Underway


Last Friday AEA staff should have received an email from Benjamin Hoover with the United Way. This email contained a direct link for staff to making contributions to this year's agency campaign.


Our campaign goal is to increase overall participation by 10%, and staff can see our progress toward this goal by clicking on the link that was emailed to them. Last year we raised more than $16,000 but it represented just 10% of our staff participating.


We support two different United Way organizations: United Way of East Central Iowa and the United Way of Johnson and Washington Counties. GWAEA staff can support either United Way organization through online giving for the first time with this year’s campaign.


New this year: A special match is available this year for all increased giving: all first time donations and any increased amount will be matched.


All staff who support the United Way campaign in any wa y- either through the online donation or by participating in the chili cook-off - will be entered into a drawing for an overnight stay and lunch buffet at Riverside Casino in Hills!


Thank you for considering a gift this holiday season!

United Way Fundraiser Chili Cook-Off
Nov. 23, 2015, 11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m., Winter/Spring Room



Anyone can participate. Please e-mail Nicole Clymer or Jean Grewe by Nov. 20 the catagory you are entering or for any questions.


$5.00 to sample chili. 100% of the proceeds got to United Way​


The catagories that will be judged include: 


No bean



Best spice/aroma



Anyone who attends or brings a chili will be entered into a drawing for an overnight stay and lunch buffet at Riverside Casino in Hills.  


Our Condolences

  • to Kathy Briggs and family on the passing of Kathy's mother, Nettie Schermerhorn, 94, on Friday, Oct. 30. Memorial services were held in Upstate New York. Kathy is a GWAEA Technology Center Technician.

Grant Wood AEA Job Readiness Fair, Jan. 26, 2016

Registration deadline: Nov. 30, 2015

Grant Wood AEA will be hosting a Job Readiness Fair, a demonstration-based learning event that will apply career education lessons from the classroom. Registration is open to teams of 10th and 11th grade special education students, accompanied by a teacher from their school.
(See the flyer for complete details.)


During the event students will:

1. Practice completing a job application

2. Participate in a face-to-face mock interview

3. Participate in a telephone or “skyped” mock interview

4. Interact with and receive feedback from area employers

5. Attend informational sessions regarding employment in the 21st century


For information, contact Susie Green, GWAEA student programs specialist or Megan Burke-Brunscheen,
GWAEA special education consultant.



2015 Job Readiness Fair flyer



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.


Please mention to LEA staff about this survey. If they haven't seen it distributed through their district, please let Renee Nelson know and share this link with LEA staff.

2015-2016 Innovation in Education Workshops

Dec. 2, 2015

Dean Shareski

"The Classroom of the Future: And Your Future Starts"
Number: 19362-15-01


1:00-3:30 p.m.


Grant Wood AEA

4401 Sixth St. S.W.

Cedar Rapids, Iowa


Fees: $40 within AEA 10 boundaries; $65 outside of AEA 10






Feb. 3, 2016

Aaron Maurer

"Makerspace Movement"

Number: 19368-15-01




See flyer for details

Standards-Based Grading Conference
with presenter
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


See flyer for details.

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.


Number: 19272-15-01

Location: Grant Wood AEA Northern Facility, 4401 Sixth St. S.W., Cedar Rapids

Audience: K-12 Administrators, Teachers, Consultants

Registration Deadline: 3/9/2016, 06:00 AM 


  • Educators in Grant Wood AEA area, Total for non-credit $ 150

  • Outside of Grant Wood AEA area,Total for non-credit $ 175

  • Registration is not complete until all fees are paid in full.

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- Where does my Google file live?

Quick tech tip to figure out about where your Google file is located in Drive.

iPad Care Reminder

This is a friendly reminder to be careful with your iPad! Even if it is in a case the devices can’t uphold a lot of weight and pressure or be 100% protected if they are dropped. Please don’t leave it out in extreme temperatures, don’t keep it outside of a protective case for extended periods of time,  and keep the off the floor.


We understand that accidents happen, but we have run out of spare devices due to a large number coming in damaged this fall. If you do have a damaged device, please contact
Stacy Behmer,, as soon as possible.

What's My Line?

Multi-disciplinary Team Roles in K-1 Students with Language Challenges

When young students are experiencing challenges with language what assessment procedures help to determine the most appropriate supports and interventions? This workshop will describe issues related to language competency in the early grades including developmental trajectories, assessment procedures, and intervention strategies within a multi-tiered system of support.


Target Audience: Grant Wood AEA PreK-Elementary Speech-Language Pathologists, Early Childhood Staff, Psychologists, Consultants


January 7, 2016

8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.


Kirkwood Regional Center at the University of Iowa

Room 118, 2301 Oakdale Blvd. Coralville, IA

Registration code: PFHNLI OR


January 8, 2016

8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.


Grant Wood AEA, 4401 Sixth Street SW Cedar Rapids, IA Registration code: XQMUXF




See flyer for details



Download Form:

Register Online:

Registration deadline: December 7, 2015 at 6:00 a.m.

GROW News/Upcoming Events

- Walking Trail Opens

- Weight Watchers, Sept. 22, 2015 - Feb. 2, 2015
- November is American Diabetes Month

- New Yoga Club to Meet at GWAEA

- Volunteering - Discover the Benefits of Giving Back

- Volunteers Needed for Income Tax Assistance (VITA)

- Blue365 Member Discounts

- Core Fitness Member Discounts

- Mindfulness 101:  Stress Reduction and Wellness



Contact a member of the GROW Team for more information.

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.

Walking Trail Opens at Sixth St. Facilitywalkingtrail

Joe Crozier, GWAEA chief administrator, with members of the GROW committee officially open the paved walking trail on Nov. 10, 2015.


Pavement of the walking trail at the Sixth Street facility was completed last week and the trail around the building is now open. The landscaping will be completed spring 2016.


Travel on the inside loop around the building (lane in front of the conference windows, pass the loading dock, connect to the new trail, and to the front of the building) - one lap = .233 mile (4 laps = 1 mile)


Travel on the outside exterior loop around the parking lot (follow the dotted lane marked on outside lane of the parking lot and then connect to the new path) - one lap = .34 mile (3 laps = 1 mile)


To calculate the total distance of a combination of these loops use Google maps, earth view, right click and select measure distance. This tool will allow you to map your individual route.

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/

November is American Diabetes Month


November is American Diabetes Month®. During their 75th anniversary year, join the
American Diabetes Association® and put good food and good health on the table with this year’s focus – Eat Well, America!


Each week during November, visit to find recipes for every meal, including snacks and special occasion treats, tip sheets and shopping lists. Take the guesswork out of planning, preparing and plating healthy and delicious foods every day – from start to finish.

New 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 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.



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.

Volunteers Needed for Income Tax Assistance (VITA)

Please consider helping low-to-moderate income workers by providing free tax preparation assistance. Classroom or online training is provided for volunteers (at no cost) and no accounting experience is necessary. For more information, please contact Cliff Ehlinger at or 319-398-5372 ext. 835.

Available Volunteer Positions:

Volunteer Tax Preparers help individuals and families prepare their tax returns and ensure all eligible taxpayers receive their qualifying tax credits. Multilingual tax preparers are also needed.

Volunteer Greeters welcome VITA participants to the site and ensure that they are prepared with all required documentation to meet with the tax preparer.


As a VITA volunteer, you will receive:

  • Professional tax and software training

  • Flexible volunteer hours - daytime, evenings or weekends (volunteer services provided from January 19-April 9)

  • The satisfaction of helping others in our community to navigate the often complex federal tax returns.

2015 VITA Volunteer and Client Handout

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

Mindfulness 101:  Stress Reduction and Wellness

Location: Grant Wood AEA Southern Facility
2301 Oakdale Blvd., Coralville

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.

Third Annual Cropping 4 Kids

Quota International of Cedar Rapids


Jan. 29-30, 2016

Friday, 5:30 - 9:30 p.m.

Saturday, 7:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.


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


See the information and registration flyers for details and costs. For questions, contact Emily Lee, GWAEA Itinerant Teacher of the Deaf/Hard of Hearing.


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.


2015 - 2016



December 2015

January 2016

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:

Lost: Last Friday, Nov. 6, a set of keys was lost. On one end is a Ford Key/Fob and on the other end are three keys and a Hy-Vee Fuel Saver card. They are connected by a blue tube that enables the two sides to be separated. If found please see Cathy at the front desk,, 399-6544.



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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