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Bulletin Board


Holiday Potluck Dates


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:


$1,500 Early Notification Incentive for Contracted, Management Staff Approved by GWAEA Board
Request from GWAEA Networking Team
Agency Holiday Potluck Dec. 11 - Coralville Facility
The Bulletin Board Publication Schedule
Agency Calendar: Pay Dates
Important Message to Health Plan Participants: New Wellmark ID Cards January 1, 2016
Our Condolences
GWAEA GROW News/Upcoming Events
  - Cedar Rapids Blue Zones Project visits GWAEA
  - Weight Watchers, Sept. 22, 2015 - Feb. 2, 2015
  - Yoga
  -GWAEA Book Club
  Refrigerator Cleaning Planned
Animal Angel Tree
Third Annual Cropping 4 Kids
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.


$1,500 Early Notification Incentive for Contracted, Management Staff Approved by GWAEA Board

Last night the GWAEA Board of Directors approved the offering of an early notification incentive to help support a timely hiring process for 2016-17.

The financial incentive is available to Contracted and Management staff for providing the agency with early notification of their pending resignation or retirement. Specifically, Contracted or Management staff would need to commit to resigning or retiring at the end of this current work year, in writing, to Human Resources between December 14, 2015 and January 29, 2016. If the retirement or resignation is accepted by the Board no later than its regular meeting on February 17, 2016, the staff member will receive an incentive of $1,500, payable to them on June 17 (conditional upon the staff member satisfactorily completing his or her contract obligations for the year).


An early notice incentive was first offered last year and promoted a notable increase in the number of early notices provided by staff. "In past years, we had typically received 1-4 resignation or retirement notices before February 1. When the incentive was provided last year, however, 15 notices were received by that date! So the Agency's ability to fill positions in a more timely manner was greatly enhanced through this incentive. And we were pleased to be able to offer something for those staff who knew they would be concluding their employment with the Agency and could inform the Agency early in the hiring season," said Human Resources Coordinator
Jackie Schreder


As was the case last year, the incentive is available for Contracted and Management staff (and does not apply to other employee groups) because the contractual nature of these positions provides a small window of opportunity for hiring. As a result, the application pool and availability of candidates for these positions is significantly affected depending on the timing of our posting of the positions. The same limitations do not apply, however, for the hourly and salaried employee groups as hiring for those positions occurs all throughout the year.

Therefore, an incentive for these groups is not an effective tool to expand applicant pools.

In summary:

  • The GWAEA Board of Directors has approved a $1,500 early notification incentive for Contracted and Management staff who provide early notification of their retirement or resignation.

  • This incentive is available for Contracted and Management staff.

  • Staff who are eligible for this incentive and who intend to resign or retire at the end of the 2015-16 work year must notify HR in writing before 4:30 p.m. on January 29, 2016 (email notice is acceptable).

Staff with questions about the incentive are welcome to contact the HR office at x6703.

Request from the GWAEA Networking Team

Staff members can greatly help the GWAEA Networking team by cleaning out old, unwanted files and folders located within the staff members “home folder." Staff may also refer to this folder as “My Server Folder” or the “X drive”. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to call Tech Support at ext. 6738.


Agency Holiday Potluck


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

Coralville Potluck

Friday, Dec. 11, 2015

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

Room 500

The Bulletin Board will publish on
Dec. 17 and resume publication on Jan.

Have an enjoyable winter break!


Agency Calendar: Pay Dates

Below is the Agency calendar for December and January. Please note the circled pay dates. Our normal bi-weekly pay schedule falls within Winter Break, thus moving up a pay date to
December 24 and extending the next pay date to January 15.




Important Message to Health Plan Participants: New Wellmark ID Cards January 1, 2016

All health plan participants will be receiving new Wellmark ID cards in December and should begin using the new ID card beginning January 1, 2016 going forward. Wellmark is transitioning their Pharmacy Benefits Manager (PBM) to CVS/caremark. As a result of this change, your ID card will have new RxBIN, RxPCN and RxGrp codes. It will be important for you to have this new ID card when receiving pharmacy benefits January 1, 2016 forward so your claims process correctly.  Once you receive your new Wellmark ID card, any old Wellmark ID cards should be shredded. 

Attached is a Wellmark flyer about the transition and a Q&A to learn more.

Our Condolences

  • to Kim Novotny and family on the passing of Kim's father, Howard Novotny, on Dec. 6. Services were held on Thursday, Dec. 10. Kim is a Team Leader: Media Center.

A Seasonal View...



...from the Grant Wood AEA Coralville Facility.


Our thanks to Karin McKeone, GWAEA school social worker, for sharing these recent photos for inclusion in The Bulletin Board.


Thanks, Karin!



GROW News/Upcoming Events

- Cedar Rapids Blue Zones Project visits
Grant Wood AEA

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

- Yoga Club at GWAEA

- Mindfulness 101:  Stress Reduction and Wellness

- GWAEA Book Club to meet Feb. 8, 11



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.

Cedar Rapids Blue Zones Project visits Grant Wood AEA

The Cedar Rapids Blue Zones Project stopped at Grant Wood AEA on Nov. 25. Check out the new Blue Zones parking spaces near the back of the parking lots at both the Sixth St. and 33rd Avenue facilities to encourage walking.





Members of our Sixth St. facility walking group joined for a photo in front of the agency's
Blue Zones project display. Grant Wood AEA was designated a Blue Zones Worksite™ during a ceremony held on Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2015.


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)


Tara 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.


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.

Grant Wood AEA Book Club to meet Feb. 8, 11

Our next Book Club selection is "The Girl on the train" by Paula Hawkins. Please join us for conversation and social time with your colleagues on either Monday, February 8 from 12-12:30 p.m. or Thursday Feburary 11 from 4:00-4:30 p.m in the Media Center Commons. Contact Deanna Weber for further information.


gwaea book club


February 8, 12-12:30 p.m. or

Thursday, February 11, 4:00-4:30 p.m.

It's That Time of Year Again!

During the holiday break, all the fridges will be cleaned out at Sixth Street and 33rd avenue facilities. If there are condiments and items you want to save, please take them home with you prior to the break and you can bring them back on January 4th.


Also, on a side note, Rick will be on vacation from December 11th and will return on December 21st.  If you need anything, please contact Curtis. 


Animal Angel Tree

Grant Wood will again host the Animal Angel Tree in the NE/NW/Central File mail area.


This year the tree will sponsor cats from the Vinton Friends of the Shelter, which is now a cat-only facility, as well as sponsoring the dogs at the Last Hope Shelter in Cedar Rapids.


You may donate any items of your choice or pick an “angel” off the tree and bring it in a Christmas gift with their tag attached.


If you need ideas, past popular items are cloths, towels (for bathing/kennel cleaning), toys, treats, toys, leashes/harnesses, toys. (Did I mention toys?)


Thanks to everyone on behalf of both shelters for your continued support!     


Stacy Murphy


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.



2015-2016 TQ Dates

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

February 2016

March 2016

April 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:

Additional lost and found: Fitbit wrist, black. For information on any of these items, please see Cathy at the switchboard,, ext. 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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