Grant Wood AEA logo
Bulletin Board


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:


Communicator/Collaborator Badging Kickoff
May the Force Be With You!
$1,500 Early Notification Incentive for Contracted, Management Staff Approved by GWAEA Board
The Bulletin Board Publication Schedule
Celebrating at the GWAEA Holiday Potlucks
Age of Majority Document Updates and Translations
Agency Calendar: Pay Dates
New Tax Form 1095 Distributed Annually Beginning January 2016
Electronic 1095 Delivery Consent
Electronic W-2 Delivery Consent
Important Message to Health Plan Participants: New Wellmark ID Cards January 1, 2016
GWAEA GROW News/Upcoming Events
  - Cedar Rapids Blue Zones Project visits GWAEA
  - Lunch and Learn Video
  - EAP December Newsletter
  - 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.


Communicator/Collaborator Badging Kickoff

May the Force Be With You!


We are excited to be ready to kickoff our first GWAEA badging adventure. The digital learning team has been hard at work to develop a site for staff to develop new learning and a site for you to submit your evidence of this learning to earn various badges. These badges stem from our agency goal to support 21st century learning and assuring staff will be proficient in using online methods to communicate and collaboratively create solutions with team members and people outside of GWAEA.

An email will be sent to staff after the winter break with more information about logins and which badges you should begin with based on region priorities.


If you want to get started now, take a look around the GWAEA Badging Site (Jedi Badging Academy), the online Canvas learning modules that can be used to build your skills, and set up a Credly account!


You may see the digital learning team at discipline or region meetings to help explain more about how the site functions, but you can also read more about the badges and some basics of how the process will work!

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

At their last meeting on Wednesday, December 9, 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.

The Bulletin Board will resume publication on Jan. 7.

Have an enjoyable winter break!


Celebrating at the GWAEA Holiday Potlucks

Grant Wood AEA colleagues celebrated holiday potlucks on Wednesday, Dec. 9, at the Sixth St. facility and Friday, Dec. 11, at the Coralville facility. Thanks to everyone for sharing in the festivities.


(Left to right)
Denise Scott,
Cathy Kearns,
Michelle Bendickson, Sue Heath,
Shirley Wellington-Bruegge, and
Susie Green

Jill Ries and
Joe Crozier



(Left to right)
Ann Thielen,

Bev Farris,

Gail Cummins,
Judy Bibeau,
Sandy Edwards,
Kathy Resewehr,
Stacy Craft,

Chris Robertson

(Left to right)
Hailey Christianson, Amy Schilling,
Erin Welsh



(Left to right)
Tina Hoffman,
Tracy Liebermann, Jackie Schreder,
Jane Meyer, and
Sally Hartman

Age of Majority Document Updates and Translations

The Iowa Department of Education has updated all of the Age of Majority documents and translated all of the them in Arabic, Bosnian, Laotian, Serbo-Croatian, Spanish, and Vietnamese. Age of Majority is when a student becomes legally responsible for his or her own decisions. At this time, the student obtains the rights of any Iowa citizen and the right to make educational decisions transfer to the student. 


It is imperative to provide both parents/guardians and students with the information concerning the age of majority at least one year prior to the student turning 18 years of age.

All Age of Majority documents are located on the Iowa Department of Education's website.

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.




New Tax Form 1095 Distributed Annually Beginning January 2016

As part of the Affordable Care Act, Grant Wood AEA will provide employees with a new tax form annually. A Form 1095 will be distributed by January 31 each year beginning in 2016. This form includes information about 2015 medical coverage that was offered to you and your family, if applicable. Grant Wood AEA is required to provide both you and IRS with this information.


If you were a full-time employee for at least one month during the 2015 calendar year, you will receive a 1095-C by January 31, 2016. You will receive a 1095-C if you were employed part-time throughout the 2015 calendar year and were covered under the Grant Wood AEA medical plan.


You will receive a 1095-B if you were not employed any month throughout the 2015 calendar year, but were covered under the Grant Wood AEA medical plan (i.e. retirees or spouses of retirees).


If you were not a full-time employee during any month of the calendar year, and you did not enroll in the Grant Wood AEA medical plan, you will not receive a 1095-C or 1095-B.


You may want to consider waiting to complete your individual tax return until you receive this form. Keep this form with the other tax materials you give to your tax preparer. If you prepare your own taxes, you may need to refer to this information as you prepare your return.


Electronic 1095 Delivery Consent

The Grant Wood Payroll System has the functionality to distribute Form 1095’s electronically to employees who give consent. By giving electronic 1095 consent, this means you will not receive a paper Form 1095 in the mail. Instead, you would receive an email indicating that your Form 1095 is available to view and print from the Employee Self Service (ESS) site.


Employee consent is available within the Employee Self Service (ESS) site. Log in with your username and password. Under ‘my information’ column select the 1095 History menu item. Read through the Electronic 1095 Delivery Consent bubble and click on the “Click here to give consent” link to give your consent. The Terms of Electronic Consent to Receive 1095 form are displayed. Read the terms and give consent by clicking the I CONSENT TO ELECTRONIC 1095 DELIVERY button and confirming consent. Staff not consenting to electronic delivery will receive a paper 1095 in the mail no later than January 31, 2016.



Contact Cathy Kearns, Compensation/Benefits, with any questions about 1095 Forms and/or electronic delivery consent.

Electronic W-2 Delivery Consent

The Grant Wood Payroll System has the functionality to distribute Form W-2 Wage and Tax Statements electronically to employees who give consent.  By giving electronic W-2 delivery consent, this means you will not receive a paper W-2 Form in the mail.  Instead, you would receive an email indicating that your W-2 Form is available to view and print from the Employee Self Service (ESS) site.  


Employee consent is available within the Employee Self Service (ESS) site.  Log in with your username and password.  Under the ‘my information’ column select the W-2 History menu item.  Read through the Electronic W-2 Delivery Consent bubble and click on the “Click here to give your consent” link to give your consent.  The Terms of Electronic Consent to receive W-2 form are displayed.  Read the terms and give consent by clicking the I CONSENT TO ELECTRONIC W-2 DELIVERY button and confirming consent.



Note:  Staff who consented to electronic W-2 delivery last year will receive electronic delivery again this year unless the staff member removes the consent.  Staff wanting to receive their W-2 statement with this earlier electronic delivery option should make their consent by January 15, 2016 to secure this delivery method.  Staff not consenting to electronic delivery will receive a paper W-2 in the mail no later than January 31, 2016.


Contact Cathy Kearns, Compensation/Benefits, with any questions about W-2 Forms and/or electronic delivery consent. 

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.

info@gwaea, December 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 December 2015 issue:

  • Iowa Core Sample Lesson Plans Available in MackinVIA EBooks

  • Themed Books Come in Boxed Sets

  • TumbleCloud Alignment with Common Core

  • Multiples to Supplement Classroom Activities

  • Staff Feature: Deb Kuhn

  • "Think, Make, Innovate:" Green Screens

  • Holiday Greetings from the Media Center

  • January is "National Healthy Weight Awareness Month"

  • Grant Wood AEA Holiday Hours

  • Media Center Late Start and Snow Day Procedures

For information, contact Deanna Weber,



info@gwaea, December 2015

GROW News/Upcoming Events

- Lunch and Learn Video

- EAP December 2015 Newsletter

- 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.

Lunch and Learn Video

Date: Dec. 10, 2015

Mercy EAP Coordinator Lisa Lahr presented a session on managing holiday stress. [27:50]







December EAP newsletter

Weight Watchers Launch of New Program “Beyond the Scale”


GWAEA Weight Watchers At Work Membership Opportunity extended to staff, family and friends
(find a location that works for you -- GWAEA on Tuesdays or any community location)
Current session ends February 2, 2016.  (you may join at any time)
Contact:  Kim Martin /399-6710/


Weight Watchers developed and recently launched a new program, called “Beyond the Scale,” in response to both changing science about nutrition and consumer sentiment “I want to lose weight but I’m thinking about it in a more holistic way.”  Beyond the Scale moves beyond just counting calories. 


The point value for certain foods has changed, with a new points program called SmartPoints.  Food calculations have changed. Points were previously calculated by taking complicated nutrition information and using an algorithm to turn that food into one simple number.  Now, Weight Watchers is using a new formula that looks at the type of fat in a given food, for instance, saturated fat points are weighted more heavily.  Lean protein, too, has fewer points than other meats.  And while the old formula included sugar in with carbohydrates, they’re now calculated separately.  Roughly 40 to 50% of the foods in the system remain relatively the same points-wise, while the rest goes up or down. Fruits and vegetables still get zero points.


Daily points are now calculated using a formula based on a person’s resting metabolic rate.  The weekly points are now specific to an individual’s metabolic rate.  Users will calculate exercise points with both an intake goal and a physical activity goal.


Inner strength: Weight Watchers is also encouraging members to do non-food related things that make them feel good. This will become a greater aspect of Weight Watcher meetings.

We invite you to join us any Tuesday at 4:45 to learn about the Beyond the Scale Program.


Contact:  Kim Martin /399-6710/

Visit the YMCA for Upcoming Fitness Activities


See flyer for details

See flyer for details

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


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.


Registration Closes Jan. 7

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.


Math Interventions and Assessments for Students

Instructor: Karen Karp, Ph.D.


With the focus on multi-tiered systems of support, classroom teachers are seeking successful ways to assess and build instructional interventions for students who struggle in learning mathematics - particularly students with disabilities. This session includes researched-informed, hands-on interventions and assessments in number and operations for elementary students.



Grant Wood AEA, 4401 Sixth St SW, Cedar Rapids

8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.





See flyer for details


March 31, 2016

Course Number: 19417-15-01

Registration Deadline: 6:00 a.m. on March 17, 2016 Target Audience: K-2 General and Special Education Teachers, Psychologists, Consultants

Credit: None



April 1, 2016

Course Number: 19418-15-01

Registration Deadline: 6:00 a.m. on March 18, 2016

Target Audience: Grades 3-5 General and Special Education Teachers, Psychologists, Consultants

Credit: None


Fees: $65 for in Area 10 educators; $90 for outside of Area 10

The GWAEA Assistive Technology Team and the Iowa Center for Assistive Technology Education and Research presents…

Building Bridges:

Assistive Technology Conference

April 13, 2016

8 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.


Grant Wood AEA

4401 Sixth St. S.W., Cedar Rapids, Iowa


Keynote Speaker:

Kirk Behnke, M.Ed., ATP
Lead for Texas Assistive Technology Network (TATN)


See flyer for details

Audience: K-12 Administrators, General and Special Education Teachers, Media Specialists, Paraeducators, Reading Support, Parents, Social Workers, Speech-Language Pathologists, Psychologists, OT/PT, Consultants


Number: 19018-15-01


Date/Time: 04/21/2015, 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Assignment Due: 4/21/2015

Registration Deadline: 4/01/2016 06:00 AM 

Fees: Educators in Grant Wood AEA area, $60; Outside of Grant Wood AEA area, $85

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.








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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