Grant Wood AEA logo
Bulletin Board

Mark Your Calendar

March 4, 2016

GWAEA Staff Recognition Banquet Nominations Due


April 1, 2016

Organizational Leadership Program Applications Due


May 10, 2016

GWAEA Staff Recognition and Partnerships Banquet

National Czech and Slovak Museum, Cedar Rapids

In This issue:


Connecting our Work to the Agency Goals: See How Early ACCESS Helps Children Like Julia
Welcome, New GWAEA Staff!
GWAEA Adapted Physical Education
  Ready to Enhance your Financial Fitness?
  Retirement Investors’ Club 403b Plan – Annual Eligibility Notice
GWAEA's The Linker,
February 2016
info@gwaea, February 2016
New Resource for Iowa Core
Organizational Leadership Program Applications Due April 1
28 Days of OLLIE
(+1 Bonus Day)
Nominations due March 4 for GWAEA Staff Recognition and Partnerships Banquet
GWAEA Staff Recognition and Partnerships Banquet, May 10
"The EdTech Takeout”
Tech Tips
2016 iPad U
GWAEA GROW News/Upcoming Events
  - Blue Zones Project Upcoming Events
  - Financial FItness Challenge
  - Chair Massages Schedule, March
  - Coloring Supplies Available in GWAEA Break Rooms
  - Weight Watchers At Work
  - Yoga
  -GWAEA Book Club
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.


Connecting our Work to the Agency Goals: See How Early ACCESS Helps Children Like Julia

How a child plays, talks, moves, and behaves are all important facets of a child’s development- and our assistance with young children is an important component to our agency's work.


Grant Wood Area Education Agency’s Early ACCESS program is an important intervention available for families with young children who need assistance in determining a child's needs, potential services, and understanding what works best for each child - but it's hard to understand for families who haven't needed the service. This short video is one in a series that highlights the work of Grant Wood AEA Occupational Therapist Patty Holzmiller as she visits with a family, and also show Patty reflecting on her participation in the Distance Mentoring Model, her shift to using coaching, and her use of video for self-reflection. We're proud of the work done by Patty and our Early ACCESS team, and how their efforts positively impact the lives of children and families.



GWAEA Mission, Goals, Vision

Welcome, New GWAEA Staff



Jody Clark
Records Technician

Cedar Rapids


Grant Wood AEA Adapted Physical Education:

Support to Physical Educators Teaching Students with Disabilities

Grant Wood AEA’s adapted physical education program provides support for developmentally appropriate physical education curriculum tailored to the unique needs of every learner.

The curriculum should be developmentally appropriate, scope and sequenced, tied to national standards, and measurable. Curriculum is available for checkout from the GWAEA Media Center.

The Grant Wood AEA adapted physical education website provides access to a variety of information and resources, including “Physical Education Equipment for Check-out,” “Make or Innovate,” and “Buy or Purchase at a Discount.”


To learn more, contact Ann Griffin,
GWAEA adapted physical education consultant,


Ready to Enhance your Financial Fitness?

Watch your email the week of February 22 for an invitation from to take the
10-minute Financial Fitness Checkup assessment and the opportunity to learn about personal finance through the Financial Fitness Challenge.


What it is: There is no cost to you to participate! Whether you just want to brush up on your knowledge or gain better mastery over your finances, you'll find the online courses helpful. Participants can choose from the following topics: budgeting, savings, financial planning, basics of investing, retirement planning, and more. The program does not recommend, promote or sell any products or services. Participants can be assured of confidentiality - personal information including individual names and scores for each course are not shared with others.


See flyer for details


Why you should participate: Typical results include significant improvement in financial knowledge and better management of finances through budgeting and retirement planning. More than 87% of participants say they’d recommend the Financial Fitness Challenge courses to others. Over 75% of participants indicate that they have made or will make financial behavior changes as a result of their participation in the Financial Fitness Challenge!


Your time commitment: You'll participate on your own schedule; it takes about an hour each week, but you can work on it 10–15 minutes a day. The materials are laid out in simple terms, using easy-to-understand examples. You’ll come away with a better understanding of how to plan for a more solid financial future.


How it works: Choose from one of three different course paths: Basic Personal Finance, Saving and Investing, or Retirement Planning. Here’s a general overview of some of the topics covered:



The Challenge begins with the initial checkup, which tests your current knowledge and behavior patterns regarding finances. Your initial checkup responses will be compared to your responses on a final checkup, which you will complete after you pass all five courses and the final survey.

Participants who successfully pass all five courses within their chosen course path and complete the final checkup will be entered in a drawing for one of four $25 gift certificates to either a local bookstore or community theatre. You will receive weekly progress reports and other helpful information as the Challenge progresses.


Getting started: This is important! After you complete the initial Fitness Checkup, then choose your preferred course path. The Challenge program will end April 22, and staff are encouraged to take advantage of this convenient learning opportunity while you can!


See "Financial Fitness Challenge: Message from Joe Crozier regarding a financial learning opportunity" ... The Bulletin Board, Feb. 11, 2016.

Retirement Investors’ Club 403b Plan – Annual Eligibility Notice

Did you know that Grant Wood AEA offers a supplemental retirement savings plan?

Grant Wood AEA employees have the opportunity to save for retirement by participating in a voluntary 403b plan offered through the Iowa Retirement Investors’ Club (RIC).  You may participate by making pre-tax contributions and Roth post-tax contributions, to one of the RIC core investment providers.

See flyer for details

What do I have to do to start a 403b retirement account?

To start your contributions, you must first open an account with one of the four approved core investment providers and submit a completed RIC Salary Reduction Form to the Grant Wood AEA payroll office.  Provider contact information is on the RIC website at  The provider can send you enrollment information, or if you prefer, a provider representative will schedule an appointment to help you with the enrollment process.     


What if I’m already contributing?

Take full advantage of the benefit!  Consider increasing the amount you are saving for retirement (up to the maximum limits listed below).  If you wish to change the amount you are contributing, simply complete and submit an RIC Salary Reduction Form to the Grant Wood AEA payroll office. 


How much may I contribute?

In general, you may contribute up to $18,000 in calendar year 2016.  This amount may be adjusted annually if declared by the IRS.  If you are age 50 or older, you may contribute an additional $6,000.  Also, you may be able to make further catch-up contributions (up to an additional $3,000) if you have at least 15 years of service with your current employer, Grant Wood AEA, and have not exhausted your eligibility.   


How can I receive more information about the plan?

Information is available at or by calling an RIC provider (contact information available at or by visiting  You may also contact RIC toll-free at 1-866-460-4692 option #1 or Planwithease at 1-855-464-6928 for more information about this employee benefit. 

Grant Wood AEA's The Linker, February 2016


In the February 2016 Issue:

- Support from the GWAEA Assistive Technology Team
- 2016-17 AEGON/Transamerica Foundation Kirkwood Scholarships for Students with Disabilities
- info@gwaea, February 2016
- Education Directory Updates
- The GWAEA Yellow Pages Directory of Services

- News from the GWAEA Digital Learning Team


- GWAEA Professional Development- Innovation in Education Workshops - Aaron Maurer

- Leadership for Continuous Improvement
- 2016 Standards-Based Grading Conference
- 2016 Building Bridges Assistive Technology Conference

- Iowa Teacher Leadership and Compensation (TLC) Icons

- News from the Iowa Department of Education


The Linker, is available for viewing and download of archival copies.


For information, contact Valerie Taylor Hill in the GWAEA Communications Office,
319-399-6824 or 800-332-8488.

info@gwaea, February 2016

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 February 2016 issue:

  • GWAEA Media Center Resources Serve Multiple Purposes in Schools

  • Iowa Book Award Update

  • Bookflix: Text to Speech Feature

  • MackinVIA Ebooks: Text to Speech Feature

  • "Think, Make, Innovate" - Stop Motion with Alburnett's ACEClass

  • Staff Feature - Gail Cummings

  • Makerspace Resources for the Novice and Experienced

  • GWAEA Young Writers' Conference, May 4, 2016

  • Makerspace and You

  • Change in Collection Window Time for the 2015-2016 School Library Survey

For information, contact Deanna Weber,



info@gwaea, February 2016

New Resource for Iowa Core

The Iowa Department of Education has introduced a new blog, “A Voice from the Field,” written by Jane Schmidt, Maquoketa educator and
2014 Iowa Teacher of the Year.




Jane continues to be a strong voice of support for the standards. During her term as 2014 Iowa Teacher of the Year, she spoke often about the Iowa Core when she visited schools and community groups in all 99 Iowa counties.


In the new blog, “A Voice from the Field,” Jane will describe the progress and challenges faced by her district and others as they continue to put the standards into practice.

Organizational Leadership Program Applications Due April 1

Applications are now being accepted for GWAEA staff who have completed a minimum of two years service at Grant Wood AEA and are interested in applying for the 2016-2017 Organizational Leadership Program.  See the Feb. 4 issue of
The Bulletin Board
for details.




Updates from AEA PD Online

Visit the AEA PD Online and AEA K-12 Online websites for current professional development updates. Follow AEA PD Online on Twitter @aeapdonline or on your mobile device by accessing the app at

28 Days of OLLIE
(+1 Bonus Day)

Online Learning for Iowa Educators


AEA PD Online launched the 28 days of OLLIE (+1 Bonus Day) online community for teachers on Feb. 1. To learn more, visit the following link:

Nominations due March 4 for the Grant Wood AEA Staff Recognition and Partnerships Banquet

Saying “thank you” to your co-workers, community volunteers and/or the people with whom you work can be wonderfully uplifting to these special people. It can also be satisfying and meaningful to you, personally.  Please consider nominating one or more persons you have worked with or observed as “going the extra mile." The categories you may nominate individuals for are:

  • Friend of Education (usually business and community partners)

  • Educational Partner (usually school personnel)

  • Caring Colleague (GWAEA staff only)

Only Grant Wood AEA staff may nominate people for these awards.  A random group of Grant Wood AEA staff members always comprises the awards selection committee. Click for a list of previous honorees.


Nominations for these awards can be submitted here. The nominations will be reviewed by a selected group of GWAEA staff members in March. Both the nominating individual and those who are selected to be recognized will be notified in April.

GWAEA Staff Recognition and Partnerships Banquet, May 10

National Czech and Slovak Museum

1400 Inspiration Place S.W., Cedar Rapids


5:00-6:00 p.m. - Visit museum exhibits

5:30 p.m. - Cocktail hour

6:00 p.m. - Dinner

National Czech and Slovak Museum

More information on purchasing tickets for this year's event will be available soon. Until then, please save the date!

“The EdTech Takeout” is Out!

The Digital Learning Team at Grant Wood AEA is always looking at new ways to augment the professional development and work we do with teachers. With that in mind, we have recently launched a brand new way for educators to stay current with the latest technology tools and trends for the classroom - The EdTech Take Out podcast. The podcast can be accessed on smartphones, tablets, Macs, PCs and Chromebooks so teachers can listen to it anywhere, and at any time.


We would love you to join our growing audience! More information about the show, as well as how to subscribe, can be found here:

We think that this could be a great opportunity for you and would be grateful if you could pass this along. If you have any questions, let me know. If you have an agency iPad, download it and listen on a drive or listen on the Digital Learning Blog!

Tech Tips- Commenting in Google Docs

  1. Highlight text in a Google Doc and then the comment button will appear on the right. Click on that and leave a note.

  2. If you simply add a plus sign and start typing someone’s email address they will be emailed a notification that a comment was left for them on the document and the email will include a link to the document, so they can go take a look. For example “” in the comment will email Gina the comment and a link to the doc.  


iPad U: 2016 Show What You Know

July 6-8, 2016

8:45 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.


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


Featured Speaker:

Clay Reisler, Technology Integration Specialist


Featured Speakers:

Sarah Lalk, Instructional Coach

Josh Allen, Technology Integration Specialist


Target Audience: PreK-12 Educators

Number: 4628-16-01

Registration deadline: June 28, 2016, 6:00 a.m.



See flyer for details

The goals of the iPadU are to provide educators with support and training in the implementation of iPad use in the classroom so educators can begin utilizing the device for teaching and learning. This year, there will be a theme to help teachers utilize the iPad with students to “show what you know.” Sessions will connect with the universal constructs of communication, critical thinking, and collaboration.

GROW News/Upcoming Events

- Blue Zones Project Upcoming Events

- Financial Fitness Challenge

- Chair Massages at Grant Wood AEA

- Coloring Supplies in GWAEA Break Rooms

- Weight Watchers

- Yoga Club at GWAEA

- GWAEA Book Club to meet April 5 or 7


Contact a member of the GROW Team for 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.

Blue Zones Project Upcoming Events

Jed Eichhorn, Engagement Lead, Healthways, provided information about Blue Zones Project upcoming events:

Walk the Skywalk with a Group this Winter

Skywalk Moai (Thursday Evenings)

Jan. 7 - March 11, 2016, 5:30 - 6:30 p.m.

Cedar Rapids Downtown Library, 450 5th Avenue SE, Cedar Rapids

Blue Zones Project has partnered with Cedar Rapids Public Library to offer an opportunity to join a Moai® (group) to walk the Skywalk every week this winter. The Walking Group kickoff is

Thursday, Jan. 7. Meet in the entrance of the Downtown Library, no registration required.

Here are some other Power 9 Principles to help you out:
Move Naturally – Linn Country Trails has snow shoes you can rent
Downshift – Learn Yoga and meditation techniques
Wine@5 – Enjoy one glass of red wine each day
Eat Wisely – Try a new Blue Zones Recipe or attend a Plant Based Cooking Class
Family First – Make a commitment to have family dinner nights on a regular basis
Community – Connect/Reconnect with a religion or volunteer in the community
Right Tribe – Join a Skywalking Moai or a civic organization that aligns with your passions

Chair Massages Schedule for March

Marcia will be here March 8 (8:40 a.m. first appt., 1:20 p.m. last appt.) and March 10 (8:40 - 10:40 a.m.). We are going to try doing a regular day and a short day every month for massage.  Merging days may be necessary if enough appointments are not scheduled on the short days. Please email Stacy Murphy for an appointment.

Coloring Supplies Available in GWAEA Break Rooms

Looking for a break from stress?

Grant Wood AEA's GROW Committee is now offering coloring supplies in the break rooms. Available supplies include coloring sheets, markers, crayons, and colored pencils.


What are you waiting for? Sit down and color stress away.



Weight Watchers At Work

Be Inspired!  GWAEA At-Work Members have lost a collective 650 pounds and 3 members have attained their goal


  • New Weight Watchers At-Work Session:  2/16/2016 – 6/7/2016

  • Membership Opportunity extended to staff, family and friends(you may attend at GWAEA on Tuesdays 4:45 p.m. or any community location)

  • Incentive gift available for anyone who purchases a GWAEA At-Work membership between 2/8 and 2/12.  Gift:  Fresh & Easy Cookbook, Tote Bag, plus 2 Portion Plates. (right)

  • Payment options – payable at time of registration one check or credit card payment in the amount of $186 (made payable to Weight Watchers) or three checks submitted at time of registration in the amount of $62 each.  The checks will be deposited one week 1, week 5, and week 9.



GWAEA Contact:  Kim Martin, 319-399-6710,

Yoga Club at Grant Wood AEA

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

There is no fee or sign-up required to join. Come when your schedule allows. Tara Johannsen and Cathy Kearns will facilitate the weekly sessions with the assistance of yoga DVDs and YouTube.


Grant Wood AEA Book Club to meet April 5 or 7

The next Book Club book choice will be "One Plus One" by Jojo Moyes. Join us for a relaxing social gathering and great conversation. Please choose to attend either April 5, 12:00- 12:30 p.m. or April 7, 4:00-4:30 p.m. Both meetings will take place in the Media Center Commons. Questions? Contact Deanna Weber,
ext. 6454 or


gwaea book club


"One Plus One" by Jojo Moyes


April 5, 12:00-12:30 p.m. or
April 7, 4:00-4:30 p.m.

2016 Linn Area Reads

The Book Thief  by author Markus Zusak

Sunday, March 13 at 5 p.m., Hotel at Kirkwood Center,
7725 Kirkwood Blvd. SW, Cedar Rapids


The planning committee for the annual community reading program known as Linn Area Reads has selected The Book Thief by author Markus Zusak for the 2016 edition of the program.


Linn Area Reads is a program of the Metro Library Network, which is made up of the Cedar Rapids, Marion, and Hiawatha Public Libraries. All Linn Area Reads events are free and open to the public.


For the 2016 schedule, visit

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.







February 2016

March 2016

April 2016

May 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.

Buy, Sell and Trade

GWAEA Creative Services has extra magnet pieces available for staff use.


The magnet pieces are located on the counter outside of the Copy Center Window.


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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