Grant Wood AEA logo
Bulletin Board


Sept. 7, 2015
Agency closed in observance of Labor Day


Oct. 12, 2015

Flu shot clinics through the
Visiting Nurse Association


In This issue:


Comments and Quips from the AEA's Executive Cabinet
Welcome, New GWAEA Staff
The Kirkwood Center at the University of Iowa Project Update
Mindfulness 101: Stress Reduction and Wellness
Our Condolences
Special Education Staff Fall Opportunities to Retool and Refresh
The GWAEA Yellow Pages is Online
Concrete Connections Video
Have you signed up to join the Blue Zones Project™?
Mindfulness 101: Stress Reduction and Wellness
Blue Zones Project™ Upcoming Events
YMCA Diabetes Prevention Program
Hope Walk, Sept. 26
GWAEA Team-Especially for You Race
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.




All Agency Meeting: GWAEA staff start year with a warm welcome and an unwavering focus

At Monday's All Agency meeting, nearly all of the GWAEA staff assembled at College Community as the agency prepares to support school districts through the upcoming academic year.


Read a recap of Monday's meeting on the Executive Cabinet's blog -

Welcome, New GWAEA Staff



Sarah Altic
Speech-Language Pathologist

M.S. - Purdue University

Sarah's background includes experiences as a paraeducator at Grant Wood AEA, 2014-2015; and as a SLP with Curlee Communication Consultants, Knoxville, Tenn., 2013-2014; Anderson County Schools, Knoxville, Tenn., 2011-2013; and School District 93, Idaho Falls, Idaho, 2009-2011.




Kelsey Arens
Speech-Language Pathologist

M.A., University of Iowa

Kelsey is joining Grant Wood AEA as a speech-language pathologist.




Melinda Cairney (Mindy)
Technology Consultant

M.A. - Graceland University

Mindy 's background includes positions as a 1st & 2nd grade teacher at St. Patrick's in Anamosa, 2002-2006; and a K, 1 & 1st/2nd combo teacher at All Saints in Cedar Rapids, 2006-2015.




Hailey Christianson
School Psychologist

M.A.E. - University of Northern Iowa

Hailey worked as a neuropsych technician for one year, then transitioned to graduate school for school psychology.




Jennifer Cira-Debban
PEP Educator Partner

Agency wide


Watch for additional new staff features in future issues of The Bulletin Board.

Grant Wood AEA’s Move to The Kirkwood Center at the
University of Iowa

Grant Wood AEA’s move to The Kirkwood Center at the University of Iowa in Coralville is complete. Our thanks to Sue Heath, GWAEA secretary, for sharing the following photos of the 5th floor, home to the Grant Wood AEA Coralville facility.


For information about the facility move, contact Tina Hoffman, GWAEA regional administrator. For questions on phones or Internet, contact Dave Brousard, GWAEA Director of Information Technology.








The new facility features workstations (above) and collaborative work areas (right.)


Mindfulness 101: Stress Reduction and Wellness

Christine Allen, Instructor

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 Sept. 22, 29, Oct 5, 13, 20, 27 and Nov 3, 10 and 17 from 5-7 p.m. The Nov. 3 class will meet from 5 – 8 p.m. 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.

Our Condolences

  • to Melody Cassidy and family on the passing of her father, Bill Duart, on Aug. 9. A memorial service was held on Friday, Aug. 14, in Strawberry Point. Melody shared that her father lived most of his adult life on a farm in Strawberry Point. Melody is a GWAEA curriculum consultant. 

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

The 2015-2016 Grant Wood AEA Yellow Pages Directory of Services available online



The 2015-2016 Grant Wood AEA Yellow Pages Directory of Services is available online. This PDF document provides an easily accessible summary of agency programs and services and key contact information for administrative leaders, support staff and teachers.


For information, contact Renee Nelson,
ext. 6714, or Valerie Taylor Hill, ext. 6824.

"Concrete Connections"


Congratulations to GWAEA Graphic Designer Andrea Castek whose design featuring the Grant Wood AEA Renewing Our Well-being (GROW) logo was selected for inclusion in the inaugural "Concrete Connections" sidewalk painting event held Aug. 13-14 in downtown Cedar Rapids.


Andrea, Eric Cleveland and Gail Cummins painted the design on Aug. 14 located at 3rd St. and 1st Ave. in downtown Cedar Rapids. View the video of their creation below. Congratulations, Andrea, Eric and Gail!


Have you signed up to join the Blue Zones Project™?

Participants have access to an online well-being community available at no cost. See the May 8 issue of The Bulletin Board for a list of well-being community activities. Sign up today at (remember to use the Grant Wood AEA code: GWAEA) and take the personal pledge. And, receive a Grant Wood AEA water bottle for signing up.


Contact a member of the GROW Team for more information.


Blue Zones Project™
Upcoming Corridor Events

Through the efforts of many staff members, Grant Wood AEA earned designation as a Blue Zones Worksite during a ceremony held on Feb. 11, 2015.


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. Visit these links for activities and events.

Renew Your Commitment to Yourself by Joining Weight Watchers At Work!


Employee Renewal and New Enrollee Opportunity for Employees and/or Household Members

New Session Begins Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2015

New Enrollment Opportunity for you and your family members to join the Grant Wood AEA Weight Watchers at Work group.  All participants choose a meeting location convenient for you. 
A weekly meeting is offered at the Grant Wood AEA Northern Facility every Tuesday.  
Weigh in from 4:30-4:45 p.m./meeting start time 4:45 to 5:15 p.m.


Contact:  Kim Martin, 319-399-6710,

YMCA's Diabetes Prevention Program

The YMCA of the Cedar Rapids Metropolitan Area offers a Diabetes Prevention Program at YMCA at Mercy Health Plaza, 5254 Council St. NE, Cedar Rapids. See brochure for details.


For information, visit the YMCA Diabetes Prevention Program website or contact
Deanna Haddy, our YMCA corporate contact, ext. 6762.

Hope Walk

A walk of support. A walk of remembrance. A walk for suicide awareness prevention.


Saturday, Sept. 26, 2015

Ellis Park/Robbins Lake -
Lakeview Pavilion, Cedar Rapids

8:00 a.m. - Check-in

9:30 a.m. - Opening Ceremony

2 Lap Walk Following Opening Ceremony

Registrations due Sept. 8

Grant Wood AEA Team - Especially for You® Race Against Breast Cancer

Sunday, Oct. 4, 2015



Opening ceremonies at 7:45 a.m.

5K Run begins at 8:00 a.m.; 5K Walk & Family Fun Walk immediately following

Start at Mercy Medical Center on 10th Street S.E. at Hall-Perrine Cancer Center


The registration deadline is Sept. 8. Registration fee: $30.00 adult/$20.00 youth.
Click for registration form
or visit the GROW table outside of the Media Center Commons in the Sixth St. Facility.


For information, contact Nicole Clymer.

2015-2016 TQ Dates

Sept. 16, Dec. 2, Feb. 24 and May 25
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.

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.








August 2015

September 2015

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.

Buy, Sell or Trade

For Sale: Yamaha YFL-371HIIAL Flute…$1000

This is a high-quality flute for an experienced player. It comes with the hard and soft cases, thumb port, polishing cloth, cleaning rod and cloth, and key plugs. I purchased the flute in 2007; it was played for 2 1/2 years. I had it regularly inspected and maintained at West Music. It is in great condition! Call Connie at 202-1260.

For Sale: Selmer Signet Flute…$200

This is a good flute for a beginner or for marching band. It comes with the hard case and a music stand. It will need some pads replaced. Call Connie at 202-1260.


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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