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:


Introducing Grant Wood AEA Pride
2015-2016 Updated Early Literacy Benchmarks-FAST
Welcome, New GWAEA Staff
Special Education Staff Fall Opportunities to Retool and Refresh
Brain Injury Resources and Webinars
iPad App Orders- App Order form is OPEN!
GWAEA Team-Especially for You Race
Mindfulness 101: Stress Reduction and Wellness
Try the Y for FREE Week
Have you signed up to join the Blue Zones Project™?
Blue Zones Project™ Upcoming Events
GWAEA Professional Development Opportunities


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.


Introducing Grant Wood AEA PRIDE

GWAEA staff are doing great work on a regular basis- and we want to celebrate it! Each month we'll Proudly Recognize the Innovation, Dedication and Excellence (PRIDE) that's taking place in disciplines across GWAEA. Send your photos, videos and submissions to Renee Nelson for inclusion in future Bulletin Board newsletters!


Featured this month:

GWAEA Science Consultant
Christopher Soldat
presented an Engineering is Elementary float/sink challenge at the Iowa State Fair last week.



Instructional Technology Consultants Amber Bridge and Jason Marshall are starring in a Grant Wood AEA’s Digital Learning Team makerspace challenge show called "Think, Make, Innovate." The idea behind a makerspace challenge is to spark ideas and innovation, by putting out a simple idea and seeing what can be created. Check it out here.


2015-2016 Updated Early Literacy Benchmarks - FAST

Early literacy benchmarks (a.k.a. cutpoints) for the FAST screening tools have been updated for the 2015-2016 year. This update is a result of the research and development team having an additional year of screening data on hand, therefore, a larger sample with which to identify target performance levels. These updates should lead to greater consistency between grade levels (e.g., 3rd to 4th, 4th to 5th, etc.) and between measures (i.e., CBMR and aReading).


See the Updated 2015-16 FAST Benchmarks. For information, contact Alison West, GWAEA Literacy Consultant, or Kris Donnelly, GWAEA Programs/Services Administrator.

Welcome, New GWAEA Staff



Bridget Brenton
School Social Worker

M.S.W. - University of Iowa

Bridget worked as a school social worker with Grant Wood AEA from 2008-2011, and for the last four years as a medical social worker in the Emergency Room at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics.




Carrie Davis
Speech-Language Pathologist

M.A. - University of Iowa

Carrie held GWAEA speech-language pathology intern positions with Nancy Almasi (fall 2014), Melinda Mohr (spring 2015), and VIctoria Klein Girard (spring 2015). She also completed a SLP intern position with Child Serve in Johnston, Iowa with Heather Buchanan (spring 2015).




Andrea Dechant
Speech-Language Pathologist

M.A. - University of Minnesota - Duluth

Andrea shared that she is excited to be back at Grant Wood AEA after working for Witwer Children's Therapy for the past five years.




Courtney Draude
Speech-Language Pathologist

M.A. - University of Northern Iowa

Courtney held positions as a SLP at AEA 267, 2010-2013, and at Prairie Lakes AEA, 2013-2015.




Jodie Eidahl
Curriculum Consultant

M.A. - Drake University

Jodie taught Title 1 reading, first grade, and became a Reading First coach then a K-6 school improvement leader for Ottumwa Schools the past 17 years.




Tess Garceau
School Psychologist

M.A.E. - University of Northern Iowa

Tess held positions as a nanny for three years, a reader with the Department of the Blind for two years, and a graduate assistant with UNI for two years.




Renee Green
Special Education Consultant

M.A. - Special Education, St. Ambrose
M.A. - Educational Leadership, Western Illinois University

Renee was a special education teacher at Pleasant Valley High School, 2001-2008, and a special education teacher/administrator at Central Community High School in DeWitt.




Jean Grewe
Health Alliance Screener

B.A. - Concordia College

Jean taught PK-8th grades and choir director in the Lutheran School System for 25 years.



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

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

Brain Injury Resources and Webinars


The Grant Wood AEA Brain Injury Resource Team encourages staff to visit the Brain Injury Association of America's registration website to find information on and links to register for a variety of webinars on brain injury topics. Upcoming webinars include "Implementing Brain Injury Services for School-Aged Children" and "Persistent Problem in Children with Mild Traumatic Brain Injury."

iPad App Orders- App Order form is OPEN!

We are opening the Agency iPad App Order for paid iPad apps today. Please be sure to select no more than 7 apps, be responsible and only order apps you will need. The order form will close on Sept. 4 at 5 p.m.

You must be signed in with your GWAEA Google Account in order to view and fill out the form.

Link to the form


In order to get your apps please make sure these steps are completed! We have transitioned into distributing agency purchased apps in a new and more efficient way. In order to receive agency purchased apps from this point forward, you must add your device to the Meraki system and authorize an Apple ID for us to send the apps to (the nice thing is it can be your personal Apple ID, so less to remember). If you refreshed to an iPad Air or iPad Air2, this was completed when you picked up your new device.


Here are directions if you need to get it set up:

You will have to complete the two steps from your iPad or you will be unable to receive agency purchased apps.


Step 1: Install the Meraki MDM Profile on your device - iPad Air users did this when they picked up their new devices. Everyone else can follow the instructions below:




Step 2: Authorize Meraki to install apps - You will receive an email from a CISCO Meraki email address and must tap the link in the email and authorize an Apple ID for agency apps to be assigned. This can be your personal Apple ID if you would like or one you create.


Fill out this form to have the authorization email sent to you, then follow the directions in the video below to authorize your Apple ID.




If you have any questions about this process, please do not hesitate to contact
Stacy Behmer
( or one of the technology consultants.

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.

Registration Deadline: Sept. 15

Mindfulness 101:  Stress Reduction and Wellness

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.

Try the Y for FREE Week:
Aug. 31 - Sept. 6

Fill out the attached pass and take it to any of the five YMCA locations. Feel free to participate in fitness classes, work out on fitness equipment, swim in the pool all for FREE during Try the Y Week for Grant Wood AEA employees.


For information, contact Deanna Haddy, our YMCA corporate contact, ext. 6762.

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.


Indian Creek Nature Center Walking Moai Launch

Want to join a community walking group? Indian Creek Nature Center will host a Walking Moai Launch preceding the Purpose Workshop. You will have the opportunity to meet other individuals interested in walking, and form a group with walking times and locations convenient with your schedule.


Date: Thursday, Sept. 3, 2015

Time: 5:30 - 6:30 p.m.

Location: Indian Creek Nature Center, 6665 Otis Road - Cedar Rapids



Attend a Blue Zones Project Purpose Workshop

Date: Thursday, Sept. 3, 2015

Time: 6:30 pm

Location: Indian Creek Nature Center, 6665 Otis Road - Cedar Rapids



This is the final Purpose Workshop planned at this time for 2015. If you’ve already attended a Purpose Workshop, and would like to volunteer for the event, there are volunteer opportunities available. All volunteers can participate in the workshop if they choose to do so.

Please click here to volunteer, and forward this email to a friend to recommend they attend the workshop!


A Purpose Workshop is a two-hour event in which a facilitator guides you through various fun and interactive activities to begin the journey to finding your individual purpose. Keep in mind that there are three primary ways of uncovering your gifts:


• Your gifts are reflected in what you do best.

• Your gifts show up in how you like to serve.

• Your gifts are being used when you lose yourself in a task.


The Calling Cards™ exercise will confirm things about yourself that you already know. You might also discover a few surprises that point to what you might be called to do in the next phase of your life.

Friends and Family Weight Watchers at Work


Invite your friends and family to join the Grant Wood Weight Watchers’ At Work program

Collective weight loss total 506.8 pounds (November 2015 – August 2015)


Come visit our meeting and meet our representative, Lindsay.  Lindsay is young, fun, encouraging and non-judgmental. 


Fall Session:  9/22/2015 – 2/2/2016*

*promotional price 19 weeks for the price of 17 weeks

$186.00 /payable at time of registration /one check or three checks deposited at weekly intervals (week 1, week 5, and week 9)


All WW Locations are Available with Membership:

Grant Wood Northern Facility /Scale Up Classroom/ Tuesdays/4:30 p.m. weigh in/4:45 - 5:15 p.m. meeting


Community Locations:  Cedar Rapids - Williams Blvd, Ambroz Rec Center, Blairs Ferry / Coralville, Iowa City, Vinton, Mount Vernon, Anamosa, Kalona, Independence, Williamsburg


Contact:  Kim Martin /399-6710/

Anonymous Letter of Support for Weight Watchers At Work

"I have needed to lose weight for my health for a good portion of my life. I have been told by physicians, friends, and family to try Weight Watchers. I never did. When it was starting to be difficult to fit into my already larger size clothes, and I was tired every time I moved, I saw that we were getting a Weight Watchers meeting at work.


I was afraid to join for all of the reasons everyone else is: I can't eat what I want ever again. I can't enjoy food with friends. I'll never lose any weight. Add in the potential embarrassment if I choose to go to a meeting with people I work with - how can I ever face them during the weekday?


All of those reasons flew out the window at the first meeting. Weigh-in is confidential. I can eat real food when I want to eat. I can go to restaurants. What is discussed in meetings stays in meetings, and I've found that my colleagues are a great support to stay on track.


It's been nearly a year since I joined. I've had ups and downs, but I never would have lost any weight without joining. When I do have a 'bad day' I remind myself that in a year with Weight Watchers I'm at the lowest weight I've been in at least a decade. I'm buying smaller clothes. I've pulled clothes out of storage that I haven't worn in years.


I feel better. I am moving more. Some aches and pains are gone. Doctor visits are better. I eat better. I found new foods I like. Surprisingly, I've lost the taste for some foods I used to love--traded them for the new foods I've tried and now love.


Joining Weight Watchers is one of the best things I've ever done for myself."


Contact:  Kim Martin, 319-399-6710,

2015-2016 TQ Dates

Sept. 16, 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.







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.


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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