Grant Wood AEA logo


Oct. 5, 2015

Fire drill at Sixth St. facility

(Oct. 9 as an inclement weather back up date)


Oct. 12, 2015

Flu shot clinics through the
Visiting Nurse Association


In This issue:


GWAEA PRIDE: Challenging Behavior Support Team Leads Advanced Behavioral Assessments Pilot Course for GWAEA Peers
Reminder to GWAEA Staff Regarding Work Attire
Board Policies Distributed Annually
Invitation to Support United Way Committee
RESPECT Training
New Science Standards
IPERS Retirement Planning Sessions in Cedar Rapids
Digital Learning Tech Tip - Reporting SPAM Email
GWAEA GROW News/Upcoming Events
- Weight Watchers at Work
Walk at the Whistle
GWAEA Book Club
Fight the Flu!
- Blue365 Member Discounts
- Core Fitness Member
- Boot Camp Challenge
- Lunch and Learn
Retirement Celebration:
Gerry Hamm
lsland Fever, Oct. 3
Special Education Staff Fall Opportunities to Retool and Refresh
GWAEA Professional Development Opportunities
Buy, Sell or Trade
- Wanted


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.


GWAEA PRIDE: Challenging Behavior Support Team Leads Advanced Behavioral Assessments Pilot Course for GWAEA Peers

Forty GWAEA staff members participated in the Advanced Behavioral Assessments: Preference Assessment pilot course provided by the Challenging Behavior Support Team this August (on two separate dates).


"The course is designed to increase the knowledge, experience, and use of preference assessments for children who may be displaying challenging behaviors in their school environment. These assessments help to identify potential reinforcers for students, which in turn decreases problem behavior and increases student performance," said Amy Graber, one of GWAEA's Challenging Behavior Specialists who helped lead the course.


Participants were provided content on various preference assessment methods in the morning, and in the afternoon were able to put their new knowledge into practice by conducting the various preference assessments with children. Similar trainings are being provided at different AEAs throughout the state in an effort to increase staff competencies with various behavioral assessments.


Participants were selected from each region to attend this pilot course based on their involvement with conducting Functional Behavior Assessments (FBAs) and Behavior Intervention Plans (BIPs) as a part of their role.



Marti Hurst engages with little Livia as part of a preference assessment section of the training.

Reminder to GWAEA Staff Regarding Work Attire

Grant Wood AEA is proud of our familiar, comfortable culture and understands that many of our staff work in very different settings. While we want our employees to work comfortably in our workplace, we still need our staff to project a professional image for our districts, educational partners, potential employees, and while working in the community.



Business casual dress is the general standard for working at our agency, which gives staff the flexibility to dress according to his or her schedule for the day, and in a manner that promotes a tasteful, respectful impression of our agency. On days when staff need to dress more casually due to their work activities, employees must exercise a certain amount of judgment in their choice of clothing. In particular, staff are reminded that not all casual clothing is suitable for the office. As a general guideline, clothing that works well for the beach, yard work, dance clubs or exercising may not be appropriate for a professional appearance at work.


Additionally, staff are asked to not wear jeans, sweatshirts, or tennis shoes to work. Staff can wear jeans on Fridays unless your department has previously communicated other expectations to you regarding attire. Please note that staff who are attending an all-day meeting or PD session should still treat the day as they would any other work day: the expectation is that staff will not wear jeans during these sessions.


If you are unsure about what clothing is acceptable while you're at work, please ask your supervisor for additional guidance.

Board Policies Distributed Annually

Policies related to 1) equity in employment, programs and services, 2) harassment and bullying, and 3) substance-free workplace are distributed on an annual basis. The links below provide access to each policy and administrative regulation.


Policy # 4119 – Equity in Employment, Programs and Services

Administrative Regulation # 4119A - Equity in Employment Programs and Services Complaint Procedure


Policy # 4123 Agency Personnel: Harassment or Bullying
Administrative Regulation # 4123A - Agency Personnel: Harassment or Bullying


Policy # 4175 Agency Personnel: Controlled Substance/Alcohol-Free Workplace
Administrative Regulation # 4175A - Agency Personnel: Controlled Substance/Alcohol-Free Workplace


If you have questions or need additional information, please contact Kim Martin, GWAEA board secretary. For additional policy information, refer to on-line policy manual accessible from GWAEA home page. (select Board of Directors then Board Policy Manual.)

Invitation to support United Way committee


Grant Wood AEA will be supporting United Way of East Central Iowa and United Way of Johnson and Washington Counties with an agency-wide campaign again this year. If you're interested in supporting the campaign by being on the agency's United Way committee, please contact
Renee Nelson.

RESPECT Training

Recognizing Everyone's Strengths by Peace Building, Empathizing, Communicating and Trust Building


RESPECT training is a four-day program focused on training partiipants in relationship buiding and conflict resolution.This training is ideal for family members, educators and other professionals who serve on IEP teams.


Dates: Oct. 20, Nov. 3, Dec. 1, Dec. 15, 2015

Location: Waterloo Center for the Arts, Phelps Pavilion RiverLoop Amphitheatre, Arts Mall, Mark’s Park & Expo Plaza 225 Commercial St., Waterloo, Iowa

Time: 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.


See flyer details

Opportunities for Learning New Science Standards

The Iowa Department of Education has posted to their website information about the new science standards – specifically, an overview of the implementation timeline and learning opportunities. Included is information about the Oct. 20 day of learning in Iowa City.


IPERS Retirement Planning Sessions in Cedar Rapids


Individual Appointments:
October 12, 13, 14 & 15, 2015

See flyer for details.



Residence Inn
1900 Dodge St. N.E., Cedar Rapids

Pre-Registration is needed to attend an individual appointment.


Get detailed information about your retirement account by speaking with an IPERS representative during an individual appointment. Learn about possible retirement dates, benefit option payouts, and service purchase options.


To schedule an individual appointment contact IPERS at 1-800-622-3849.  These appointment times will fill quickly, please call soon to reserve an appointment.

Digital Learning Tech Tip - Reporting SPAM Email

We don’t get spam email too often, but once in awhile one will sneak through and we need to be mindful of this. If you see an email that doesn’t seem quite right, the subject says important or it doesn’t make sense. Best practice is to check with the sender (by sending them another email not replying to suspicious one) to check if you are not 100% sure. If you know it is spam, then please mark it as spam (see the image below). This will help the filter in the future recognize messages like this.



GROW News/Upcoming Events

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

- Walk at the Whistle, Oct. 7, 2015

- GWAEA Book Club, Oct. 8, 2015

- Fight the Flu, Oct. 12, 2015

- Volunteering - Discover the Benefits of Giving Back

- Blue365 Member Discounts

- Core Fitness Member Discounts

- Boot Camp Challenge

- Lunch and Learn with a Hy-Vee Dietician,
Nov. 9, 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.

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.

Weight Watchers at Work


The excitement just keeps growing …

- New session: 9/22/2015 – 2/2/2016 (you may join at any time)

- Membership Opportunity extended to staff, family and friends
- (You may attend at GWAEA on Tuesdays or any community location)

- Incentive available for new GWAEA staff enrollees: The GROW committee is offering new enrollees a GWAEA participation reimbursement incentive of $50.00. To be eligible at the end of week 19 (Feb 2, 2016), you will need to provide your WW record books showing you attended a weekly meeting for 17 weeks (excluding the holiday weeks—Dec 21 and Dec 28).

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.


Contact:  Kim Martin /399-6710/

Grant Wood AEA's Walk at the Whistle

Oct. 7, 2015, 11:50 a.m. - 12:20 p.m.

The 1 kilometer walk coincides with the outdoor alarm heard at noon in many communities.


The GROW committee will sponsor an indoor walk route this year that will showcase several GWAEA departments in the Sixth Street facility.  Tour the departments between 11:50 a.m. – 12:20 p.m. or enjoy the virtual route option. Look for additional details in next week’s issue of
The Bulletin Board.


Grant Wood AEA Book Club to meet on Oct. 8

The Grant Wood AEA Book Club will kick off the year on Oct. 8 with the selection
"The Nightingale: A Novel" by
Kristin Hannah.


Choose either noon or 4 p.m. in the Creative Commons area to come relax and enjoy conversation and social time with your co-workers. If you would  like to participate, but can't be here on site, let Deanna Weber know and she will send you a Zoom invite. See Deanna,
ext. 6494,
for access to print or digital copies.

Fight the Flu

Oct. 12, 2015, 7:30 - 9:30 a.m.

Sixth St. Facility - Grant Wood Room

Coralville Facility

Link to register


Flu Shots planned at Grant Wood AEA through the
Visiting Nurse Association. Bring your insurance information. VNA will direct bill your insurance company.


As a reminder, and for employee reference, the Agency health plans provide flu shot benefits, which includes:

  1. Full 100% coverage, with no co-pay, for shots received through in-network or
    out-of-network providers.

  2. Under the HMO Essential plan, however, individuals must go to an in-network provider for the shot or the shot will not be covered.

  3. If another non-preventive service in addition to the flu shot is performed in the doctor's office, individuals are then responsible for the office co-pay.

If there are questions about your health plan benefits, please contact Cathy Kearns, Payroll/Benefits Specialist, at ext. 6706 or

For information, contact Connie Dvorak,



Volunteering - Discover the Benefits of Giving Back

Aside from the emotional benefits of volunteering, there are significant health benefits associated with giving your time. Studies have noted lower rates of disease as well as reduced healthcare costs among people who volunteer regularly. It seems that volunteers gain as much as they give!


Area volunteer opportunities include:

United Way of East Central Iowa

United Way of Johnson & Washington Counties

Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) Program for Linn & Jones Counties - CASA for Children is a network of 949 community-based programs that recruit, train and support citizen-volunteers to advocate for the best interests of abused and neglected children in courtrooms and communities.


See these flyers for additional information: CASA Volunteer, National CASA Infographic.


Blue365 Member Discounts

Individuals covered under the Agency's group health insurance plans with Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield are eligible to participate in the Blue365 discount program, which offers savings on products and services for healthy living. Discounts include fitness center memberships, workout apparel and healthy eating programs. Click here for more information and to check out some of the discounts available! The discounts and services are always changing, so please visit the Blue365 website for a list of current vendors.

Core Fitness Member Discounts

Core Fitness, with three locations in North Liberty/Iowa City, offers GWAEA employees a discounted membership of $39 monthly with a $49 one-time enrollment fee. If employees sign-up for a year contract, Core Fitness will waive the enrollment fee for a $49 savings.


All memberships include:

- All group fitness class including: Les Mills, cycling, yoga, ZUMBA, aerobics and aquatics classes
- A FREE fitness assessment with a personal trainer
- Steam room and sauna at all locations
- 24/7 access to the North Liberty location
- Pool and spa access at the Mormon Trek location
- Women's only workout area at the North Liberty location

Core Fitness Boot Camp Challenge, Oct. 12

A Boot Camp Challenge program, exclusive to Core Fitness, is also open to Core members AND non-members so if someone is looking to improve their health and wellness but not quite ready to join a gym, this program may be perfect for you!


Boot Camp Challenge is either a 6-week or 3-week fitness program where campers meet at the same


time 3 times a week and perform cardiovascular training, strength training, and flexibility along with nutritional guidance to guarantee results. Working with the same boot campers for six continuous weeks allows friendships to be made, camaraderie to be formed and boot campers pushing each other to work together to achieve individual goals!


All the workouts in the Boot Camp Challenge program can be modified to fit ALL fitness levels as well as any age so everyone can try it out! A Boot Camp Challenge flier is attached.

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.


Nov. 9, 2015, Noon-12:30 p.m., Linn/Johnson Room, Sixth St. facility

Topic: Healthy food options to make it through the holidays.

Leadership for Continuous Improvement Learning Sessions

See flyer for presenters, dates and fees.



Retirement Celebration for Gerry Hamm, Sept. 30


Please join us for a Retirement Celebration for
Gerry Hamm, on Sept. 30, 4 p.m., in the SCALE-Up Classroom.


Gerry is a member of the night cleaning crew at Grant Wood AEA. He joined us on July 1, 2010 when Marsden first took over the cleaning contract at GWAEA, and has been a valuable asset to our team.


Gerry's last day of work will be on Sept. 30. Cards or donations can be left with Cathy Nelson at the reception desk.



Saturday, October 3, 2015 – 6:00pm to 11:30pm

Coralville Marriott Hotel & Conference Center, Coralville

Benefiting: Eastern Iowa Honor Flight, Operation Backpack & Team Breast Friends

Visit the website for details. For information, contact Bart Mason,


Due to the generosity of a number of corporate sponsors, complimentary tickets for this special charity event are being made available to agency employees, family members & friends. Complimentary tickets can be obtained from Cathy Nelson at the Sixth Street facility or from Susan Heath/Stephanie McKenna at the Coralville facility.   

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

2015-2016 TQ Dates

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.

Buy, Sell or Trade:

Wanted: 8 to 24 ounce plastic containers with lids for the GWAEA VAST Center. Containers from yogurt, cottage cheese, sour cream, and margarine would be ideal. The containers will be used to ship red worms to teachers who are teaching the Animals 2 x 2 and Living Systems units. Please send to the
VAST Center via van mail.


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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