Grant Wood AEA logo


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


Oct. 12, 2015

Flu shot clinics through the
Visiting Nurse Association


In This issue:


"Getting Acquainted with Iowa Tier"
Differentiated Accountability Pilot
Educational Rounds
Welcome, New GWAEA Staff
The DE's Each and Every Child and School Leader Update
Reminder to update emergency contact information and beneficiaries
Special Education Staff Fall Opportunities to Retool and Refresh
iPad App Orders- App Order form is OPEN!
Fight the Flu!
GWAEA Team-Especially for You Race
Mindfulness 101: Stress Reduction and Wellness
Try the Y for FREE Week
Grant Wood AEA Book Club to meet Oct. 8
Have you signed up to join the Blue Zones Project™?
Blue Zones Project™ Upcoming Events
Request from the GWAEA Vast Center
Recycling with Rick
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.


"Getting Acquainted with Iowa Tier"


Do you want to receive updates on Iowa Tier/ELI/FAST? You can subscribe to receive emails with up to date information. Here's how:

  • Log in to your Iowa TIER account.

  • Click on the question mark "Help" in the upper right hand corner. This will take you to the Knowledge Base.

  • Scroll down.

  • The Knowledge Base is divided into 4 sections.
    - Communications
    - Data System Supports
    - Assessment Supports
    - Decision-Making Supports


  • Under each section there are subheadings. For example,
    - Announcements
    - User Chat Center
    - Ideas Forum
    - Hot Topics
    - Multi-Media Learning

  • Click on the arrows next to each subheading and that page will open. At the top of the page there is an envelope that says “subscribe.” Click on the envelope to subscribe for updates from that sub-section. You will need to go in to each sub-section within each section and subscribe to each ones that you would like to receive emails with updates.

  • If you are an infrequent user of Iowa Tier, but want to be aware of updates, you may only want/need to receive updates for the Announcements sub-section.

Differentiated Accountability Pilot

The Iowa Department of Education (DE) is piloting a new Differentiated Accountability system during the 2015-2016 school year as part of the work of Collaborating for Iowa’s Kids (C4K), a partnership of the DE, AEAs, and LEAs in the state. Forty-eight districts, nonpublic schools and AEAs have volunteered to pilot continuous improvement processes in Prekindergarten through 6th grade literacy as part of the state’s single continuous improvement system. As the system grows, it will continue to parallel the work of C4K, creating a system of delivery for evidence-based practices across Iowa.


A new Statewide School Improvement Team (SSIT) has been created to support Differentiated Accountability. The SSIT is made up of members from all Iowa AEAs and the DE. SSIT members will meet monthly to analyze healthy indicator data for districts, nonpublic schools, and AEAs; participate in focused site visits to support volunteer districts, nonpublic schools, and AEAs; and provide follow-up support to volunteers.


The first pre-pilot visits for the 2015-2016 school year are in Centerville, Oct. 27-30 and Carroll, Nov. 17-20. The SSIT will conduct the remaining visits during the spring semester of 2016. The SSIT members will work with districts during visits in an environment similar to a professional learning community and will engage in collaborative inquiry with districts, nonpublic schools, and AEA staff.


If you have any questions, please contact Amy Williamson at


The Grant Wood AEA Child Find Team would like to support you and your teachers by offering individualized support through Educational Rounds.

What are Educational Rounds? Our intention is to help AEA staff problem-solve challenging cases through individualized conversations. Similar to when medical professionals collaborate together to solve challenging problems, Educational Rounds will be an opportunity to meet with agency speciality teams to share data and investigate additional resources, strategies, and options to support student needs.  

The Format: Each Educational Rounds event will begin with individualized support from 8:00-10:00 a.m. focusing on Child Find Procedures. These discussions will typically be brief, but offer a chance to discuss the child find process.

From 10:00 a.m. - Noon, specialty teams will support your individualized case.  

Special Education Literacy Consultant: Concerns with reading and writing

Autism Consultant: Concerns with social skills or behavior for children with Autism or Autism characteristics

Math Consultant: Concerns about math

Behavior Team Consultant: Concerns about a student with behavioral issues

ELL Consultant: Concerns about how English Language is impacting the child

Language Consultant: Concern about young child (Preschool-2nd grade) and their overall language development.

Interested?  To register for the Educational Rounds you must complete the Google form to indicate what type of support you will need.  

Register HERE

To select a time slot, please sign up for a time:  SCHEDULE


Round Table #1:  Sept. 23, 2015

Round Table #2: Nov. 13, 2015

Round Table #3: Jan. 21, 2016

Round Table #4: March 3, 2016


8:00 -10:000 a.m. - [Optional] Schedule time with Hillary Prall or Austin Beer if you would like general child find support.


10:00 a.m. - Noon - Schedule a time for educational rounds support with a specialty team.
(typically 30 minutes)


Rounds are intended to be short, about 30 minutes of targeted discussion for your individual case. You are welcome to only attend during the time slot you sign up for, limiting the time out of your buildings.



In the September 2015 issue of School Leader Update read about the Department of Education’s priorities from Director Ryan Wise, and attorney Nicole Proesch provides updates on several issues.



The Iowa Department of Education's Each and Every Child e-newsletter is designed to inform, educate and challenge those who live and work in the field of special education. The September 2015 issue of Each and Every Child. In this month’s issue, learn why an Algona educator takes special education very personally, and how it makes her determined all children will succeed under her.

Welcome, New GWAEA Staff



Shelley Faidley
Teacher: Off-Site Programs

M.A. - University of Iowa

Shelley returns to Grant Wood AEA (1993-1997) after positions with the Des Moines Public Schools, 2001-2015; Teacher Off-Site Programs (2001-2006) and special education teacher at Hoover High School (since 2007).




Audrey Hentges
Physical Therapist

Doctor of Physical Therapy - Clarke University

Audrey worked as an athletic trainer for the pediatric program at Clarke University in Dubuque during graduate school.




Jacayla Milledge
Speech-Language Pathologist

M.A. - University of Northern Iowa

Jacayla held positions as a speech-language pathologist with Heartland AEA, 2011-2012, and Pella Regional Health Center, 2012-2015.




Alicia Mormann
Speech-Language Pathologist

M.A. - University of Northern Iowa

Alicia graduated in May 2015 and is excited to begin her career as a speech-language pathologist at
Grant Wood AEA.




Sarah Riley
Speech-Language Pathologist

M.A. - University of Northern Iowa

Sarah returns to Grant Wood AEA having held positions during 2003-2010.




Dawn Sage
Special Education Consultant

M.A.E. - University of Northern Iowa

Dawn held positions as a special education teacher with AEA 267, 1988-1995, and as a middle school math teacher with Denver Schools, 1995-2015.




Amy J.S. Schilling
School Psychologist

Ed.S. - University of Northern Iowa

Amy was a case worker at Tanager Place, 2001-2008, and a stay-at-home mom, 2008-2014.




Kaye Siders
Special Education Consultant

M.A. - Graceland University

Kaye has experience as a special education teacher, Level 1/Level 2, College Community Schools, 2009-2015, and as a special education teacher at Wilson School, 1997-2003.




Amy Thompson Thye
School Social Worker

M.S.W. - University of Iowa

Amy completed her M.S.W. practicum at Grant Wood AEA during the 2014-2015 school year.




Jillian Tigges
Special Education Consultant

Curriculum & Instruction, Special Education -
Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA)

Jillian has held positions as an elementary special education teacher - behavior focus, Linn-Mar CSD,
Aug. 2013-Aug. 2015, and as a middle school special education teacher - behavior focus, Anamosa CSD,
Aug. 2011-Aug. 2013.




Cassie Vazquez
Speech-Language Pathologist

M.A. - University of Iowa

Cassie graduated in May and is in her first year working as a speech-language pathologist.


Reminder to update emergency contact information and beneficiaries

In the event of an emergency, we want to be sure to have accurate, up-to-date emergency contact information on file for employees.  To ensure that this information is current, employees are asked to review this information annually.  As a reminder, in an emergency situation, we will always try to contact a spouse first, if identified, then Contact 1 or Contact 2.

To update: 


Go to GWAEA home page, click on Staff Website, click on Employee Self Service


Enter username (first initial & last name) and your password (click on green box if you have forgotten your password) 


 Click on Emergency Contacts (found under my information) 


Click on the record you wish to update or Add New Contact 


Click on Save Changes or Delete this Contact

If you have questions or need additional information, please contact the Human Resources Office at ext. 6703.  Thank you for keeping this information current.


Please also remember to update beneficiary information as family changes occur.  Employees designate beneficiaries for the group life and IPERS benefits. Contact Cathy Kearns, Compensation/Benefits, at ext. 6706, to make any beneficiary changes.

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

iPad App Orders- App Order form is OPEN!

Order closes on Sept. 4 at 5 p.m.

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.

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,

Registrations are due Sept. 8

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


Event Date: Sunday, Oct. 4, 2015


7:45 a.m. - Opening ceremonies

8:00 a.m. - 5K Run


5K Walk & Family Fun Walk immediately following

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


Sept. 8 is the registration deadline. 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.

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.

YMCA Day at Meet Me at the Market

Thursday, Sept. 3, 2015

Check-in* from 5:00-6:30 p.m. - NewBo City Market

Activities include Walk/Run/Bike, YMCA Kids' Sport Activities, Yoga, YMCA Zumba class

*Everyone who participates is required to register and check-in. Save time and preregister at For a list of activities visit YMCA Day at Meet Me at the Market or YMCA of the Cedar Rapids Metropolitan Area.

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.

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.

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/

Request from the GWAEA VAST Center

Wanted: 8 to 24 ounce plastic containers with lids

The GWAEA VAST Center is collecting 8 to 24 ounce plastic containers with lids. 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 these plastic containers to the VAST Center via the van mail.Thank you for your assistance!

Kathy Schultz, VAST Curriculum Consultant

Recycling with Rick

Hello everyone. We at Marsden Services want to welcome you all back and hope you had a great summer. As most of you know, we are the individuals who provide maintenance and janitorial services to the Grant Wood AEA buildings in Cedar Rapids and the BLC building in Iowa City. 


For those of you who are new to the agency, we welcome you and hope to get a chance to meet you. We are just a phone call away. Curtis, ext. 6414, and Rick, ext. 6715, or you can call the switchboard if you need immediate attention. 


In the evenings, our staff at the Sixth Street facility consists of Gerry, who has been with us since July 2011, and will unfortunately be retiring at the end of September.  And, we have added two new staff and want to welcome them:  David & Kent. Patrick is our staff member at the 33rd Avenue facility and also for the BLC building in Iowa City.

Recycling at Grant Wood AEA     

Everything from paper, cardboard, plastic, to pens/pencils/markers, etc., are recycled at
Grant Wood AEA. Please feel free to ask If you have a question about items for recycling.


Refrigerator Cleaning the Last Friday of Each Month  

The refrigerators are cleaned after the last Friday of each month.  Your items may stay in the fridge during those cleaning times, but at the end of June and December, the refrigerators are emptied. We will try to remind you of those times so you can take items home to be saved.

Leadership for Continuous Improvement Learning Sessions

See flyer for presenters, dates and fees.



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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