Grant Wood AEA logo
Bulletin Board

In This issue:


The "Big Picture" at GWAEA
Statewide Assessment Committee
Have Student Debt or Going Back to School?
Self Perception Survey
Upcoming eBooks Classes in the GWAEA Media Center
GWAEA Sixth Street Location Blood Drive, Oct. 25, 2016
GWAEA GROW News/Upcoming Events
  - Financial Fitness Academy
  - Weight Watchers at Work
  - YMCA
  - GWAEA Especially for You Race Team
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.


The “Big Picture” at
Grant Wood AEA


There is much happening at Grant Wood AEA to support students and educators, and we want to help keep you informed. The Bulletin Board is beginning a new feature, “The Big Picture at Grant Wood AEA,” which will feature periodic information of interest for GWAEA staff.

We’ll begin with information highlighting recent activities with the agency’s General Education Literacy, Math and Science teams.

General Education Literacy Team

The GWAEA Literacy Team has been identified as the Statewide Training Cadre and will collaboratively engage with school district teams during the month of October in the Assessment and Data-Based Decision-Making training. This training is a support for the Differentiated Accountability accreditation model through the Iowa Department of Education.

GWAEA GEL team members are engaging with school districts in the implementation of the Universal Assessment protocols and facilitation guide to organize and analyze FAST assessment results.

The GEL team is also providing support for classwide interventions by utilizing the PRESS training, which was held during October, with follow-up sessions planned Spring 2017.

Math Team

Our math team has been asked to propose ideas in which Hanover Research will have doctoral  students collect and analyze data around the agency’s K-5 Math Project known as “Instructional Strategies That Influence K-5 Mathematics.”

Hanover’s high-caliber research team specializes in market research, competitive benchmarking, and survey analysis. The Iowa AEA system has an annual contract with Hanover Research. There is interest by our partnering area education agencies to include math as a consideration for this work.

Science Team

The science team is facilitating Next Generation Iowa Science Standards as part of the state-wide rollout of the new science standards. Teachers begin by attending Transitioning to the Next Gen Iowa Core Science Standards for Teachers, and then choose either Differentiating Units to Implement the Next Gen Iowa Core Science for Teachers K-6, or Differentiating Units to Implement the Next Gen Iowa Core Science for Teachers 6-12.

Director Wise announces Statewide Assessment Advisory Committee

Austin Beer, GWAEA school psychologist, is joining a committee recently announced by Iowa Department of Education Director Ryan Wise to help schools transition to the new statewide assessments.


Iowa recently put in place new statewide assessments for students whose first language is not English and students with significant cognitive disabilities. The state also is on track to implement new statewide assessments in English language arts, mathematics, and science in the 2017-18 school year. This school year, Iowa students will take the current Iowa Assessments in those subjects.


The following statewide assessments are new in Iowa:

·         2017-18: Iowa students will take the Smarter Balanced Assessments in grades 3-11 in English language arts and mathematics.

·         2017-18: Iowa students will take a new statewide science assessment that has not yet been adopted.

·         2015-16: English language learners took the English Language Proficiency Assessment for the 21st Century (ELPA21) for the first time. ELPA21 replaced the Iowa English Language Development Assessment.

·         2014-15: Iowa students with the most significant cognitive disabilities took a new alternate assessment called Dynamic Learning Maps, which replaced the Iowa Alternate Assessment.


The Statewide Assessment Advisory Committee will meet at least four times throughout the 2016-17 school year. Meetings are open to the public.


Visit the Statewide Assessment Advisory Committee for information.

Have Student Loan Debt or Going Back to School?

Did you know there is a Federal program offering student loan forgiveness for nonprofit employees? 


While some educators may benefit from Teacher Loan Forgiveness, the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program (PSLF) is for any full-time staff member. The loan forgiveness amount is individually determined and tax-free. 

Grant Wood Area Education Agency and the Association of Educational Service Agencies (AESA) have partnered to provide you with information and expertise on a program available through  Innovative Student Loan Solutions, our trusted advisory service to provide education about this program. 


We encourage all full-time employees with federal student loan obligations to learn more about this voluntary benefit, and find out if PSLF makes sense for you. It’s quick and easy to find out if you're eligible. Click Here and enter Registration Code: aea10.  Answer a few simple questions, find out your potential savings instantly, and schedule your no-obligation telephone consultation with an Advisor today.

You should consider the program if you have federal student loans, including Parent Plus Loans, and would like to:
    •    Immediately lower your monthly student loan payment
    •    Reduce your student loan obligation.
    •    Significantly reduce your cost of earning additional degrees
    •    Receive a personalized 10-year loan forgiveness plan outlining your savings

Join your colleagues who are reducing their standard repayments by an average of 79% and looking forward to $66,324 in tax-free student loan forgiveness.

Innovative Student Loan Solutions knows there are other companies advertising in the student loan space making claims that sound similar, most of them are only selling loan consolidations.  Remember, they do not charge any fees up front, fully educate you about all available options, and provide a ten year individualized plan before you decide to hire them.  Please, do not move forward and consolidate your loans until you have spoken with them first.  Consolidating loans could make you ineligible for student loan forgiveness.

Self Perception Survey

We are continuing to track our work as an agency around our agency goal to “Increase student acquisition and application of 21st Century skills and knowledge (prepared for success in college, career, and citizenship).”


Our continued focus will be around communication and collaboration skills. As was shared on opening day to measure progress towards our agency and region goals we are administering the Communicator/Collaborator Self-Perception Survey again for all staff. The survey should only take 5-10 minutes.  If you don’t understand how to rate yourself on the scale or what the task is then feel free to score yourself low (it’s ok!).

Here is a link to a doc for you to look at in advance to see the I can statements and scale prior to the survey. The text is kind of small for the scales on the survey link.

Once you complete the survey check you email to see your responses. Leadership teams and the digital learning team will look at the data without names to help us plan support. These data have been used to plan targeted professional learning throughout the agency. You will get a copy, so you can see how are doing and track your own professional growth!

Please complete this survey by Friday, October 14, 2016. Thank you in advance for providing us with this information and let me know if you have any questions!

Communicator/Collaborator Self-Perception Survey Link


For information, contact Stacy Behmer,

Upcoming eBooks Classes in the GWAEA Media Center

eBooks and Your Curriculum for Elementary School Teachers
Learn about Grant Wood AEA's eBook Platform MackinVIA. Discover ways to integrate eBooks in your current practice.
NOTE: This class will be via ZOOM. Invitations will be sent out once registration is completed.

eBooks and Your Curriculum for Secondary Teachers
Learn about Grant Wood AEA's eBook Platform MackinVIA. Discover ways to integrate eBooks in your current practices.
NOTE: This class will be via ZOOM. Invitations will be sent out once registration is completed.

GWAEA Sixth Street Location Blood Drive, Oct. 25, 2016

1:30 – 4:00 p.m.
Grant Wood AEA – Scale-Up Classroom 


For questions or to schedule an appointment, contact Cathy Nelson at ext. 6544.
or e-mail


GROW News/Upcoming Events

Visit the GWAEA Grow website for the following:

- Adult Coloring Books

- Book Club
- Chair Massages

- Community Events

- Financial Fitness

- Gardening

- Healthy Food

- Lunch and Learn

- Mindfulness Class

- Treadmill Desks

- Walking Events

- Weight Watchers

- Wellness Challenge

- Yoga Club


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.

Financial Fitness Academy

To summarize this free program, and help you get started if you have not already done so: 

  1. This is the link you, as well as your family and friends, can use to participate in the program:

  2. The Initial Checkup takes about 10 minutes.

  3. You will have access to 400+ online tutorials 24/7 from any Internet-connected device via the "Add Tutorial button."

  4. Each tutorial includes a pre-test, content and post-test.

  5. The Final Checkup will be activated in late October/early November, and participants will be notified and invited to complete a Final Checkup.

  6. Staff who successfully complete a post-test for at least 12 tutorials (total of 3 hours during the 8-week program) and complete the Final Checkup will be entered in a drawing for one of four $25 gift certificates.

  7. The Fall Academy will end on 11/18/16.

In Spring 2016 over 100 staff participated in the Financial Fitness Challenge. To date, the numbers for the Fall 2016 Academy include:

  1. 22 initial checkups have been completed

  2. 16 employees have enrolled in one or more tutorials

  3. 154 tutorials have been selected

  4. 51 tutorials have been completed

Some participants have reported technical errors that have occurred when logging in to the Academy or while navigating the site.  Academy engineers are working to investigate and fix any errors.  If this has happened to you, please help the Academy resolve the problem by notifying Jackie Schreder in the HR Office.  If questions, please contact Jackie at, 319-399-6731.


Please see prior issues of The Bulletin Board for further details. 

- Financial Fitness Academy, The Bulletin Board, Oct. 6, 2016

- Financial Fitness Academy, The Bulletin Board, Sept. 29, 2016

- Financial Fitness Academy, The Bulletin Board, Sept. 22, 2016

- The Financial Fitness Challenge is Back, and Even Better!, The Bulletin Board, Sept. 15, 2016

Weight Watchers At Work


New registrations accepted each week! Since November 2014, our total weight loss is 892.6 pounds! That is the combined size of 2 welsh ponies, 1 newborn calf, and 1 human brain!

Weight Watchers At-Work
New Session - 9/6/2016

Membership Opportunity extended to staff, family and friends (you may attend at any community location or at GWAEA on Tuesdays. Tuesday’s meeting weigh-in is available at 4:30 p.m. and the meeting begins at 4:45 p.m.). You are not required to attend Tuesday’s meetings, you can go to any other community meetings that suit your schedule.


Payment options: Payable at time of registration one check or credit card payment. You can also pay 3 checks, which will be deposited during different weeks of the session. If joining mid-session, cost will be pro-rated for remaining weeks.

Weight Watchers for Diabetes

Contact Kim Martin or Elizabeth Steffensmeier with questions or to sign up.


YMCA Fall Membership Sign Up
ONE-DAY Special

Thursday, October 20, 2016 

GWAEA employees need to bring their GWAEA ID or pay stub to receive the corporate discount plus up to $20 off monthly dues with no join fee.
See the YMCA flyer.


For more information, please contact our YMCA Corporate Contact Deanna Haddy, 319-399-6762.





Halloween Monster Mash at the YMCA

Saturday, Oct. 22, 2016

10 a.m. - Noon


Open to children (and adults) in the community.
See the Monster Mash flyer.


For more information, please contact our YMCA Corporate Contact Deanna Haddy, 319-399-6762.


Grant Wood AEA Team Joins 2016 Especially for You®
Race Against Breast Cancer,
Oct. 9, 2016

Grant Wood AEA's Especially for You team of 30 included runners/walkers at last Sunday's event. Congratulations to all who participated!






Lunch and Learn

Date: Nov. 10, 2016

Time: 12:00-12:30 p.m.

Location: Grant Wood Room

Join Hy-Vee Dietician Alicia Aguiar for a discussion on healthy eating during the holidays.
See Lunch & Learn flyer for details.



2016-2017 Leadership for Continuous Improvement
Learning Sessions


Registration is available for non-LCI teams.


See flyer for dates and registration information through Grant Wood AEA Professional Development.



2016-2017 Grant Wood AEA Assistive Technology
Professional Learning Opportunities

See flyer for course offerings, dates and registration information.




See flyer for dates and details

2016-2017, Child Find Courses

See flyer for course offerings, dates and registration information.

2016-2017 Grant Wood AEA Resources for Educators and Parents Working or Living with Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders


See flyer for course offerings, dates and registration information.




See flyer for dates and details

2016-2017 Behavior PD Courses


Register for 2016-2017 Grant Wood AEA Behavior PD Courses through
GWAEA Professional Development


See flyer for details on course offerings, dates, and locations.





Grant Wood AEA Math PD Courses, 2016-2017

See flyer for course offerings, dates and registration information.






See flyer for dates and details

Strategies for Improving Reading

Each workshop will focus specifically
on strategies supporting instruction
for one of the five Components of Reading – Phonemic Awareness, Phonics, Fluency, Vocabulary and Comprehension. Participants will engage in demonstrations, practice and application of learning, including an emphasis on:

• Core instruction (whole group and differentiated)
• Assessments (including FAST screening and diagnostic)
• Interventions
• Iowa Core Standards


See flyer for dates and registration information.


2016-2017 Grant Wood AEA Seminar Series

National presentations brought to you locally by Grant Wood AEA


1:00-3:00 p.m.

See flyer for dates, locations and registration information.


Nov. 2, 2016 - 19447-16-01

Dr. Robert Dillon - How Digital Learning Helps Close the Gap Around Educational Equity


Dec. 7, 2016 - 19448-16-01

Thomas Murray - Creating Schools and Classrooms that are Future Ready


Jan. 4, 2017 -19449-16-01

Dr. Anthony Muhammad - All Means ALL! Creating Equitable Learning Environments


See flyer for dates and registration information.




March 1, 2017- 19450-16-01

Zac Chase - Building School 2.0: How to Create the Schools We Need

2016-2017 Grant Wood AEA Seminar Series


Dr. Robert Dillon serves the students and community of the Affton School District as Director of Technology and Innovation. Prior to this position, he served as a teacher and administrator in public schools throughout the Saint Louis area.

How Digital Learning Helps Close the Gap Around Educational Equity with
Dr. Robert Dillon

Structures, systems and tradition can sometimes block educators from their ultimate goal in improving the future of our most vulnerable students. Join Dr. Robert Dillon as he shares his passion for changing the educational landscape by building engaging schools for all students with digital tools and pedagogy that facilitate the learning for all students- especially those who have fewer resources and more obstacles to overcome in achieving success.

Nov. 2, 2016, 1:00-3:30 p.m.


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


Course Number: 19447-16-01
Target Audience: K-12 Administrators, Teachers, Teacher Librarians, Consultants, Technology Consultants


• Educators in Grant Wood AEA area, Total for non-credit $40
• Outside of Grant Wood AEA area,Total for non-credit $65
• Registration is not complete until all fees are paid in full.

2016-2017 AEA Teacher Leader Support System (TLSS)

Purpose: to establish a comprehensive multi-year regional program to develop important teacher leader skills and competencies and build capacity among a network of teacher and district leaders to promote long term system sustainability aligned with the Iowa Department of Education’s TLC Layered Approach for Support.


Fee Structure:
$1200 for District Annual Membership Fee and $750/instructional coach for one year of professional learning sessions.


2016-2017 AEA Teacher Leader Support System,
NTC Professional Learning Sessions Systems of Support for TLSS Districts
, and

Access to Optional Courses



See flyer for details

STAR Autism Program Training

Instructor: Lisa Kemmerer, Ph.D.,
STAR Autism Consultant


Nov. 3-4, 2016
8:30 a.m.–3:30 p.m.

Grant Wood AEA
4401 Sixth Street S.W.

Cedar Rapids, Iowa


The STAR Autism Program teaches children with autism the critical skills identified by the 2001 National Research Council. The ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) instructional methods of discrete trial training, pivotal response training and functional routines form the instructional base of this comprehensive program for children with autism.


STAR Autism Program Training

PreK-6 Special Education Teachers, Speech-Language Pathologists, Special Education Consultants, Psychologists, Parents, Social Workers, Behavior Interventionists


Number: 4549-16-01

Registration deadline: Oct. 20, 2016, 6:00 a.m.

Fees: $185 in GWAEA Educators; $210 outside Non-GWAEA Educators
Registration is not complete until all fees are paid in full.


Positive Interventions and Effective Strategies (PIES) for Coaching Parents and Caregivers of Children from Birth to Age 5


Nov. 28, 2016
8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Grant Wood AEA
4401 Sixth Street S.W., Cedar Rapids, Iowa


TARGET AUDIENCE: PreK Administrators, General and Special Education Teachers, Counselors, Social Workers, Speech Language Pathologists, Early Childhood Staff, Psychologists, Consultants


Credit: None


Number: 19473-16-01


Fees: $50 for educators in Grant Wood AEA;
$75 for outside of Grant Wood AEA



See flyer for details


Positive Interventions and Effective Strategies to Manage Behavior for Parents and Caregivers of Children Birth to Five


Nov. 28, 2016
5:30-7:30 p.m.

Grant Wood AEA
4401 Sixth Street S.W., Cedar Rapids, Iowa


TARGET AUDIENCE: Parents, Paraeducators, Caregivers, Care Providers


Credit: None


Number: 19474-16-01


Fees: $10 for individual in Grant Wood AEA;
$35 for individuals outside of Grant Wood AEA



See flyer for details

2016-2017 Instructional Coaching

Instructors: Jim Knight and Ann Hoffman



See flyer for dates, times, and locations


Target Audience: Instructional Coaches, Administrators, Lead/Model Teachers


• High Impact Instruction

Nov. 30-Dec. 1, 2016

Number: 19353-16-01

Registration deadline: Oct. 31, 2016


• Focus on Teaching, Using Video to Gather Data

March 3, 2017

Number: 19355-16-01


2016-2017 TQ Dates

Dec. 7, 2016
Feb. 15, 2017
May 3, 2017


Visit the new TQ Google site.

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 Ambre Bernards, Lisa Haverkamp, Susan Parker, and Sherry Sines.

Iowa Board of Educational Examiners

BoEE Update

Please take a moment now to visit the BoEE website and update your contact information. Go to and click “update my information” in the left column. The “Search for a license” tool is helpful to see your license type and expiration date. The FAQ page replaces the old BoEE handbook and has the most current and relevant information for educators in a user-friendly format. For BoEE updates, please review the August newsletter. 


You can subscribe to the BoEE Quarterly Newsletter from the BoEE webpage. 

AEA PD Online

Staff who have received notice regarding completion of training for employment and/or licensure should submit certificates of completion for the required trainings to Tammy Carolan by Oct. 19. The trainings are available on
AEA PD Online


AEA PD Online is available for required online trainings and for online courses for credit. 

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.

























October 2016

November 2016

December 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, Fierce Conversations and iEvaluate. A letter from the DE/BOEE is attached. Please contact
Grant Wood AEA Professional Development
for questions.



The Off-Site Programs are in need of various types of legos for their students. If you have any legos that you are willing to donate, please drop them off at Elizabeth Steffensmeier's desk by Oct. 31.
Any donation is much appreciated.


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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