Grant Wood AEA logo
Bulletin Board

In This issue:


Fire Drill for Sixth St. Facility – Friday, Oct. 28, 2016
New Wireless Network for Grant Wood AEA
The “Big Picture” at
Grant Wood AEA
Internships at Grant Wood AEA Support UI REACH Program
Have Student Loan Debt or Going Back to School?
2nd Annual United Way Chili Cookoff
Upcoming eBooks Classes in the GWAEA Media Center
Pups & Ponies Fall Festival
GWAEA GROW News/Upcoming Events
  - Financial Fitness Academy
  - Weight Watchers at Work
  - Grant Wood AEA Book Club to meet Dec. 5 or 6, 2016
  - Lunch and Learn
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.


Fire Drill for Sixth St. Facility – Friday, Oct. 28, 2016

The agency will hold a fire drill at the Sixth Street facility on Friday, Oct. 28, at 11:55 a.m. 
Please take a minute between now and Oct. 28 to review the map in the building for the nearest exit. When the alarm goes off, plan to exit the building based on the information on these maps.

When you exit the building, please walk to the other side of the parking lot away from the building. In the event of a real emergency, fire and/or police would need quick access to the buildings.
A designated individual at each facility will announce an all clear for staff to return to the building following the drill.


Please contact Dave Brousard or Renee Nelson with questions.

New Wireless Network for Grant Wood AEA


From the Network Department
We have enabled a new wireless network for Grant Wood AEA called “gwstaff.” This will replace the “gwuser” network. 

This change will be implemented at all three facilities. This change will affect mainly the Agency staff computers (iPads or other devices connected to the “gwguest” network will not be affected.)


The reasons for the switchover are:
1.       Extra layer of encryption for greater security
2.       Faster network speed


Change over instructions are in the attached Microsoft Word document for Windows 7, Windows 10, and Mac. Mac Users: the file will be downloaded to your downloads folder, and you can open it from there.


If you are a Mac user and you do not know your Active Directory domain credentials, please see Brandon or John in the network department.


This new network, “gwstaff" is already enabled and you can switch to it whenever you please. 
We ask that you do your switchover prior to December 2, 2016, as that will be the date we permanently disable the “gwuser” network.


If you have any trouble with the cutover, contact Tech Support at ext. 6738 or

The “Big Picture” at
Grant Wood AEA

This week, "The Big Picture" focuses on Blended Learning.


After a two-year pilot to help launch the concept of Blended Learning, we are seeing excitement among our schools to sustain and

scale blended learning within their districts. As you might recall, we launched a blended learning pilot in 2014 with nine teams in 5 districts. The focus was on using blended learning as a pathway to personalized learning.


This year the program is back with increased participation with a new twist. During 2016-2017,
Blended Learning professional development is partnering with Marcia Kish, a blended learning coach from Ohio, to provide professional development to over 112 participants, 18 sites, and eight districts throughout GWAEA.


This year, the Blended PD is divided into three strands: administrationinstructional coaches, and teachers. Year 1 is mostly intended to focus on station rotations with future plans to focus on student choice and voice. Teacher teams learn about the critical design and implementation steps to launch a blended practice in the classroom with a focus on identifying instructional experiences personalized to the needs of each student.


Instructional Coaches participate with teacher teams and support classroom teachers in implementation of blended learning practices. Additionally instructional coaches take part in monthly hour long whole-group sessions and 1/2 hour long individualized coaching sessions with Marcia Kish and the AEA blended links.


Administrators are given a rich and engaging blended experience in which they learn to transform their school with blended learning, student choice and voice, data analysis, and innovative personalized teaching practices with the end goal to allow students hmove at their own pace, place and path.


Another new addition for this year is the advent of cross curricular links.  The Blended Learning Links are made up of consultants in the areas of literacy, digital learning, science, school improvement, and math. The staff serving as links work closely with instructional coaches and are partnered as a link with specific building sites to support the coaches in implementing and scaling blended learning.


Lisa Wilson, GWAEA Programs/Services Administrator, added, "The benefits of instructional consultants is monumental as we move forward with this instructional initiative."

Internships at Grant Wood AEA Support UI REACH Program

Students with the UI REACH Program are interning at Grant Wood AEA’s Coralville facility, extending their future opportunities for success through workplace and life skills experiences.


The University of Iowa Realizing Educational and Career Hopes (REACH) Program is a two-year certificate program facilitated by the University of Iowa College of Education for students ages 18-25 with multiple intellectual, cognitive, and learning disabilities.

Sue and Ali Heath

Launched in the fall of 2008, UI REACH was one of the first programs of its kind at a major public university and attracts students from across the country. The program provides a Big Ten campus experience to empower young adults to become independent, engaged members of the community. Courses, campus life, and career preparation assist students in reaching their full potential. UI REACH strives to maintain contact with alumni to encourage them to become independent adults by utilizing the independent living and career-related skills they learned in the program.


The GWAEA Coralville facility has hosted four REACH interns during the previous four years. Sue Heath, GWAEA secretary, provides support for the interns. Former GWAEA Special Education Consultant Pam Ries, now Director, UI REACH, contacted Lisa Haverkamp, GWAEA regional administrator, to discuss the opportunities for REACH Program interns to participate in job exploration activities at the GWAEA Coralville facility.


Sue explained that the interns complete a variety of office activities. “The current REACH intern activities include delivering van mail, laminating, photocopying, and other office activities,” she continued. “The intern is usually onsite Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 1:30-3:30 p.m. for two semesters.”  


Deb Larson, UI REACH Career Development and Transition Coordinator has worked closely with Sue with the REACH interns.  “I cannot thank everyone at Grant Wood AEA enough for the fabulous opportunities they have provided the UI REACH students to experience an internship working in an office,” said Deb.  “The communication, support, and guidance Sue and others in the office provide is crucial in helping the students develop their workplace readiness skills.”

Sue shares a personal connection with the REACH program. Her daughter, Ali, is a 2011 REACH Program graduate. “I just felt it was my chance to give back to the REACH Program,” she said. “Grant Wood AEA is participating in something huge.”


“My first year in the program was 2009,” Ali shared. “It was my first time living on my own, moving out of Mom and Dad’s house and living in the UI dorms with a new roommate. It was scary starting a new chapter in my life. I took classes, participated in student activities, and learned how to do things on my own like laundry, and preparing meals, life skills that you need to know.”


Ali explained that the REACH Program assisted her with career explorations at a daycare center, the VA Hospital and Hy-Vee. After her second year in REACH, Ali interviewed and completed a paid summer internship with Wellmark in Des Moines. Deb worked closely with Ali at each of her internships. “I knew when I saw her working in a childcare setting that it was the right career field for Ali.  She was a natural,”  Deb explained. “But I am also glad she got to experience other internships like the position at Wellmark in Des Moines to make sure of her career path decision.”  


“It was good, it was fun,” Ali continued. “I lived with a roommate in an apartment. Working at Wellmark, I learned office and financial activities. Living that far from home made me a little nervous, but my sister and family live in Des Moines. It was quite an experience for me.”

After Ali’s return from Des Moines, she moved home and returned to her position with Hy-Vee.


“After a couple months, advisers from the REACH Program encouraged me to find a job with a daycare center. Voc Rehab helped and I’ve been with a daycare center for three years and in my own apartment with a roommate for three years,” she explained.


“Don’t give up,” Ali shared. “I would recommend the REACH Program. It would really help you.”


“We always hoped that Ali would become an independent, viable, community-minded adult by the age of 30,” Sue elaborated. “She turned 28 last week, and she’s there. All because of the REACH Program. I will be indebted to them forever. Supporting the REACH Program interns at Grant Wood AEA is my opportunity to give back in some small way.”


• to Amber Bridge and Bob Smith on the birth of their daughter, Stella Jane, on Oct. 10.


Amber is a GWAEA technology consultant and shares a photo with us. Congratulations!






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.

Mark Your Calendar!

2nd Annual United Way Chili Cookoff

bowl of chili


The 2nd Annual United Way Chili Cookoff is planned on Nov. 18, 2016, 11 a.m. - 1 p.m. in the Grant Wood AEA Conference Center. Watch for details in upcoming issues of The Bulletin Board.

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.

Pups & Ponies Fall Festival

Saturday, Oct. 29, 2016
11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.


Sutliff Cider Company
382 Sutliff Road

Lisbon, Iowa


See flyer for details.

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. 34 initial checkups have been completed

  2. 23 employees have enrolled in one or more tutorials

  3. 230 tutorials have been selected

  4. 124 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. 20, 2016

- Financial Fitness Academy, The Bulletin Board, Oct. 13, 2016

- 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 906 pounds! That's the equivalent of 3 average football linemen!

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.

Chair Massage Schedule for November and December

November massage days are Nov. 9-10 and Dec. 14-15.
Please email Stacy Murphy for appointment times.

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.



Grant Wood AEA Book Club to meet Dec. 5 or 6, 2016

Looking for something new to read?
GWAEA Book Club might be what you are looking for. Join us to discuss "Switched On: A Memoir of Brain Change and Emotional Awakening" by John Elder Robison.


gwaea book club

Dec. 5, 12-12:30 p.m. or

Dec. 6, 4:00-4:30 p.m.

Please choose from one of the following dates to attend:  Dec. 5 from 12:00-12:30 p.m. OR
Dec. 6 from 4:00-4:30 p.m. in the Glass Room. We will also be available VIA ZOOM for those who cannot attend on site. Please contact Deanna Weber for further information.

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. 

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.

























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.


Lost and Found:

These keys were found on the second floor of the Sixth St. facility.





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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