Grant Wood AEA logo
Bulletin Board

Mark Your Calendar:

Holiday Coffee and Desserts

6th Street

Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2016
Scale-Up Classroom
3:00-4:00 p.m.



Thursday, Dec. 8, 2016
Rm. 500
2:30 - 4:00 p.m.


Friday, Dec. 23, 2016, 3 p.m.
Agency closes for winter break and will reopen on Tuesday,
Jan. 3, 2017, at 7:30 a.m.


Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2017, 4:30 p.m.
Early Notification Incentive for Contracted, Management Staff

In This issue:


Read to Me! Talk to Me! Provides Support for Reading at Home
EAP Reminder
$1,500 Early Notification Incentive for Contracted, Management Staff Approved by GWAEA Board
New Wireless Network for Grant Wood AEA
Our Condolences
Holiday Early Release Dates
Coffee and Desserts Potluck
Have Student Loan Debt or Going Back to School?
GWAEA Teams for Bowl for Kids' Sake
info@gwaea, November 2016
Rose Landers Publishes Book on Family's History with Polio
Holiday Horizons of Hope
GWAEA GROW News/Upcoming Events
- You Still Have Time to Invest in You!
  - Weight Watchers at Work
  - Mindfulness 101: Stress Reduction and Wellness
  - Grant Wood AEA Book Club to meet Dec. 5 or 6, 2016
  - 4th Annual Cropping 4 Kids
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.


Read to Me! Talk to Me! Provides Support for Reading at Home

Read to Me group photo

Preschool teacher and Emergent Literacy SPEL team members delivering a home library set

Back: Connie Cranny, Kim Smith, Deb Robins, Christy Yetley.
Front: Kathy Curphey, Alaina Daters. Not Pictured: Donna Claflin


Grant Wood Area Education Agency literacy staff are harnessing the power of $4,000 grant funding to help build early literacy skills in preschool homes.


The Read to Me! Talk to Me! Program helps provide children opportunities to have conversations about books, and gives parents suggestions for research-based strategies and other interactions to help the parent enhance the reading experience.


Sara Blake, Christy Yetley

Sara Blake,
Christy Yetley

Shelby Patterson

Shelby Patterson, teacher, Alburnett

Angie McLean

Angie McLean, Iowa City preschool teacher


This home library effort began in 2013. Since its inception the program has distributed book sets to Lisbon, Cedar Rapids, Anamosa, Benton, Clear Creek Amana, English Valleys, Iowa Valley, Williamsburg, Midland, Monticello, Mt. Vernon, North Cedar, Olin, Solon, Tipton, Highland, Center Point-Urbana, Linn-Mar, Marion, Vinton-Shellsburg and North Linn. This year the Special Education Emergent Literacy team members used funding from the Wal-Mart and Alliant Energy Foundations to purchase books. GWAEA staff helped assemble 19 sets of 55 books that were distributed to College Community, Monticello, Mid-Prairie, Belle Plaine, HLV, Iowa City, Washington and Alburnett school districts.


“This has been an ongoing initiative,” said Kim Smith, emergent literacy team member. “With this latest distribution, more than 500 additional preschool children are able to take books home to read with their families.”


Kim and her colleagues are planning to apply for additional grant dollars to continue the effort, which is receiving great reviews from area teachers. “We’re so excited to have this opportunity to help take the reading experience to a higher level for even more children.”

EAP Reminder

The Agency provides an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) to support staff and family members with additional resources when faced with challenging situations. This program is provided through Mercy EAP Services and includes professional and confidential


counseling and referral services for a variety of personal issues including grief/loss, stress, illness, financial concerns and relationship issues. The goal of the program is to assist employees in effectively identifying and resolving personal concerns in a proactive manner before they affect job performance. 


All clinicians with Mercy EAP are licensed mental health counselors and are experienced in assisting individuals in meeting the challenges of today’s busy lifestyles. The EAP is confidentialand easy to use – just call 319-398-6694 or 1-800-383-6694 to schedule an appointment. There is no cost to employees for initial discussions – up to three sessions per employee family member per year (July 1-June 30) are provided. Whenever necessary, you will be referred to another resource that can best serve your needs. In most cases, your insurance may be used to cover the cost of additional help. If you need help that is not covered by insurance, the counselor can recommend services that are based on ability to pay.

It is hoped employees and families always lead happy and healthy lives, however if problems do occur and additional support or assistance would be helpful, the Agency is pleased to provide this valuable resource through the EAP. If you are ready to try this approach to addressing challenges in your life, please remember Mercy EAP Services.

If you have questions or need additional information, feel free to call the Human Resources Office at x6703, refer to the Business Services & HR Procedures Manual or view brochure.

$1,500 Early Notification Incentive for Contracted, Management Staff Approved by GWAEA Board 

At their meeting on Thursday, November 10, the GWAEA Board of Directors approved the offering of an early notification incentive to help support a timely hiring process for 2017-18. 

The financial incentive is available to Contracted and Management staff for providing the agency with early notification of their pending resignation or retirement. Specifically, Contracted or Management staff would need to commit to resigning or retiring at the end of this current work year, in writing, to Human Resources between November 11, 2016, and January 10, 2017. If the retirement or resignation is accepted by the Board no later than its regular meeting on January 11, 2017, the staff member will receive an incentive of $1,500, payable to them on June 16 (conditional upon the staff member satisfactorily completing his or her contract obligations for the year).


See the complete article in the Nov. 10, 2016 issue of The Bulletin Board.

New Wireless Network for Grant Wood AEA

Update Before Dec. 2, 2016


We have enabled a new wireless network for Grant Wood AEA called “gwstaff.” This will replace the “gwuser” network.  Updates are needed before Dec. 2, 2016. See The Bulletin Board,
Nov. 3, 2016
, for details.


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

Our Condolences...

  • to Bonnie Winslow-Garvin and family on the passing of Bonnie's husband, Michael.
    The visitation will be Friday, Dec. 2, 4:00-6:30 p.m. with the funeral service to follow at 6:30 p.m. Both will be held at the North Liberty United Methodist Church, 85 North Jones Blvd., in North Liberty. Bonnie is a GWAEA school psychologist.

  • to Connie Haneline and family on the passing of Connie's father, Patrick Leo Moore, on Nov. 17. Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated on Monday, Nov. 21, at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Iowa City. Connie is a GWAEA physical therapist.

Holiday Early Release Dates

See The Bulletin Board, Nov. 17, 2016 for the list of remaining 2016-2017 agency early release dates.

Coffee and Desserts Potluck

Have Student Loan Debt or Going Back to School?

Innovative Student Loan Solutions

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.

GWAEA Teams for Bowl for Kids' Sake



Last year GWAEA was represented among the corporate teams participating in our local Bowl for Kids' Sake fundraiser benefiting Big Brothers Big Sisters. Are you interested in joining a team? Please contact Renee Nelson for more information.

info@gwaea, November 2016

info@gwaea is a monthly e-newsletter for teacher librarians and educators highlighting resources in the Grant Wood AEA Media Center.


In the November 2016 issue:

  • Online Resources Feature: NetTrekker


  • Professional eBooks

  • Share IASL Book Award Boxed Books with Your Students

  • Ideas from the GWAEA Work Center

  • Preparing Students for the Future

  • Think, Make, Innovate

  • Media Center Late Start and Snow Day

  • What's New in the GWAEA Media Center

Contact Deanna Weber,, for information.



Rose Landers Publishes Book on Family's History with Polio

Former GWAEA staff members Rose and Bill Landers contacted us recently to share an achievement. Rose recently teamed with an author from her hometown to complete her dream of writing a book about her family's battle with polio. "Triumph on Baker Road: How the Walsh Family Defeated Polio" (2016) by Rose Landers, Mike Waller and Sue Cocoma is available on

Bill shared, "This is the true story of the Walsh family in 1955. In a two-week period, 11 of the 14 children were diagnosed with polio. Thus began the two-year siege that the Walsh family confronted with courage, prayers, and their strong faith. They received never-ending support from their family, community and from across the nation and world. The story highlights the remarkable perseverance of Keron and Anne Walsh that led to the triumph on Baker Road."


Both Rose and Bill worked for Grant Wood AEA. Rose was a GWAEA Occupational Therapist for 20 years, and Bill was a GWAEA Special Education Consultant/Facilitator for 28 years.

Horizons Holiday of Hope Toy Drive graphic, toys, bears

The Horizons Holiday of Hope toy giveaway provides gifts to the families with children that we work with at Horizons. Your donation of toys, money, gift cards or time would make a family’s holiday. Last year, we were able to collect enough items to serve 103 families and 248 children.


Please place any donated items in the box located in the Staff Break Room at the Sixth St. office by Dec. 11, 2016.

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.

Possible Return of GWAEA Health Screenings

A request has been made to the Agency Advisory Committee to bring back the yearly health screenings at Grant Wood AEA. The screening would be provided by the Visiting Nurses Association and would be a 12-hour FASTING TEST, which is a finger prick, and tests cholesterol - HDL & LDL, triglycerides and glucose. They have a machine which will analyze the test immediately and answer any questions our staff may have regarding the findings. This takes approximately 10 to 15 minutes.


This screening is 100% covered when included in a doctor’s visit. As a convenience to staff, we are able to offer an on-site screening for a fee of $20.


We would first like to find out how many would be interested in this service as we would need a minimum of 6 people to make this a go. Please go to this link IF you are interested in participating in the health screening.

You Still Have Time to Invest in You!

Start improving your financial life with the confidential Financial Fitness Academy. This is a different program than was offered in Spring 2016 when more than 100 staff participated. To date, the numbers for the Fall 2016 Academy are:


1.    39 initial checkups have been completed
2.    28 employees have selected one or more tutorials
3.    300 tutorials have been selected
4.    133 tutorials have been completed


1.    Start with a 10-minute Financial Fitness Checkup at to get your Financial Fitness Score and a personalized learning recommendation that can help you improve your unique financial situation.
2.    Complete tutorials that are interesting to you! Receive extra learning recommendations with access to 400+ online Academy tutorials 24/7 on any browser from any computer, tablet, or smartphone.
3.    Maximize your learning with interactive calculators, a glossary of terms, and much more.
4.    Work at your own pace and complete as many tutorials as you want.
5.    Take another Financial Fitness Checkup to track your progress and improve your Score.


WHY IT’S IMPORTANT: The program can teach you how to get the most out of your paycheck and prepare better for the future.  Over 100,000 people have taken the Checkup and used their score to help make small changes that add up to big results!


This program is available through the end of the year…12/31/16!


Staff who successfully complete a post-test for at least 12 tutorials and complete the Final Checkup will be entered in a drawing for one of four $25 gift certificates.


If questions, please contact Jackie Schreder, jschreder@gwaea.org319-399-6731.


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

- Financial Fitness Academy, The Bulletin Board, Nov. 17, 2016

- Financial Fitness Academy, The Bulletin Board, Nov. 10, 2016

- Financial Fitness Academy, The Bulletin Board, Nov. 3, 2016

- Financial Fitness Academy, The Bulletin Board, Oct. 27, 2016

- 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


Weight Watchers At-Work
New Session - 1/10/2017

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

Weight Watchers for Diabetes

Contact Kim Martin or Elizabeth Steffensmeier with questions or to sign up. Those who want to commit to joining can receive a discount by talking to Kim or Elizabeth by Nov. 22.

Mindfulness 101: Stress Reduction and Wellness

Location: Grant Wood AEA Northern Facility, 4401 6th Street S.W., Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Jan. 17, 24, 31; Feb. 7, 14, 21, 25, 28; March 7, 2017

Number: 4793-16-02

Chair Massage Schedule for November and December

Sixth St: Dec. 14-15, 2016. Please email Stacy Murphy for appointment times.


Coralville: Chair massages by Jennifer Sackett, Dec. 14, 1:00-4:15 p.m. 15 min. for $15.00 Cash, check, and credit cards (including Apple Pay/Android Pay) accepted. A link to a shared doc is available from Sue Heath to register for appointments.

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.

4th Annual Cropping 4 Kids

Quota International of Cedar Rapids


Friday, Jan. 20, 2017 from 5:30-9:30 p.m. and
Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017 from 7:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.


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


See the information and registration flyers for details and costs. For questions, contact Emily Lee, GWAEA Itinerant Teacher of the Deaf/Hard of Hearing.


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.

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



Strategies for Improving Reading
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.


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


March 1, 2017- 19450-16-01

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


See flyer for dates and registration information.





2016-2017 Grant Wood AEA Seminar Series


Thomas Murray serves as the Director of Innovation for Future Ready Schools at the Alliance for Excellent Education located in Washington, D.C.

Creating Schools and Classrooms

Future Ready Schools helps district leaders plan and implement personalized, research-based digital learning strategies so all students can achieve their full potential. Districts and schools across the nation are transforming into ones that are Future Ready, revamping such aspects as teacher empowerment, personalized professional learning, innovative learning spaces, community partnerships, digital learning initiatives, among others. This hands-on session will inspire educators and provide free tools and resources to empower school staff to transform their schools and classrooms into ones that better prepare students for the world they face tomorrow.

Dec. 7, 2016, 1:00-3:30 p.m.


Benton Community Middle/High School

600 First Street, Van Horne, Iowa 52346


Course Number: 19448-16-01
Target Audience: K-12 Administrators, Teachers, Teacher Librarians, Consultants

Registration deadline: Nov. 23, 2016 at 6:00 a.m.



• 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 Instructional Coaching

Instructors: Jim Knight and Ann Hoffman



See flyer for dates, times, and locations


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


• Focus on Teaching, Using Video to Gather Data

March 3, 2017

Number: 19355-16-01

Math Interventions and Assessments for Students

Instructor: Karen Karp, Ph.D.


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


With the focus on multi-tiered systems of support, classroom teachers are seeking successful ways to assess and build instructional interventions for students who struggle in learning mathematics - particularly students with disabilities.


This session includes researched-informed, hands-on interventions and assessments in
number and operations for elementary students.

See flyer for details

Grades K-2

1/25/2017 8:30 AM-3:30 PM
Number: 19417-16-01

Registration Deadline: 01/09/2017 06:00 AM 


  • Educators in Grant Wood AEA area, Total for non-credit $ 65

  • Outside of Grant Wood AEA area,Total for non-credit $ 90

  • Registration is not complete until all fees are paid in full.


Grades 3-5

01/26/2017 8:30 AM-3:30 PM
Number: 19418-16-01

Registration Deadline: 01/09/2017 06:00 AM 


  • Educators in Grant Wood AEA area, Total for non-credit $ 65

  • Outside of Grant Wood AEA area,Total for non-credit $ 90

  • Registration is not complete until all fees are paid in full.

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.

























December 2016

January 2016

Ealuator Appoval 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.


GW 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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