Grant Wood AEA logo
Bulletin Board

Mark Your Calendar:

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:


New Brings Mobile-Friendly Design, Improved Function to Agency Website
The Bulletin Board Publication Schedule
Take advantage of the Financial Fitness Academy™ before it ends 12/31/16
EAP Reminder
$1,500 Early Notification Incentive for Contracted, Management Staff Approved by GWAEA Board
iPad Refresh
Have Student Loan Debt or Going Back to School?
GWAEA Teams for Bowl for Kids' Sake
Holiday Horizons of Hope
Angel Tree Donations for Animal Shelters
GWAEA GROW News/Upcoming Events
  - Weight Watchers at Work
  - Mindfulness 101: Stress Reduction and Wellness
  - Grant Wood AEA Book Club Rescheduled to Jan. 5, 2017
  - 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.


GWAEA PRIDE: Proudly Recognizing Innovation, Dedication & Excellence

Grant Wood AEA
Staff Share National Presentations at AESA



Congratulations to the following GWAEA staff who completed national presentations during the 31st AESA Annual Conference held Nov. 30-Dec. 3, 2016 in Savannah, Georgia.


Kris Donnelly, Bart Mason, Josh Lyons
"Leveraging Distributive Leadership: Making a Difference in Learning and Achievement"


Stacy Behmer
"Using Statewide Data to Drive Cohesive Action"


Lisa Wilson

"A Blended Program for School Leaders Shifting to Blended Learning" and "ESA Talk - Changing the Narrative on Millenials"

Kim Owen, Joe Crozier
"A Consortium Approach to Eliminating the Opportunity Gap"


The Association of Educational Service Agencies (AESA) is a professional organization serving educational service agencies (ESAs) in 45 states; there are 553 agencies nationwide with hundreds of thousands of staff members.

Taylor Hill Receives 2016 Herb Braselman Award from NAMTC

Congratulations to Valerie Taylor Hill, GWAEA public information specialist, who is the 2016 recipient of the Herb Braselman Award from the National Association of Media and Technology Centers. The award was presented via Zoom during the 2016 NAMTC Leadership Summit, held Nov. 30-Dec. 1, 2016 in Savannah, Georgia.


The Herb Braselman Award is presented in recognition of exemplary service and leadership for regional media centers and for outstanding contributions to the field of educational media and technology. The late Herb Braselman served as the first NAMTC president, and was a mentor to many of the organization's members.

New Brings Mobile-Friendly Design, Improved Function to Agency Website



Staff are invited to visit the newly revised GWAEA website before the site's official launch the week of Dec. 19. 


Our goal with this new website is to provide our visitors an easier way to learn about our programs and services based on their own needs. It was created with a new content management system to help ensure its content is easily and readily accessible through google searches, and we've improved the navigation so the content is readable on mobile devices. We've also added blog modules to our site. Educators will find content from "The Linker" in a new blog format, and we've introduced a new vehicle to communicate directly with parents. (Watch for more information on "The Carpool Lane: Where Parents Pick Up Information and Resources from GWAEA" in the near future!)  


A few notes for staff during this preview period before the new goes live:  

  • The 'search' function of this site will not be operational until the site goes live.

  • The 'staff' area is where employees will link to ESS and other business applications. This area also will not be operational until the site goes live. We will provide information on how to use your Google account information to log into this section of the website.

  • Note that the program information from our "Yellow Pages" is now available in a directory of programs and services, but in most cases we have removed staff names from each of these program descriptions. With our new staff directory, it's now much easier to locate contact information for staff in our organization. Additionally, for members of the public, we hope to connect them to the right person by routing general inquiry calls to our switchboard and our support staff.

  • Our website's content has been reduced and streamlined compared to what existed on the former site. We will continue working with our staff to ensure the information that's most useful is available for educators, parents and our community partners. Renee Nelson and Valerie Taylor Hill will be connecting with departments to help collect feedback and continue the revision of our content.

Contact Renee Nelson in Communications to share your thoughts.

The Bulletin Board will publish on
Dec. 15 and resume publication on Jan.

Have an enjoyable winter break!


Take advantage of the Financial Fitness Academy™ before it ends 12/31/16

Staff will be entered in a drawing for one of four $25 gift certificates by participating in the Financial Fitness Academy and a) taking an initial checkup, b) successfully completing a post-test for at least 12 tutorials and c) completing the Final Checkup.


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.    40 initial checkups have been completed
2.    29 employees have selected one or more tutorials
3.    320 tutorials have been selected
4.    238 tutorials have been completed


To participate:

  1. Complete the Financial Fitness Checkup™ at to discover your Financial Fitness Score™.  (All GWAEA employees should have received an email from on 9/26/16.)

  2. This program is available at no cost to you!

  3. The Academy is confidential - personal information including individual names and scores for tutorials are not shared with others.

  4. Participants will be able to access 400+ online tutorials 24/7 from any Internet-connected device

  5. Complete a Final Checkup, which is to be activated in December.  Participants will be notified and invited to complete the Checkup when it's available.

This program is available through the end of the year - December 31, 2016.


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, Dec. 1, 2016

- 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

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.

iPad Refresh

We are ready to refresh the iPad Airs to iPad Air2s (32GB). This will be the year 1 of our three-year refresh cycle and will be refreshing approximately 120 devices. Employees who are eligible for this refresh will be getting an email from
Stacy Behmer
with details within the next week and you will need to sign up by 5:00 p.m. on December 16.


Plans will be made to repurpose many of the devices for staff check-out and use. If you have any suggestions for other ways in which they might be repurposed, please email Stacy Behmer,

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.

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.


Donations for the Vinton Friends of the Shelter and Last Hope Animal Rescue in Cedar Rapids are being accepted by the NE/NW/Central File mail boxes.


See the flyer for details or contact Stacy Murphy.

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.

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.

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 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 Rescheduled to Jan. 5, 2017

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

Jan. 5, 2017
at Noon
or  4 p.m.
Glass Room, Sixth St. Facility

Please choose from one of the following times to attend: Jan. 5, 2017 at noon or  4 p.m.
in the Glass Room. A ZOOM option is avaiable for those who cannot attend on site.
Contact Deanna Weber for 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.


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.




Dr. Anthony Muhammad is one of the most sought-after educational consultants in North America. A former teacher and principal, Dr. Muhammad is a best-selling author and thought leader in equitable learning environments.

All Means ALL! Creating Equitable Learning Environments

Dr. Muhammad is recognized as one of the field’s leading experts in the areas of school culture and organizational climate. The author of several books including The Will to Lead and the Skill to Teach: Transforming Schools at Every Level, Dr. Muhammad will challenge teachers and administrators alike to be transformational leaders in districts and classrooms and to broaden their understanding of how they can positively influence the culture in their district.

Jan. 4, 2017, 1:00-3:30 p.m.


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


Course Number: 19449-16-01
Target Audience: K-12 Administrators, General Education and Special Education Teachers, Teacher Librarians, Consultants

Registration deadline: Dec. 14, 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

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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