Grant Wood AEA logo  
Bulletin Board

In This issue:

The 'Author of the AEAs' passes away
The "Big Picture" at GWAEA
National Presenter and GWAEA Teams Share Learning
Building School 2.0: How to Create the Schools We Need with Zac Chase, March 1
Organizational Leadership Program Applications Due March 31
Retirement Investors’ Club 403b Plan – Annual Eligibility Notice
IPERS Retirement Planning Sessions
GWAEA Staff Recognition and Partnerships Banquet, May 3
Banquet Nominations due March 4
IRS Form 1095 Distribution
Reminder for Contracted Staff:
Professional Leave Reimbursements
Our Condolences
Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA)
AEA PD Online's 28 Days of OLLIE
GWAEA GROW News/Upcoming Events
- Drawing Results
- Weight Watchers at Work
-Lunch and Learn, Feb. 23
- Chair Massage Schedule for February/March
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 'Author of the AEAs' passes away

Our condolences to the family of
Dr. E. Robert Stephens, who died on
Feb. 8, 2017.

Dr. Stephens wrote the original legislative language to create the AEAs in Iowa. He served nationally on the Association of Educational Service Agencies (AESA) Board. One of AESA's national awards is named for Bob. He was a champion for education, especially for educational service agencies, and relentless in his pursuit to serve students and staff. 


The AEA chief administrators presented Bob Stephens with an award as being a “Friend of the AEAs.” 

Bob always deflected attention and praise, and in that light, requested that no services or memorial services be held. His obituary is available online at Lensing Funeral Home of Iowa City.

The “Big Picture” at
Grant Wood AEA


What to expect when a school district requests CISM Team support in a building you serve.

GWAEA The Big Picture graphic

When members of the media report "a team of trained counselors is available to help staff and students" after a crisis or traumatic event impacts one of our partnering school districts, it's possible that members of the Grant Wood AEA's Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) team are in the hallways and rooms, providing comfort and support to our educational partners and their students.


The CISM team has been part of Grant Wood AEA since 2002. The team works in collaboration with district administrators and district crisis teams to strategically plan the response according to the unique needs of the situation. 27 AEA staff members are formally trained and members of the the CISM team, however, other AEA staff members can play an important role in supporting CISM team efforts. The CISM team wants the entire organization to be aware of this resource and how to support the work taking place.


How CISM Responds
When a crisis event occurs in a district, the district may call the GWAEA switchboard or a regional administrator directly to request CISM team support. The CISM team can provide a continuum of support when responding to an event, which is determined by the district's' specific needs. On-scene support in a school may include crisis intervention planning, individual and group interventions, and assistance in accessing other supports in the community, such as mental health services.


"Our CISM interventions are designed to reduce stress, provide access to a more intensive or higher level of care, and to help the district staff and students return to a more normal routine after a traumatic event," said CISM Lead, Katy Lee.


How You Can Help
AEA staff who are not formally responding to a CISM response are key support players in the response process. "Our CISM team members are often facing a full work calendar when they are called to respond, and the ability to free themselves from their typical work commitments are a critical piece of our response plan," said CISM administrative link Tracy Liebermann.

Regional Administrators and non-CISM GWAEA staff can support the crisis response by:
·  Covering IEP or other meetings,
·  Rescheduling appointments with each other,
·  Assisting with evaluation activities.


Additionally, if the CISM response is in a building where staff are typically assigned, the CISM team will look to their AEA peers to assist with making connections with staff in the building, and help assist with identifying at-risk students.


Learn More
This spring representatives from the CISM team will be attending region meetings to provide an overview of the team's new Regional CISM Team Model and further explain how agency staff can support the CISM team's work. This new team model will help ensure that the AEA has adequate response capabilities in every region.

If you have additional questions about the CISM team and how you can help during times of crisis, please contact Katy Lee, CISM Team Coordinator at Ext 6436.



National Presenter and GWAEA Teams Share Learning

Dr. Laura Justice (left), from The Ohio State University, joined the Emergent Literacy and Early Education teams on Feb. 13 for a discussion on taking research to practice. Dr. Justice is the author of the curriculum supplement, "Read It Again."

Building School 2.0:
How to Create the Schools We Need

As we thrive to provide learning that is equitable and personal for all learners, there is a growing desire to re-examine education and learning. Educators use the phrase “school 2.0” to think about what schools will look like in the future. Moving beyond a basic examination of using technology for classroom instruction, Building School 2.0: How to Create the Schools We Need is a larger discussion of how teachers and school leaders can change student education, learning and our physical school spaces to reflect the changing nature of our lives brought on by new technologies.

March 1, 2017
, 1:00-3:30 p.m.


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


Number: 19450-16-01


Target Audience: K-12 Administrators, General Education and Special Education Teachers, Teacher Librarians, Consultants


Grant Wod AEA Seminar Series. Zac Chase, Building School 2.0: How to Create the Schools We Need

See flyer for details.


Zac Chase is a thought-leader on combining pedagogy and technology for teaching and has led schools and systems in Canada, Kenya, Malaysia, South Africa, and Pakistan to consider the intersection of learning, inquiry, reflective pedagogy, technology, and project-based learning.

Registration deadline extended: 6:00 a.m. on Feb. 27, 2017



• 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.



Organizational Leadership Program Applications Due March 31

Applications are now being accepted for Grant Wood AEA staff who have completed a minimum of two years service at Grant Wood AEA and are interested in applying for the 2017-2018 Organizational Leadership program.  


The Organizational Leadership program exists to cultivate participants for roles and positions of leadership.  This two year program exists to:

  • Develop an understanding of personal leadership styles and skills

  • Develop knowledge and understanding of organizational level issues, contexts and dilemmas

  • Build a foundation of systems theory and change management methodology

  • Participate in networking opportunities to debrief and observe leaders as they tackle real problems and issues

Grant Wood AEA employees desiring to apply for this program must send the application and other required documents, to Lisa Wilson by Friday, March 31, 2017. Applications and overview for the Organizational Leadership Program can be found here.

Formal interviews will be scheduled in April with selections to be made by May 8, 2017.

If you have any questions or need further information, please contact Lisa Wilson at  

Retirement Investors’ Club 403b Plan – Annual Eligibility Notice

Did you know that Grant Wood AEA offers a supplemental retirement savings plan?

Grant Wood AEA employees have the opportunity to save for retirement by participating in a voluntary 403b plan offered through the Iowa Retirement Investors’ Club (RIC).  You may participate by making pre-tax contributions and Roth post-tax contributions, to one of the RIC core investment providers.

See flyer for details

What do I have to do to start a 403b retirement account?

To start your contributions, you must first open an account with one of the four approved core investment providers and submit a completed RIC Salary Reduction Form to the Grant Wood AEA payroll office.  Provider contact information is on the RIC website at  The provider can send you enrollment information, or if you prefer, a provider representative will schedule an appointment to help you with the enrollment process.     


What if I’m already contributing?

Take full advantage of the benefit!  Consider increasing the amount you are saving for retirement (up to the maximum limits listed below).  If you wish to change the amount you are contributing, simply complete and submit an RIC Salary Reduction Form to the Grant Wood AEA payroll office. 


How much may I contribute?

In general, you may contribute up to $18,000 in calendar year 2017.  This amount may be adjusted annually if declared by the IRS.  If you are age 50 or older, you may contribute an additional $6,000.  Also, you may be able to make further catch-up contributions (up to an additional $3,000) if you have at least 15 years of service with your current employer, Grant Wood AEA, and have not exhausted your eligibility.   


How can I receive more information about the plan?

Information is available at or by calling an RIC provider (contact information available at or by visiting  You may also contact RIC toll-free at 1-866-460-4692 option #1 or Planwithease at 1-855-464-6928 for more information about this employee benefit. 

IPERS Retirement Planning Sessions

Get detailed information about your retirement account. Learn more about possible retirement dates, benefit option payouts, and service purchase options.


May 1–4, 2017


Location: Kirkwood Regional Center at U of I, 2301 Oakdale Boulevard, Lower Level, Coralville

Individual Appointments - May 1, 2, 3, 4, 2017


May 8–11, 2017


Location: Kirkwood Linn County Regional Center, 1770 Boyson Rd., Hiawatha   

Individual Appointments - May 8, 9, 10, 11, 2017


Pre-Registration is needed to attend an individual appointment.


Visit the IPERS website for a complete listing of the Statewide Individual Counseling Sessions.


To schedule an individual appointment contact IPERS at 1-800-622-3849. Appointment times will fill quickly. Please do not delay in calling to set up an appointment.


  • to Blake and Emily Tiedtke on the birth of their son,
    Christian Blake, on Feb. 14. Christian weighed 7 lbs. 9 oz. and 19.5 inches long. Emily is a GWAEA physical therapist.


Grant Wood AEA Staff Recognition and Partnerships Banquet, Wednesday,
May 3, 2017

The 2017 Grant Wood AEA Staff Recognition and Partnerships Banquet is planned Wednesday, May 3, at Bella Sala near Tiffin.

Bella Sala, 205 S. Park Rd., Tiffin

Social Hour: 5:30 p.m. - Dinner: 6:00 p.m.

More information on purchasing tickets for this year's event will be available soon. Until then, please save the date!

Nominations due March 4 for the Grant Wood AEA Staff Recognition and Partnerships Banquet

Saying “thank you” to your co-workers, community volunteers and/or the people with whom you work can be wonderfully uplifting to these special people. It can also be satisfying and meaningful to you, personally.  Please consider nominating one or more persons you have worked with or observed as “going the extra mile." The categories you may nominate individuals for are:

  • Friend of Education (usually business and community partners)

  • Educational Partner (usually school personnel)

  • Caring Colleague (GWAEA staff only)

Only Grant Wood AEA staff may nominate people for these awards.  A random group of Grant Wood AEA staff members always comprises the awards selection committee. Click for a list of previous honorees.


Nominations for these awards can be submitted here. The nominations will be reviewed by a selected group of GWAEA staff members in March. Both the nominating individual and those who are selected to be recognized will be notified in April.


The 2017 Grant Wood AEA Staff Recognition and Partnerships Banquet is planned Wednesday, May 3, at Bella Sala near Tiffin.

IRS Form 1095 Distribution


Form 1095, Employer-Provided Health Insurance Offer and Coverage statements for calendar year 2016 were released to the Employee Self Service (ESS) system February 1, 2017 specifically for those who consented to receiving their 1095 form electronically. Paper 1095 forms were mailed February 3, 2017 for those who didn’t consent to electronic method of delivery.  Everyone will be able to view their 1095 form on the ESS system as of February 10, 2017.


Keep this form with the other tax materials you give your tax preparer. If you prepare your own taxes, you may need to refer to this information as you prepare your return.


Questions regarding your 1095 form should be directed to Cathy Kearns, Grant Wood AEA Business Services.

Reminder for Contracted Staff:
Professional Leave Reimbursements

 As a reminder, the timelines for submitting professional leave reimbursement forms are:

  • Equipment and materials – no later than March 1, or at least three months prior to leaving the Agency, whichever is first.

  • Other expenses (including conferences, license fees and professional dues) will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis – again the March 1 timeline is an indication for determining an expense is job-related.

These timelines, which apply to all contracted staff, help establish the job-related connection of the expense and improve the likelihood an eligible reimbursement request will be granted.


For additional details on Professional Leave Reimbursement, see the Grant Wood AEA Business Services and Human Resources manual found on the HR & Business Office page of the
Grant Wood AEA website.

Our Condolences...

  • to Pat Boeding and family on the passing of her sister, Mary Knutson, on Saturday, February 4, 2017. Pat is a GWAEA Itinerant Preschool Teacher.

Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA)

Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) is a national program sponsored by the IRS which offers free tax help to individuals and families whose household income is $54,000 or less and who need assistance in preparing their own tax returns. IRS-certified volunteers provide free income tax return preparation with electronic filing to qualified individuals.


In the Cedar Rapids metropolitan area, the United Way of East Central Iowa sponsors the VITA program. To schedule a tax appointment in the Cedar Rapids area, individuals should call 2-1-1 from a landline or 319-739-4211 from a cell phone.

Credit Options for AEA PD Online's
28 Days of OLLIE: Powering Up Personalized Learning Participants

The 28 Days of OLLIE: Powering Up Personalized Learning is underway. Visit their website 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.

Drawing Results

Congratulations to everyone who shared works of art with the GROW Committee.


A random drawing of winners of the Barnes & Noble gift cards includes:

Andrea Castek

Jodi Flynn

Robin Robbins

Weight Watchers At Work


Accepting Mid-Session Membership Applications

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.

Lunch and Learn

Date: Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017

Time:11:30 a.m. to 12:10 p.m.

Location: American Gothic Room

Join Brian Globokar and Mark Ahlers from Hills Bank for a session focused on financial wellness.
See the flyer for details.


Chair Massage Schedule for February/March

Cedar Rapids: March 8-9. Contact Stacy Murphy to schedule.
Coralville: Feb. 22, 1:00-4:15 p.m. A link to a shared doc is available from Sue Heath to register.

GWAEA Professional Development Workshops

Grant Wood AEA Professional Development offers a variety of workshops as well as courses for credit throughout the year.  Please check our website for a complete and updated list of
courses and workshops.


Below is a highlight of the 2016-2017 PD workshops with national and regional presenters. 
Please register electronically  or complete a registration form. Payment is due at the time of registration.

























February 2017

Literacy Leaders Workshop

Differentiated Accountability
Feb. 28, March 21, 2017

Next Gen Iowa Core Science Standards

Next Gen Iowa Core Science Standards
See flyer for dates, locations

LCI Learning Sessions

LCI Learning Sessions

March 2017

Building School 2.0

Building School 2.0
How to Create the Schools We Need

March 1, 2017


Strategies for 
Improving Reading

Strategies for
Improving Reading

March 2, April 13, 2017

Instructional Coaching

Instructional Coaching

March 3, 2017

Literacy Leaders Workshop

Literacy Leaders Workshop
Mar. 7, April 11, May 9, 2017

Developing and Assessing Basic Fact Fluency

Developing and Assessing Basic Fact Fluency

March 24, 2017

Trauma Informed Care, Schools & Your Approach to Students/Yourself workshop

Trauma Informed Care

March 27, 2017

Every Learner, Every Day

Every Learner, Every Day

March 30, 2017

GWAEA Autism Team

GWAEA Autism Team 2016-2017

2016-2017 Behavior PD Courses

April 2017

Standards-Based Grading

Standards-Based Grading Conference

April 6, 2017

Expanding Expressive Language

Expanding Expressive Language Workshop

April 6, 2017


English Learner Leadership Institute

April 12, 2017

Your Child's Future the Possibilities are Endless

Your Child's Future, the Possibilities are Endless

April 13, 2017


Building Bridge Assistive Technology Conference

April 25, 2017

2016-2017 GWAEA Assistive Technology

2016-2017 GWAEA Assistive Technology

June 2017

Building Literacy in Social Studies for Grades 6-12

Building Literacy in Social Studies for Grades 6-12

Year 1 - June 8-9, 2017

Year 2 - June 13-14, 2017

Building Literacy in 
Social Studies

Building Literacy in
Social Studies

June 22-23, 2017

GWAEA Summer Literacy Symposium

GWAEA Summer Literacy Symposium

June 20-21, 2017

GWAEA Summer Leadership Symposium

GWAEA Summer Leadership Symposium

June 27, 2017



July 2017

GWAEA Math PD Courses

Grant Wood AEA
Math PD Courses



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. 

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 GWAEA Professional Development for questions.


GW logoAEA logo

Grant Wood Area Education Agency extends equal opportunities in its employment practices, educational programs and services, and does not discriminate on the basis of color, gender, race, national origin, religion, creed, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, disability, veteran status or as otherwise prohibited by law. If you believe you or your child has been discriminated against or treated unjustly, please contact the Agency’s Equity Coordinator, Maria Cashman, at 319-399-6847 or 800-332-8488 or TDD 319-399-6766, Grant Wood AEA, 4401 Sixth St SW, Cedar Rapids, IA 52404.

facebooktwitter rss pinterest