Grant Wood AEA logo  
The Bulletin Board

In This issue:

Network Upgrade Planned on Saturday, March 4
The Big Picture: GWAEA Updates Middle School VAST Curriculum and Kits
Welcome, New GWAEA Staff
Banquet Nominations due
March 4
GWAEA Staff Recognition and Partnerships Banquet, May 3
Did you know? March is Brain Injury Awareness Month
20 Days 'Til Spring Wellness Challenge
Our Condolences
Organizational Leadership Program Applications Due March 31
IPERS Retirement Planning Sessions
Project Blue Light Comes to Cedar Rapids, March 4
New Resources in the GWAEA Media Center
GWAEA GROW News/Upcoming Events
- Video - Lunch and Learn, Feb. 23
- Weight Watchers at Work
- Chair Massage Schedule for March
- Calling All Book Club Participants
GWAEA Professional Development Opportunities
Buy, Sell or Trade


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 logo

Grant Wood AEA Mission: To ensure success for all learners.

Grant Wood AEA goals

Network Upgrade Planned on Saturday, March 4, 2017

Grant Wood AEA logo

An agency network upgrade is planned on Saturday, March 4, 8-9 a.m. The upgrade is expected to last no longer than 1 hour. For questions, contact Brandon Watson,
GWAEA network administrator.

The Big Picture: GWAEA Updates Middle School VAST Curriculum and Kits


GWAEA The Big Picture graphic

Grant Wood AEA is making a significant investment in updating the VAST curriculum materials to align with Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).


Our current materials are serving us well, often are heralded in focus groups with staff and administrators, and we have been updating the materials in our elementary kits over the past several years. The agency now will be making a similar investment in the kits for the middle school level, materials that have not had a significant upgrade since the initial implementation years ago. 


The agency will transition to the FOSS framework at the 6th, 7th and 8th grade levels, just as we have at the elementary level. This investment will help our districts align with new State of Iowa requirements that require districts to begin transitioning to the NGSS in 2018-19, and have all of the 6th, 7th and 8th grade levels align to the NGSS by 2020-21. The FOSS framework incorporates formative assessment, includes explicit connections to literacy and math practices, and provides a greater emphasis on STEM practices.


In addition to updating the curriculum materials, we also will change how kits are distributed. In the past there would be semester-long rentals of kits. With the middle school upgrade, each teacher will receive three kits annually, one topic in each scientific strand (Life-Earth-Physical). 


Our GWAEA science consultants and VAST team members will begin receiving materials this summer and we'll begin distributing the new kits on a phased implementation schedule this fall, starting with the new 6th grade units. 

Welcome, New GWAEA Staff

Mary Funke


Mary Funke
Early Childhood PBIS Consultant

M.S.W., University of Iowa
Mary's background includes positions as a behavioral health therapist for 10 years at Regional Family Health, and nine years as a school social worker/learning supports consultant with Keystone AEA.


Teri Hamilton Garrett


Teri Hamilton Garrett
Occupational Therapist

B.A., Colorado State University

Teri returns to Grant Wood AEA (1990-1995) after positions with Capistrano Unified School District, Orange County, California, 2014-2015, and Ardor Health Solutions as a traveling OT with Oakland Unified SD, and San Jose Unified SD, 2013-2014.

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.

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!

Did you know?

The Grant Wood AEA Brain Injury Resource Team (BIRT) collaborates with AEA teams, LEA teams and families in order to provide consultation and resources for children who have sustained a recent

Mark is Brain Injury Awareness Month

brain injury (such as an accident or concussion) or trauma to the brain in the past (seizure disorder, syndromes, etc).


For more information or to make a referral, contact Amy Cameron, 319-399-6801, or

20 Days 'Til Spring Wellness Challenge

As we enter the last stretch of winter, the GWAEA GROW Committee encourages participation in the
20 Days 'Til Spring Wellness Challenge.


To participate, all you have to do is complete one wellness activity for the 15 days (Mon-Fri) from 2/27 through 3/17. The activity choices are based on four of the categories of the Blue Zones® healthy lifestyle habits: (A) Move Naturally, (B) Right Outlook, (C) Eat Wisely, (D) Belong. 

GWAEA 20 Days 'Til Spring Wellness Challenge

You will record your wellness activity on a Wellness Tracker. Copies are available at the front desk in each building. You may also print a copy of the Wellness Tracker using the attached pdf copy.


The completed Wellness Challenge tracker should be turned in to Kim Martin, GWAEA Administration. Send the original form or scan and email it to  All entries must be received by 4:30 p.m. on Monday, March 20, 2017 to be eligible for the drawing. The winners will be announced in The Bulletin Board on Thursday, March 23.


If you have questions, please contact Kim, 319-399-6710.

Our Condolences...

We were saddened to learn of the passing of former GWAEA employee Michelle Pettitt on Feb. 27, 2017. Michelle, the daughter of Geri (former GWAEA PEP Parent Partner) and
Jim Pettitt, was a clerk for Grant Wood AEA for 20 years, providing support for agency departments (Communications, NE Region, and other areas) at Sixth St., September 1993 - June 2009, and with the VAST Center, July 2009 - May 2013.

Services will be held at Teahen Funeral Home, 3100 F Ave. N.W., in Cedar Rapids.
A visitation is planned on Friday, March 3, from 3:00 - 8:00 p.m. with a prayer service at
7:00 p.m. A Celebration of Life service is planned on Saturday, March 4, at 10:00 a.m.

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.  

Grant Wood AEA logo

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  


  • to Becca and Adam Brummett on the birth of their daughter,
    Gracia Elois, on Feb. 23. Gracia weighed 7 lbs. 7 oz. and 20 inches long. Becca is a GWAEA speech-language pathologist.


IPERS Retirement Planning Sessions

Iowa Public Employees' Retirement System logo

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 (Full)

Aug. 21-24, 2017


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

Individual Appointments - May 8, 9, 10, 11, 2017 (Full)

Individual Appointments - Aug. 21, 22, 23, 24, 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.

Project Blue Light Iowa Comes to Cedar Rapids

Saturday, March 4, 10:00 a.m. - 2 p.m.

Cassill Motors/Theisen's Parking Lot

16th Avenue & Williams Blvd. SW

Cedar Rapids


Blue light bulbs will be given away to be placed in porch lights in honor and support of our women and men in law enforcement.

Project Blue Light Iowa

Drive up and you will be given a free blue light bulb, courtesy of Project Blue Light Iowa.


This is a service project of the sixth grade class from Central Lutheran School, Newhall.

New Resources in the GWAEA Media Center

Grant Wood AEA Media Center

New professional resources and new classroom resources have been added to the GWAEA Media Center. Contact Deanna Weber, GWAEA media specialist, for information.

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

Blue Zones Project logo

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.

Lunch and Learn - Financial Wellness Video

Date: Feb. 23, 2017

Brian Globokar and Mark Ahlers from Hills Bank shared a session focused on financial wellness. Click to access the video.

Lunch and Learn Financial Wellness

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.

Chair Massage Schedule for March

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

Calling All Book Club participants!

Deanna Weber would like your input on the next selection for Book Club. Please email Deanna at with your suggestions.


gwaea book club

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.



Links to GWAEA Professional Development Courses by Month
























Next Gen Iowa Core Science Standards

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

2016-2017 GWAEA Assistive Technology

2016-2017 GWAEA Assistive Technology

LCI Learning Sessions

LCI Learning Sessions

March 2017

Literacy Leaders Workshop

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

Differentiated Accountability

Differentiated Accountability
March 21, 2017

Developing and Assessing Basic Fact Fluency

Developing and Assessing Basic Fact Fluency

March 24, 2017

Substitute Authorization

Substitute Authorization

March 24, 25, 26, 2017

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

Trauma Informed Care

March 27, 2017

GWAEA Autism Team

GWAEA Autism Team 2016-2017

Every Learner, Every Day

Every Learner, Every Day

March 30, 2017



April 2017

Standards-Based Grading

Standards-Based Grading Conference

April 6, 2017

English Learner Leadership Institute

English Learner Leadership Institute

April 12, 2017

Building Bridges

Building Bridge Assistive Technology Conference

April 25, 2017

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

Full/Waiting List Only


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

May 3, 2017


Visit the new TQ Google site.


Teacher Quality Professional Development graphic

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.


Buy, Sell or Trade

For Sale: Drone Phantom 3 Standard, $400. Brand new never been used.

Tall "Pool table chairs" set of three, $300. Like new and in great condition

Reese Trailer hitch (2 inch ball) and Bike rack (fit for 4 bikes) $50. Contact Stacy Craft.


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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