Grant Wood AEA logo  
The Bulletin Board

In This issue:

GWAEA, State of Iowa Reading Efforts Are Making Progress
Severe Weather Preparations: Tornado Drill Planned at Sixth St. on Monday, March 13 at 10:00 a.m.
Contracted Staff – Timelines for Salary Lane Changes 
GWAEA Staff Recognition and Partnerships Banquet, May 3
Did you know? March is Brain Injury Awareness Month
20 Days 'Til Spring Wellness Challenge
Organizational Leadership Program Applications Due March 31
IPERS Retirement Planning Sessions
YMCA Kick-Start Spring
GWAEA GROW News/Upcoming Events
- 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

GWAEA, State of Iowa Reading Efforts Are Making Progress

A report released today by the Iowa Department of Education highlights key findings since the 2012 adoption of an early literacy law by the Iowa Legislature.

de Grant Wood AEA logo

A critical component of this statewide effort is an early warning system for literacy. This system is designed to help educators identify and intervene with students in kindergarten through third grade (K-3) who are at risk for reading difficulties. The early warning system, which was fully implemented in Iowa schools in 2014, includes screening the reading skills of all K-3 students. This is done three times a year. Based on this information, teachers are able to provide targeted reading instruction to students who need it and monitor the progress of all students.

Grant Wood AEA's consultants have been working alongside teachers and building administrators to continuously hone and improve instruction in many areas of core instruction including literacy, and AEA staff have been supporting them as they launched this new early intervention screening process. This effort to support an early warning system has begun to pay off. Student results on the screening assessments statewide have improved statewide and also increased among the 32 districts and 7 counties supported by Grant Wood AEA.


State (Grade 3)

Fall 15


Winter 16


Spring 16


Fall 16


Winter 17



GWAEA (Grade 3)

Fall 15


Winter 16


Spring 16


Fall 16


Winter 17



The statistical improvement we're seeing doesn't just happen. Teachers and consultants are teaming up to analyze data from their large-group screening process to support the individual needs of each child. This might be mean more one-on-one or small group assistance, or it might be finding a new way to teach key literacy concepts that are critical for learning. Every week we're helping teachers look at the updated tests to monitor student progress and assess the next steps in helping that student.

"This literacy measure is a great metric to celebrate across the state," commented Joe Crozier, chief administrator for Grant Wood AEA. "It validates that our education system is using these assessments in a way that is touching children who needed additional assistance."

"These numbers are impressive, but what shines the brightest from this data is the hope in the eyes of the young readers in our schools," said Joe.

Severe Weather Preparations:
Tornado Drill Planned on Monday, March 13
at 10:00 a.m.
- Sixth St. Facility

On Monday, March 13, at 10:00 a.m., the Sixth St. facility will hold a tornado drill to prepare staff for possible spring severe weather situations.


An announcement will be broadcast.


During a drill or during an actual Tornado warning, please follow these steps:

  • Go immediately to the designated SAFE area closest to you. See the maps posted throughout the building and become familiar with the suggested route.

  • Do NOT go outside or try to call home.

  • Once you are in a SAFE area remain there until notified that the warning has been removed or has expired.

  • Secretaries should take their flashlights with them.

A Tornado Watch means conditions are favorable for a tornado to form.
A Tornado Warning means a tornado has been sighted in the area. We will alert staff in the building only when a Warning has been issued.


See the Sixth St. facility PDF for the 1st and 2nd floor maps.


Sixth St. - 1st Floor

Sixth St. - 2nd Floor

Contracted Staff – Timelines for Salary Lane Changes 

Grant Wood AEA logo

As a reminder, additional semester hours for advancement on the salary schedule are to be secured by September 1 and evidence of the additional hours is to be submitted to the Human Resources office on or before October 1. To be sure the coursework may be used for lane change purposes, staff are advised to submit lane change application forms before registering for classes. The form is available on the GWAEA website under the Staff. Business Services/Human Resources page, or with this link: Salary lane change application form.


Staff are also encouraged to contact the HR office (x6748) to verify the number of semester hours currently on file, or if you have questions or need additional information regarding these procedures. 

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!

Mark is Brain Injury Awareness Month

Did you know?

The REAP Project, a nationally recognized concussion management program, which stands for Reduce - Educate - Accommodate - Pace, is a community based model for concussion management that was developed in Colorado.

For more information on REAP, visit this link to the Iowa Concussion Consortium page of the Brain Injury Alliance of Iowa's website.


Reference: Brain Injury Alliance of Iowa website


A table with brain injury resources is available outside the GWAEA Media Center. Deanna Weber, GWAEA media specialist, has compiled a bibliography of available brain injury resources.

Please share with MS/HS Special Education Teachers, Parents

Your Child's Future...the Possibilities Are Endless

Grant Wood AEA Transition Night,
Thursday, April 13, 2017


Grant Wood AEA Transition Night provides information to parents and professionals about the transition process for middle and high school students who receive special education services.


The keynote speaker will be Denise Little, who is a successful adult with dyslexia that has spent her life trying to help students so they do not have to struggle through school the way she did. Denise is a Title 1 reading teacher for the College Community School District, director for the Slingerland Institute for Literacy and is currently president of the Iowa Branch of the International Dyslexia Association.


Join us for an evening featuring services in the areas of living, learning and working:


Leadership in Blended and Digital Learning workshop at Grant Wood AEA, March 21-23, 2017.

GWAEA Transition Night

Thursday, April 13, 2017

4:30-8:00 p.m.

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

4:30-5:30 p.m. Breakout Session - Student Panel Self-advocacy/determination
5:00-6:00 p.m. Local service provider booths
6:00-6:45 p.m. Keynote Speaker - Denise Little, Teacher, Dyslexia Specialist and Advocate
7:00-8:00 p.m. Breakout Session - When Students Transition to Adults - Financial aspects


Su Groff-VanArendonk, GWAEA Transition Consultant, Special Education Consultant, explained that attending Transition Night allowed her to connect a client in one of our schools with a service in the area. "If it wasn't for Transition Night, I wouldn't have known about the service, to make the connection, and the referral to the parent," Su said.


Registration is recommended but not required. On-site registration will be available.

Registration: 19052-16-01

Fees: None


For additional information, contact Su Groff-VanArendonk, 319-358-6278 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.

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  

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.

YMCA Kick-Start Spring

It's a new member savings event on Thursday, March 23, 8 a.m. -- 8:00 p.m.  It's a great way to save dollars on your monthly membership along with getting a 15% corporate discount for being part of GWAEA.  Your savings could be $5, $10, $15, $20 off your monthly membership dues that won't start until April 1, 2017 plus no join fee which regularly is $50 for an adult membership and $75 for a family.

All Y members are welcome to "Get Your Kicks" on March 23 with shoe fittings from We Run, a new local running store.  We Run will help you find fitness shoes that best fit your workout needs, and they will give you a $10 off coupon towards a purchase in their store. In addition, you'll be entered in a drawing for a $25 gift card to We Run.
For more information, contact Deanna Haddy.  or 319-350-4123.


YMCA Kick-Start Spring


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.

Weight Watchers At Work


Sign Up, Save Up

15% off the next session! Sign up or renew at the low price of $158.10 for 17 weeks when you join as a new member or renew as a continuing member between now and 3/24/2017 at 3:30 p.m. Next session begins May 9, 2017.


Sign-up information: Payment can be made with Elizabeth or Kim during business hours or you can attend a Tuesday meeting (4:45-5:15 p.m., registration starts at 4:30 p.m.) to pay the WW leader directly. Payment can be made via credit card, one check, or three checks of $52.70 that will be cashed on different weeks during the next session.

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/April

Coralville: March 22, 1:00-4:15 p.m. A link to a shared registration doc is available from Sue Heath.

Cedar Rapids: April 4, 6. Contact Stacy Murphy to schedule.

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























March 2017

Differentiated Accountability

Differentiated Accountability
March 21, 2017

Next Gen Iowa Core Science Standards

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

Developing and Assessing Basic Fact Fluency

Developing and Assessing Basic Fact Fluency

March 24, 2017

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

Every Learner, Every Day

Every Learner, Every Day

March 30, 2017



April 2017

Standards-Based Grading

Standards-Based Grading Conference

April 6, 2017

Literacy Leaders Workshop

Literacy Leaders Workshop
April 11, May 9, 2017

2016-2017 GWAEA Assistive Technology

2016-2017 GWAEA Assistive Technology

English Learner Leadership Institute

English Learner Leadership Institute

April 12, 2017

LCI Learning Sessions

LCI Learning Sessions

Building Bridges

Building Bridge Assistive Technology Conference

April 25, 2017

May 2017

Substitute Authorization

Substitute Authorization

May 1, 3, 5, 6, 2017


June 2017

Orthographic Mapping

Orthographic Mapping
June 2 & 5, 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: Bowflex Treadclimber TC200 (like new--$1,500 or best offer) and two adult bikes (used sparingly--$50 each or best offer).  If interested, please email and I will send pics, etc:  


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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