Grant Wood AEA logo  
The Bulletin Board

Mark Your Calendar

April 14, 2017

Early Release -
Agency closes at 3 p.m.


May 3, 2017

GWAEA Staff Recognition and Partnerships Banquet

Bella Sala, 205 S. Park Rd., Tiffin


Aug. 16, 2017

GWAEA All-Agency Inservice
9:00-11:30 a.m.

Solon performing arts center


Aug. 17-18, 2017

PD Palooza


In This issue:

Remote Work Site Program (2017-2018)
Holiday Early Release Date
Welcome, New GWAEA Staff
BrightBytes Clarity Survey
Improve Your Student Loan Situation
GWAEA Staff Recognition and Partnerships Banquet, May 3
Brain Injury Resource Team Recognized by East Central Iowa Chapter of the Brain Injury Alliance of Iowa
Autism Awareness Month Resources in the
GWAEA Media Center
The Work Center Closed on April 25 for Building Bridges Conference
IPERS Retirement Planning Sessions
GWAEA GROW News/Upcoming Events
- Weight Watchers at Work
- Chair Massage Schedule
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 logo

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

Grant Wood AEA goals

GWAEA PRIDE: Proudly Recognizing Innovation, Dedication & Excellence

International Delegation Visits the VAST Center

The VAST Center welcomed an international delegation with the Council for International Visitors to Iowa Cities (CIVIC) on April 3. CIVIC is a community-based non-profit organization that hosts international visitors. The majority of the visitors are participants in the International Visitor Leadership Program sponsored by the Department of State’s Education and Cultural Bureau. Delegation members are current and emerging leaders in their fields and come from both public and private sectors.


During their visit to the VAST Center, the delegation received information and a tour from Christopher Soldat, Mary Zobeck and Sara Cosgrove, and a technology overview from Mindy Cairney.


The following is an interview conducted with Mr. Uri Avraham from Israel, who is a Country Manager with Matific. Mr. Avraham shared his insights following a tour of the VAST Center:



Remote Work Site Program (2017-18)

  Grant Wood AEA logo

This program is available for eligible Contracted and Salaried staff who are based in any of the Agency Centers (6th St, 33rd Ave and Coralville).
Details about this program, including a program overview and employee application form, are attached for your information and reference. Please note:

1) Eligibility for the program will be determined on an individual basis at the supervisor’s discretion.  Employees are to submit an annual application to participate in the program and supervisors will determine if such an arrangement is appropriate for an employee using criteria that are outlined in the overview.
2) Dedicated work space in an Agency Center will not be provided for employees who participate in the RWS program, however participating employees will have access to Agency facilities including temporary work space.
3) The program is not available for hourly employees (due to the legal requirements for monitoring the work time of hourly staff).
4) Employees must apply for program participation each year.  Completed application forms are to be submitted to the supervisor by May 1 for the upcoming work year.  
5) Clear guidelines and requirements related to employee schedules, work hours, Agency resources, safety, security and liability are provided in the overview document.
If there are questions or more information is needed regarding this program, employees may contact their supervisor or the Human Resources Office. This program is available to help ensure effective and efficient Agency services and a productive work environment for Agency staff. This program will be reviewed on an ongoing basis and changes may be made as needed. Employees are invited to provide feedback about what’s working well with the program and/or suggestions for improvement. Feedback may be submitted to the Human Resources Office.

Holiday Early Release Date

The Agency will close at 3 p.m. on Friday, April 14, 2017.

Welcome, New GWAEA Staff

Ann Marie Dworzynski


Ann Marie Dworzynski,
B.S., Occupational Therapist

Mount Mary, Milwaukee, WI



Traci Pepin


Traci Pepin
Occupational Therapist

M.A., St. Catherine University

Traci's background includes positions as a pediatric OT, Convenent Medical Center; pediatric OT and skilled nursing, Northern Iowa Therapy. Traci has worked with children and families for over 15 years.


BrightBytes Clarity Survey

Survey to be completed by May 1, 2017


Dear Colleagues,

As you know we have been focusing on communication/collaboration skills and working toward “staff being proficient in using online methods to communicate and collaboratively create solutions with team members and people


outside of GWAEA.” This aligns with our Agency's goal to increase student acquisition and application of 21st century skills and knowledge.


In order to track our growth with this work, we need to revisit our own strengths and areas for growth related to technology.  We are using the BrightBytes Clarity Survey for 21st Century Service Agencies to track these data. If you could complete this survey by Monday, May 1, we would appreciate it.


We are asking ALL staff to complete this survey again. As a reference here are some of the terms that may help clarify what we use for tools.  There are items here that we haven't addressed this year, but will be revisiting in the future phases of support.

You can access the questionnaire from any device with internet access. It will take about 10 minutes to complete. We would like the survey to be completed by May 1, 2017, so we can use the results to plan supports for the upcoming year. Thank you for taking part in this important initiative!

Follow this link to participate:

Please contact Stacy Behmer, if you have any questions.

Improve Your Student Loan Situation

Innovative Student Loan Solutions

To help improve your student loan situation and overall financial well-being, our local education agency, Grant Wood AEA, is partnering with an advisory company, ISLoan Solutions, to educate you and provide options, including loan forgiveness and refinancing, that may help lower, or even eliminate, your payment. All employees with student loans are encouraged to find out if this voluntary benefit can help you. Join your colleagues who have reduced monthly payments by 81% (avg), and expect $66,471 in projected tax-free loan forgiveness.

Click this link: enter registration code: AEA10

If PSLF makes sense, you will be able to:
• Immediately lower your monthly student loan payment

• Reduce your student loan obligation
• Significantly lower your cost to earn additional degrees

• Receive a personalized 10-year loan forgiveness plan outlining your projected tax-free savings

Some may be able to lower your payment through the program, Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF is not Teacher Loan Forgiveness*). For those who won’t benefit from PSLF, refinancing may work for you.


The Gift of Financial Well-being

"Don’t hesitate to learn about the program. ISLoan Solutions tells you everything you need to know and will not pressure you.  I have complete peace of mind now when it comes to my student loans and can pay off other debts, travel, purchase my own home and save additional money for retirement. Not having that financial burden in my life anymore has been a gift.”

Sarah Tomer, School Psychologist, Ohio

Contact us: 1.866.831.5564, email or visit for more information and success stories.


For those who registered with ISLoan Solutions in the past and were told you would not benefit from PSLF, login to your MyISLS portal, and you will be directed to the refinancing option.

GWAEA Staff Recognition and Partnerships Banquet, May 3, 2017



All employees with 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, or 35 years of employment with
GWAEA, retirees, and persons nominated and selected by agency staff will be honored.


Congratulations to the following award recipients:

Melissa Bray, Preschool Teacher, Linn Grove Elementary - Educational Partner 

Rockwell-Collins Retired Volunteers - Friend of Education 

Duane Van Horn, Van Driver - Caring Colleague

Mick Starcevich, President, Kirkwood - Leadership for Learning 


Date: May 3, 2017

Location: Bella Sala,
205 S. Park Rd., Tiffin

Cost: GWAEA Board Members and Employees: $13

Spouses, Friends and Retired Staff: $25 per person

Reservations Due: Monday, April 24, 2017

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


Please contact Cathy Nelson, ext. 6544, to request tickets and arrange for payment.


Checks may be made payable to Grant Wood AEA.​ Click to access the banquet invitation.


  • basil chicken breast and pork loin (grilled on site) 

  • tossed salad

  • bread

  • fresh vegetable medley 

  • garlic whipped potatoes

  • cheesecake dessert

  • Gluten-free vegetarian pasta also is available and should be requested as an alternative when purchasing tickets

Grant Wood AEA Brain Injury Resource Team Recognized by East Central Iowa Chapter of the Brain Injury Alliance of Iowa

The Grant Wood AEA Brain Injury Resource Team was recognized by the East Central Iowa Chapter of the Brain Injury Alliance of Iowa at their annual Recognition and Awards Celebration held on Tuesday, March 21, 2017. The team was recognized for the support given to individuals with brain injury and their families.


Team members Nancy Almasi and Amy Cameron (back row) were in attendance to accept the honor on behalf of the entire team. See the article in the March 23 issue of
The Bulletin Board.

Grant Wood AEA Online
Shirt Order




Staff have the opportunity to purchase agency branded shirts. Staff can pick from men’s or women’s sizes in two different shirt types, and can select size, color before placing an online order.


Shirt Selection

We suggest staff start their shopping experience by looking at the shirt colors that are available
by viewing the “Logo Examples”
category. Staff will use this page to ensure they are selecting their preferred color on the ordering page.


Sample shirts are available at the 6th Street front desk through Cathy Nelson for staff who would like to check the fit of sizes before ordering. (Sorry, there are no 2x, 3x or tall samples.)


Please note your color choice in ‘logo examples’ to ensure you’re selecting your preferred color when you get to this ordering screen.


Ordering Details

Staff can place an order directly with the shirt vendor through the online portal or print the ordering screen and return a check payable to IMS Branded Solutions to Cathy Nelson at the 6th street office.

Staff will have the option of picking up their shirt from any GWAEA office location through the ordering process.


Orders will be accepted through April 23, 2017.


To order using the online portal, visit

Autism Awareness Month Resources in the
GWAEA Media Center

Grant Wood AEA Media Center

Looking for resources to support Autism Awareness Month? Check out the Media Center Landing Page Book Carousel, which is displaying popular titles on the subject of Autism for the month of April.

The Work Center Closed on April 25 for
Building Bridges Conference

The Building Bridges Assistive Technology Conference will be using The Work Center on
April 25. The Work Center will be closed on this day.

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.


Aug. 21-24, 2017


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

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.


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 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 April, May

Cedar Rapids: May 3, 4. Contact Stacy Murphy to schedule.

Coralville: April 19, May 17, 1:00-4:15 p.m. Contact Sue Heath for the shared registration link.

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























April 2017

Building Bridges

Building Bridge Assistive Technology Conference

April 25, 2017

Full/Waiting List Only



May 2017

Substitute Authorization

Substitute Authorization

May 1, 3, 5, 6, 2017

Literacy Leaders Workshop

Literacy Leaders Workshop
May 9, 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.


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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