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The Bulletin Board

Mark Your Calendar

June 12-Aug. 11, 2017

GWAEA Summer Hours



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:

GWAEA’s College For Kids Celebrates 30 years of Summer Enrichment and Art Programs for Students

DE Information on FAST/TIER
A Note From Business Office/Human Resources

New VPN Client for Windows and Macintosh Computers
The Bulletin Board Summer Publication Schedule
GWAEA Summer Hours
The Gift of Communication:
Empowering Families on Their AAC Journey, June 5
Summer Van Delivery
Improve Your Student Loan Situation
MackinVIA eBook Curriculum Integration Class
IPERS Retirement Planning Sessions
Summer Time Fun at the YMCA
GWAEA GROW News/Upcoming Events
GWAEA Professional Development Opportunities


Agency Advisory Minutes

Grant Wood AEA Staff Openings

The GWAEA Board Book

The GWAEA Board Minutes



Past Issues of
The Bulletin Board


Articles for The Bulletin Board are due end of the day on Tuesdays.
Submit items 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’s College For Kids Celebrates 30 years of Summer Enrichment and Art Programs for Students

Sessions are planned June 12-23 and July 10-21, 2017


Grant Wood AEA’s College for Kids is celebrating 30 years of enhanced summer learning for eligible students in the gifted and talented programs who have completed 6th, 7th or 8th grade. GWAEA's College for Kids provides an advanced and focused learning experience with academic and fine arts courses. The summer sessions are held at Coe College in Cedar Rapids.


New courses include Exploring Climate Change, The Art of Negotiations, Java Script and Python Web Programming, Come Make an App With Me, and Hamilton. Popular returning courses include Dissection, Forensic Science, Archaeology of Iowa, Mock Trial, Kinesiology, Mythology, Calligraphy, Black & White Film Photography and many more.


Over 1,000 students will participate in the two sessions, which feature more than 70 courses taught by 58 instructors from surrounding districts. The first session is planned June 12 – 23, and the second session will be held July 10 – 21. Both sessions will end with Showcase of Learning days, scheduled June 23 and July 21, where parents can attend College for Kids to see student projects and performances.


For more information on GWAEA’s College for Kids, contact Susie Green, GWAEA student programs specialist, at, ext. 6775.

DE Information on FAST/TIER

Agency staff may have seen news headlines related to the Department of Education's use of FAST/TIER. We wanted to share this information from the DE to ensure our staff know the latest information on this decision. 

Iowa Department of Education

The information is from David Tilly, Iowa Department of Education, and was sent earlier to all superintendents, elementary principals, and nonpublic administrators.


Date: Fri, May 26, 2017 at 11:41 AM
Subject: Early Warning Data System Transition
Dear Colleagues,

You were notified last week of the Department's decision to terminate the contract with TIES, the developer of the Iowa TIER data system. For the 2017-18 school year the Department will be working with FASTBridge, and districts and schools, to transfer all district and nonpublic school users directly into the FASTBridge data system. As our state transitions to the FASTBridge data system over the summer, the Department will be communicating important information with districts and schools in order to keep you updated on our progress and to make you aware of tasks for which you will be responsible.

District and School Summer Communication Contacts
The Department will include all superintendents and principals that we have on file when communicating about the transition to FASTBridge over the summer. If there are additional people from your district or school that you would like to receive communication updates, please forward this email to them and they can click here to subscribe to future emails. Please make sure that you have at least one contact at your district/school who will be checking email regularly over the summer and and will be able to respond to requests from the Department during this transition.

Closing of the Iowa TIER Data System/Summer Interventions and Progress Monitoring
Our intent is that the Iowa TIER data system will not be available for screening, progress monitoring, or scheduling interventions after June 9, 2017, except for three extended school year elementary schools that will be finishing spring screening and literacy status certification activities through June 23rd. However, the system will remain open until June 30th for downloading information such as one-click reports, progress monitoring graphs, student profile page data, and summary reports.

Because of the closure of Iowa TIER, the Department will not be able to offer on-line assessment administration, scoring, and reports for summer school. Schools that will be having summer school are encouraged to track interventions and progress monitoring data locally, and to administer progress monitoring assessments with paper and pencil. If interested in paper/pencil administration, see the Progress Monitoring Using FAST: Paper and Pencil Administration document for a brief explanation and key points and the Progress Monitoring Using FAST: Paper and Pencil Materials folder for the necessary administration, scoring, and recording forms. We are exploring options for entering or uploading summer data into the FASTBridge data system sometime during the 2017-18 school year.

Historical Data Housed in Iowa TIER
The Department and the State's Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO) will be working with TIES to obtain all of the historical data that has been stored in Iowa TIER since the 2013-14 school year. We are unsure when the data will be available in a consumable format for districts and schools, but it is unlikely that historical data for students will be accessible right away in the fall. Before June 30th, we encourage (but do not require) schools to export information from Iowa TIER that may be useful for the beginning of next school year - this may include one-click reports, progress monitoring graphs, student profile page data, and summary reports. Please see the Iowa TIER Export Instructions for information on the most efficient way to export data.

Preschool Screening
The FASTBridge data system will not include on-line administration of the IGDIs assessments for preschool students. The Department encourages preschool classrooms that use IGDIs to administer it with paper and pencil during the 2017-18 school year, and track student data locally. We are exploring possibilities for accommodating data collection of the IGDIs data and will keep you informed with any updates we have.

Screening with Approved Measures Other than FAST
Districts and schools will still have the option to use other approved measures besides the FAST assessments. The Department is exploring how we will have these schools report required data. Again, we will keep you informed as we have updates available.

Thanks for your support during this transition. We know it will be a summer and fall of new learning but believe we are all headed in the right direction for learners in Iowa. We remain committed to our efforts in early literacy as a state, and partnering with you as we continue on that journey together. Throughout this transition, the Department will continue to be the first line of communication and support for districts. As you have questions related to the transition, please use the contacts below. We ask that you do not use the Iowa TIER knowledge base or ticket system for questions or comments related to this transition.


Administrative issues:  Dave Tilly
Differentiated Accountability issues:  Amy Williamson
Technical issues:  Janell Brandhorst
Media requests: Staci Hupp

A Note From Business Office/Human Resources

In an effort to wrap up Grant Wood AEA’s fiscal year end in a timely manner the Business Office/Human Resources staff is asking for your help. Please note the following deadlines.


June 9, 2017 

Final deadline to submit all remaining fiscal year (July 2016 – June 2017) invoicing requests.

June 30, 2017

Final deadline to submit all leave forms for the current work year (July 2016 – June 2017).

June 30, 2017

Final deadline to submit claims for mileage and travel

reimbursement for the fiscal year (July 2016 – June 2017).


Thank you from the Business Office/Human Resources staff.

New VPN Client for Windows and Macintosh Computers

The current VPN will be shut down July 1

Grant Wood AEA logo

The agency is in the process of moving to a new VPN client for Windows and Macintosh computers. VPN is used primarily for the following reasons when staff is offsite from one of the three Grant Wood AEA offices:

  • Avamar computer backups and restores

  • Shoretel Soft-phone software

  • Shared server drive access (Not Google Drive)

The current VPN will be shut down July 1, 2017.  If you utilize any of the above when you are offsite or any other services that require connecting to the VPN, please stop into the technology department to have the new software installed on your computer before July 1.


For questions, contact Brandon Watson, GWAEA network administrator.

The Bulletin Board... entering a bi-weekly summer publication schedule. Watch for email issues on the following dates: June 15, June 29, July 13, July 27, and Aug. 10.

Grant Wood AEA summer hours, June 12 - Aug. 11, 2017

Agency hours during the summer (beginning the second Monday in June through the second Friday in August) are from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. with a half-hour lunch period. Staff have the opportunity to work a flex-time, 9-hour day Mondays through Thursdays (7:30 a.m.– 5 p.m.) and four hours on Fridays, leaving at 11:30 a.m. However, arrangements must be made for areas to be covered at all times. Any other deviations from the normal work hours will be handled within each program.

Click here to reference Administrative Regulation AR #4190A concerning flex-time and summer hours.


The Gift of Communication:
Empowering Families on Their AAC Journey

Monday, June 5, 2017
6:30-8:00 p.m.


The Hotel at Kirkwood Center

7725 Kirkwood Blvd. SW
Cedar Rapids, Iowa


Karen is a mother to six children. She and her family are on a mission to teach their four non-verbal children to communicate. Families, educators and

The Gift of Communication

members of our community are invited to meet Karen Owens, the author of the popular “We Speak PODD” Facebook blog, and learn how her family has successfully captured a vision for using Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC).


Target Audience: Families, Educators, Community


No advance registration is required for this FREE EVENT, brought to you by Grant Wood Area Education Agency.

GWAEA Summer Van Delivery
June 12 - Aug. 15, 2017

Summer delivery begins Monday, June 12 and ends on Tuesday, August 15.


Please communicate the following to your colleagues:


• Delivery in the summer is to one designated building in the district.
• This building is your district’s designated delivery point.
• Summer delivery occurs every other week.


The GWAEA cataloging system takes into account the delivery schedule when materials are scheduled. Click here to view the Summer Van Route Schedule 2017.


  • to Phil Worden, Offsite AWARE teacher, and wife, Amy,
    on the birth of a son, Baer Jameson Worden. Baer was born Saturday, May 27, 2017. He was 8 lbs, 2 oz and 21 inches long.

  • to Colleen Elin and her husband, Dustin, on the birth of their son, Jared Clarence Elin, on May 28 at 8:43 am.
    Jared weighed 7 pounds, 8 ounces and 20.5 inches long. Welcoming Jared home is his big brother, Henry.
    Colleen is a GWAEA speech-language pathologist.


Mark Your Calendar for the MackinVIA eBook Curriculum Integration Class

Pass this on to Classroom Teachers


As you plan your summer schedule, consider signing up for the MackinVIA course. This course was offered last summer and received rave reviews. Credit and no-credit options are available. The course starts on Aug. 8. For details and to register for credit options, go to AEA PD Online. Also, please register your attendance for Aug. 8 face to face session at this site.


For more information on this learning opportunity, please contact Deanna Weber.

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.

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.


Congratulations to Janet Andersen-Heller, GWAEA parent/child educator, and Marilyn Muhle, GWAEA physical therapist, who celebrated during a retirement reception held on May 30. Congratulations!

Summer Time Fun at the YMCA

Click on the link to find summer activities at the YMCA.  

Members can work out and earn rewards with our summer punch cards. Swim lessons for members and non-members will have new titles of classes and updated curriculum starting in June 2017.


Fun-filled activities for families and kids along with volunteer opportunities.


Contact Deanna Haddy, YMCA Corporate Contact for GWAEA, at or call
319-350-4123 for any questions regarding the YMCA.

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


New Session is underway!

Our program fits your life! Mid-session applications welcome. Our program fits your life! Join Today!

Membership opportunity extended to staff, family and friends (you may attend at any community location or at GWAEA on Tuesdays. Tuesday’s meeting private weigh-in is available at 4:30 p.m. and the meeting is 4:45 p.m.-5:15 p.m). You are not required to attend the Tuesday meetings, you can go to any other community meetings that suit your schedule.

Weight Watchers for Diabetes

Weight Watchers for Diabetes

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.

Contact Kim Martin or Elizabeth Steffensmeier with questions or to sign up.

Chair Massage Schedule for May/June

Cedar Rapids: May 31, June 1. Contact Stacy Murphy to schedule.

Coralville: Will resume in September. Contact Sue Heath for the shared registration link.

Grant Wood AEA Seminar Series 2017-2018

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























June 2017

Orthographic Mapping

Orthographic Mapping
June 2 & 5, 2017
Full/Waiting List Only

Physical Education 2017: New Ideas, New Approaches

Physical Education: 2017

New Ideas, New Approaches

June 5-6, 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

Building Literacy in 
Social Studies

Cognitive Coaching: Planning and Reflecting

July 27-28,
Sept. 18-19, 2017

Grant Wood AEA Seminar Series 2017-2018

Teaching Transparently

July 20-21, Sept. 27, 2017,
Jan. 17, 2018

August 2017

Jim Knight's Instructional Coaching Workshops 2017-2018

Jim Knight's Instructional Coaching Workshops


Blended Learning for School Teams

Jim Knight's Instructional Coaching Workshops 2017-2018

2017-18 AEA Teacher Leader Support System (TLSS) in Partnership with the New Teacher Center


September 2017

Jim Knight's Instructional Coaching Workshops 2017-2018

GWAEA Behavior PD Courses


2017-2018 Leadership for Continuous Improvement: Building Collective Efficacy



March 2018

GWAEA Math PD Courses

Teaching Transparently Support Workshops
March 28, May 1, 2018



2017-2018 TQ Dates

Sept. 13, 2017
Dec. 7, 2017
Feb. 9, 2018
May 8, 2018

Visit the TQ Google site. The TQ proposal template and directions are available on the GWAEA Staff Portal under the Teacher Quality Committee link.

Teacher Quality Professional Development graphic

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, Arlene Brant, Lisa Haverkamp, 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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