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The Bulletin Board

Mark Your Calendar

June 12-Aug. 11, 2017

GWAEA Summer Hours


The Bulletin Board summer publication dates:

July 13, July 27, and
Aug. 10, 2017



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 PRIDE: Proudly Recognizing Innovation, Dedication & Excellence
GWAEA’s College For Kids Celebrates 30 years of Summer Enrichment and Art Programs for Students
The Big Picture: Facilities Update
A Note From Business Office/Human Resources

New VPN Client for Windows and Macintosh Computers
MackinVIA eBook Curriculum Integration Class
Thank You
School Board Elections
Improve Your Student Loan Situation
GWAEA Health Screening/Fight the Flu
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 PRIDE: Proudly Recognizing Innovation, Dedication & Excellence


Chad Blanchard receives the Iowa Award of Merit from (left to right)
Lisa Stange, CTE consultant, Iowa Dept. of Education, and Cindy Stover, ACTE consultant and executive director.


Congratulations to Chad Blanchard, GWAEA school improvement consultant, who was recognized last week at the ACTE (Association of Career and Technical Education) conference in Indianapolis for his work to further career and technical education within our Grant Wood AEA region.


Keith Stamp, GWAEA regional administrator shared, “Chad's work is highly valued by CTE teachers and administrators within the Grant Wood AEA service area. His efforts provide support to forward the modernizing of programs of study and developing effective assessment to measure student proficiency in critical competencies."


Congratulations, Chad!

Grant Wood AEA PRIDE

GWAEA’s College For Kids: 30 Years in the Making

by Katherine Vega, Intern, GWAEA Communications


Grant Wood AEA The Linker, College for Kids, 1989

The year is June 15, 1987 - Eager instructors wheel their supply-filled carts to the classrooms they will call home for next two weeks, teenage volunteers disperse across Kirkwood’s campus ready to assist with their walkie talkies in hand, and middle school students drift in awe as they are about to commence their first ever college experience.

Catherine Blando, a Consultant for Gifted Education at Grant Wood AEA, has been envisioning this sight for quite some time now. She’s a ‘stickler’ for rigorous education and has been developing an enrichment plan for students across Grant Wood AEA’s seven-county region. Finally, she gets to unfold what is about to become one of Grant Wood AEA’s most popular summer education programs:
College for Kids

Cathy Blando, Educational Services feature, GWAEA's The Linker, Fall 1987.

“I was well aware that bright students needed intellectual challenges,” Catherine says as she reminisces on College for Kids’ earliest years. “That’s why I began to advocate for a College for Kids program at Grant Wood because students would get to benefit from its enrichment experience.”


Fast Forward to June 10, 2017 - the College for Kids program continues in its 30th year as a favorite summer alternative for families across Grant Wood AEA’s districts. A lot has changed over the past three decades: College for Kids has called three different college campuses ‘home’ during that time; expanded its curricula and number of session offerings; and increased its student enrollment size.



Grant Wood AEA’s College for Kids program was first established by Catherine in the summer of 1987 for high-ability students in 6th, 7th, and 8th grade. Students were initially selected to participate in the program if they scored in the 85th percentile rank or above on a standardized achievement test. As the program continued to expand over the years, additional identification procedures were then added.


In its beginning year, College for Kids took place at Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids. The program jump started with only one, two-week session in mid-June and a little over 100 enrolled students. Though at the time, Kirkwood’s classrooms were also being occupied by the college.


“We had only one room for storage at Kirkwood, and each teacher had to bring a shopping cart with their materials every night to prepare for the following day,” she says. “That was pretty cumbersome for instructors with art projects and such. So as the first year unfolded, I knew Kirkwood wasn’t going to be the place for College for Kids.”


The following summer, College for Kids relocated to Cornell College in Mount Vernon. Although Catherine still considered Kirkwood as a fine location for College for Kids’ in its initial year, she says Cornell College offered a great environment for the program as well.


“Being a Cornellian myself, I knew the campus would be available during the summertime,” she says. “I talked to some people whom I knew at Cornell, and they said they would love to have young people on their campus!”


College for Kids continued at Cornell College until the summer of 2002, when the campus underwent construction. Catherine then decided to consider other locations to host the program and came across Coe College in Cedar Rapids. She believes this final transition was the best location yet for College for Kids for various reasons.


“I went to Coe and it was wonderful because they said ‘if you come here, please keep coming’,” she says. “And for most of the students from outside the Cedar Rapids metro area, Coe College was probably the easiest and safest campus to go to.”


Catherine says Coe College was also a great location for students and teachers since they would have access to the entire classroom for their daily projects and activities.



As the program continued, College for Kids grew its curricula and enrollment size. From initially having a one, two-week session with 100 students, the program added a second, two-week session that allowed for an average of 600 students per session. The Fine Arts Program of College for Kids was also included in 1995 for students gifted in the area of arts. (Photo above and below, College for Kids, July 10, 2013, fine arts.)



One component of Grant Wood AEA’s College for Kids that Catherine considers unique is the use of native instructors in the foreign language courses.


“We taught everything from Japanese to Arabic, Chinese, Spanish, and German,” she says. “All of our languages were taught by native fluent instructors and I think that was a really special feature because the cultural experiences in the languages were authentic.”


According to Catherine, many College for Kids instructors have even enjoyed teaching for the program so much, they’ve returned each summer since its earliest years.


“There’s a lot of loyalty within the staff, instructors who worked with me like Jim Jacobmeyer, Richard Butschi, and Bob Campagna are still working with College for Kids today,” she says. (Below, Jim Jacobmeyer, College for Kids, July 18, 2012)


Some alumni have also returned to teach some courses of their own as well. This summer, instructor Kaitlin Kuehner began her first year of teaching at College for Kids with her new course Exploring Climate Change. According to Kaitlin, College for Kids gave her an opportunity to dig deeper in her interest of science education for three summers in a row. Now, she hopes to share that same experience with her current College for Kids students.

Although Catherine is no longer with Grant Wood AEA’s College for Kids program, she still considers it one the best opportunities for middle school students to discover their academic passions.


College for Kids is currently directed by Grant Wood AEA’s Student Programs Specialist
Susie Green
. This summer, over 1,000 students are enrolled in the program, which features more than 70 academic and fine arts courses taught by 58 local instructors.


“It is an honor to continue the legacy of Grant Wood AEA’s College for Kids program, and to carry out the original intent of the program that Catherine envisioned so long ago,”  Green says.


Learn about the 2017 GWAEA College for Kids activities by visiting the blog.

Facilities Update

Construction and remodeling efforts continue at our 6th Street and 33rd Ave locations. Below is an updated summary of progress and plans for these locations:

GWAEA The Big Picture graphic

6th Street- Second Floor Update
Many offices on the second floor are under construction in our 6th Street facility. Staff who have vacated offices to accommodate a remodel of his/her workspace can expect to move back in around August 4. Specific details on when furniture and boxes will be moved back will be shared mid-July.


We anticipate that the remodel of the conference center restrooms will be completed by Monday, and the work will then begin on the second floor rest rooms next week. During construction, the two small rest rooms on the west end of the second floor will be unisex restrooms. 


6th Street- First Floor Update
The timeline for moving out of offices on the ground level is unchanged from our original timeline.  Staff who have been relocated should anticipate being out approximately a month and be back August 4, and specific details on when furniture and boxes will be moved back will be shared mid-July.


Restrooms in the conference center will be done by Monday, and we'll start the second floor rest rooms next week. Painting on second floor also will be done this week and then they'll begin painting in the first floor offices next week as well.


All staff should note that conference center carpet will be installed during the second week in July. This work will take place in several phases, so staff will need to look for signs that indicate which entrance to use during this time.  


33rd Ave Facility Update
Some of our staff have temporarily relocated to 33rd Ave to accommodate remodeling at 6th street. They will remain at their temporary home during June and July, and can anticipate moving back to 6th Street around August 1. At that time, we expect to shift the science boxes out of the classroom and into the science office, and our Autism staff can begin the process of unloading materials from the boxes stored in the Autism Classroom and their homes. Again, specific details will be shared as August closes in.


All staff should note that the rooms at 33rd Ave have been equipped with temporary tables and chairs to accommodate a few space needs, but the rooms are not available for reservations until September 1. 


Furniture Sale
Schools will be coming into the Sixth Street office this Thursday to select from the furniture we no longer need. July 6 from 8 a.m. - 4 p.m. all remaining furniture will be available for sale for personal use of our staff, district staff, and to members of the public. All items are cash and carry.

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.

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.

Thank You

Thank you everyone for the retirement parties, gifts, cards and good wishes! It has been a joy to work at Grant Wood AEA, with all of  you and the families  Best wishes to everyone in the future!


Janet Andersen-Heller 

2017 School Board Elections

The Iowa Association of School Boards (IASB) encourages sitting board members to offer their expertise for another term and asks motivated community members to consider serving on their local school board.

IASB needs leaders that care about our children and our communities. 


Visit the IASB website for a toolkit to help interested citizens understand school boards in Iowa and their role, qualifications and steps to become a school board candidate, school election dates and deadlines, FAQs, rewards of school board service, and more. 

As you consider running, IASB encourages individuals to consider what board service means to you. Make a difference for students, your community, and ultimately the future of Iowa. Invest in the future--serve on your local school board. 

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 Health Screening/Fight the Flu

Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017
7:00 - 9:00 a.m.

Sixth St. Facility
Scale-UP Classroom



Thursday, Sept. 21, 2017
7:00-9:00 a.m

Coralville Facility


The GROW Committee would like to offer Blood Profile Screenings and Flu Shots to any interested staff members this fall.


The screening will be a 12-hour FASTING test provided by the Visiting Nurses Association at a cost of $20.00 per person, cash or check is due the day of the screening. VNA will have almost immediate results, which they will go over with you during your appointment, so plan on being here at least 15 minutes.


Flu shots will also be available that day. The VNA will bill your insurance company, so be sure to bring your insurance card with you.


Registration for both events will be announced in August. For information, contact
Connie Dvorak

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, which started 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

Cedar Rapids: June 28-29, July 26-27. Contact Stacy Murphy to schedule.

Coralville: Appointments will resume in September. Contact Sue Heath for the 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























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


Building Literacy in 
Social Studies

GWAEA Resources for Educators, Parents Working or Living with Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders

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

Jim Knight's Instructional Coaching Workshops 2017-2018

GWAEA Assistive Tech



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. Visit 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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