Grant Wood AEA logo  
The Bulletin Board

In This issue:

GWAEA PRIDE: Proudly Recognizing Innovation, Dedication & Excellence
A Look at the Work of our GWAEA Speech Language Pathologists
Network Outage Planned on Tuesday, Nov. 7, 4:30 p.m.
Self-Perception Survey
Google Calendar
GWAEA Staff Invited to Participate in United Way Campaign Oct. 6-27
Winter Weather Closings
A View From the Grant Wood AEA Coralville Facility
Volunteer Income Tax assistance (VITA) Program Seeks Volunteers
Our Condolences
Student Loan Relief
GWAEA GROW News/Upcoming Events
GWAEA Professional Development Opportunities
Lost and Found


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

Grant Wood AEA's Emergent Literacy Team


Members of the GWAEA Emergent Literacy Team include (left to right)
Debra Robin, Kathy Curphy, Kim Smith, Alaina Daters, Donna Claflin, Connie Cranny, Christy Yetley.


The Emergent Literacy team continues to support preschool teachers as they develop foundational literacy and language skills with their students.

Grant Wood AEA PRIDE

Each year, this work evolves and expands with new research-based projects. These projects include providing home libraries for preschool classrooms, providing Early Childhood LETRS professional development as well as developing and coaching effective emergent literacy routines and interventions.


This year, the EL team will be working collaboratively with Early Childhood consultants on an Implementation Science Literacy grant. The intent of this Iowa Department of Education grant is to support teachers in differentiating instruction for all learner needs. This work will include year-long coaching and collaboration with a core group of district preschool teachers. The focus will be to improve knowledge and implementation of literacy practices and specially designed instruction embedded across daily classroom routines and activities.

A Look at the Work of our GWAEA Speech Language Pathologists

What does the work of a Speech-language pathologist (SLP) look like at GWAEA? If you look at the numbers from our most recent school year, it means seeing great results as our staff work with students to prevent, assess, diagnose, and treat speech, language, and other disorders in our local students.


GWAEA The Big Picture graphic



Grant Wood AEA employs more than 90 SLPs, with more than 80 of them supporting work in district buildings. “We support students of all ages, but our data shows that the largest group served last year are kids under 8 years of age,” explained Deb Hollensbe, who presented a summary of our SLP work to our GWAEA Board of Directors last month.

This year the team is focused on how they support core function. “We have many kids coming to school who lack skills, and we know we can support teachers with the language deficiencies they’re managing,” explained SLP link Terri McGraw.

There are three new initiatives staff might hear our SLPs mention when they talk about how they’re supporting core function and language deficiencies.


5 Minute Kids- 67 percent of the kids working with SLPS had sound production errors, or problems with articulation. The 5 Minute Kids program focuses on repetition of a target sound or word, and it takes place in just five minutes of time - which maximizes practice and minimizes the time a student is away from core instruction in the classroom. Their data shows that this method is very successful for the student, and the program has been well received by teachers and parents alike. As a team the group is working more and more to embed this practice, and they are helping paraeducators use this model to provide extra practice for students..

EET- Expanding Expression Tool- The EET is an assistive technology tool that looks like a caterpillar. It’s used as an organizational tool to help students as they are learning how to express themselves. Each bead on the ‘caterpillar’ helps trigger a thought process for a student. For example, if you ask a child to define a word like ‘bed’, he might say ‘you sleep in it.’ A child using the EET is prompted to explain a bed in more detail like, “it’s a piece of furniture - you sleep on it - it’s rectangular and has a mattress and frame  - and there are different kinds like queen beds and bunk beds.” Our districts are having great success with this tool in expanding both general education and special education learning and language experiences.  

Complex Communication Students-  Grant Wood AEA now has dedicated staff time to support a new Assistive Technology/ Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) team. This effort is helping to build the capacity of SLPs to support the needs of students with complex communication needs.  

Although that seems like a lot, Terri commented, “There are even more things going on! With a total of 93 SLPs working with students, there are a lot of initiatives underway.”

Deb adds, “Many members of our staff serve on state teams: Grant Wood’s SLPs are often looked to for leadership, initiative, and support as our work as speech language professionals continues to grow.”

Network Outage Planned on Tuesday, Nov. 7, 4:30 p.m.

Grant Wood AEA logo

There will be network maintenance work occurring on Tuesday, Nov. 7, beginning at 4:30 p.m. that will affect ALL personnel working at Sixth St. facility. This work will take several hours. Network, phone, and internet access will be affected during this outage time. 


Wireless access at both 33rd Ave. and the Southern Facility will also be affected during this time.


For questions, contact Brandon Watson, GWAEA network administrator.

Self-Perception Survey

Survey due Friday, Nov. 3

Grant Wood AEA logo

As you may have read in this week's Bulletin Board, we are continuing to track our work as an agency around our goal to “Increase student acquisition and application of 21st Century skills and knowledge (prepared for success in college, career, and citizenship).”


One of our agency goals involves 21st century skills. I’m happy to report we are making great gains in the last couple years in this area. Here is some information that was shared last spring with the region leadership teams from the BrightBytes Survey that was given in the spring.


Our focus continues around communication and collaboration skills. In order to measure our growth we are asking staff to complete the Communicator/Collaborator Self-Perception Survey again for all staff.  The survey should only take 5-10 minutes.  If you don’t understand how to rate yourself on the scale or what the task is and you score yourself low that will help inform supports we will be providing. Here is a link to a doc for you to look at in advance to see the I can statements and scale prior to the survey. The text is kind of small for the scales on the survey link.


Once you complete the survey check you email to see your responses. Leadership teams and the digital learning team will review the data without names to help us plan support. These data have been used to plan targeted professional learning throughout the agency. You will get a copy, so you can see how are doing and track your own professional growth!


Please complete this survey by Friday, Nov. 3, 2017. Thank you in advance for providing us with this information and let Stacy Behmer know if you have any questions.

Communicator/Collaborator Self-Perception Survey Link

Google Calendar Updates

Google Calendar has a new look, with a number of new event, calendar view, and settings features to help you manage your time more efficiently and get stuff done. Here are some highlights.  

See event details at a glance. This enable you to view event information without opening the edit screen.


Calendar Updates.png

Invitation Status- When you accept an event the color will be solid, a maybe reply will have diagonal lines across the event and an event you haven’t replied to will be in white. If you said no, you’ll only see the outline and the event will be crossed out.

Here is information from Google about the new update.  For the next few months you may go back to the old calendar view by selecting the gear in the upper right corner.

Remember G Suite Training can be used in the corner and the help to answer questions. If you want to add a Zoom meeting link when creating an event, use this Chrome Extension.

One Week Remaining in United Way Campaign


We will leave the agency's portal open for one more week! So far our agency staff have raised more than $8,000- but there's still time to give! 


Additionally this year, payroll deductions also are available for staff interested in supporting 
Iowa Shares, a statewide coalition of social change, environmental and cultural nonprofit organizations. Iowa Shares members give direct services and create progressive, long-lasting resources for children and communities. Online giving is not available for Iowa Shares, but campaign literature is available for staff and can be requested through Renee Nelson in Communications.


This month you'll see "Why I Give" pictures of Grant Wood AEA staff that highlight the reason they have personally decided to support our agency-wide United Way campaign. Last year our staff contributions totalled $17,630 for the United Way of East Central Iowa and the United Way of Johnson and Washington counties.

Winter Weather Closings

Winter weather is around the corner. The agency will use the ESS system information that staff updated during August 2017 for the All Agency Inservice travel to Solon.


As a reminder, if the decision is made to close one or more of the Agency Centers, the communications office will notify staff using the following methods:


  • A voice mail message will be sent to all staff via the SchoolMessenger system. This system will call the numbers that you establish in the Employee Self-Service System (see below.)

  • We will record a message that will be available in all agency voice mailboxes. Through the all-call voice message, staff will be informed regarding (a) which centers are affected, (b) when the center(s) will close, (c) when the agency anticipates reopening the center(s), and (d) when the next employee update will be available.

  • We will include information on the front page of the agency website. 

  • And finally, we will contact KCRG-TV to include it in their list of closings.

Employees must update the following information in ESS to ensure they are notified through the SchoolReach system:

  • Launch ESS

  • Select Personal Information

  • Check the drop down categories available for each phone number listed.  If a number is listed as "agency use" or "Public", it will be called during our test and in the event that we activate the calling system.

Please contact Renee Nelson with questions about this process or the notification system.

A View From the Grant Wood AEA Coralville Facility


Our thanks to Karin McKeone, GWAEA school social worker, for sharing this fall photo for inclusion in The Bulletin Board.

Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program Seeks Volunteers

Training begins in December


The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program is hosted by United Way of East Central Iowa and is seeking additional volunteers to assist low to middle income families with the free preparation of their state and federal income tax returns. Grant Wood AEA employees have volunteered in prior years and the VITA program is grateful for the continued support.


Last year the VITA program assisted over 1,900 families with their tax returns and saved these individuals hundreds of thousands of dollars in fees they would have incurred if they had paid a tax preparation company to complete their returns.  The VITA team volunteers are rewarded by kind words and acknowledgement from the clients. Since the team wants to assist more families, there is a need for a greater number of volunteers. Training for VITA volunteers begins in December. Volunteer tax preparers, intake specialists and greeters are all needed during the tax season.  If you would like to know more about the opportunity to volunteer for the VITA program, go to or email

Our Condolences...

  • to family of Terri Nicol, who passed away on Friday, Oct. 20, 2017. Services were held on Wednesday, Oct. 25, at the Solon United Methodist Church. Terri was a GWAEA audiometrist from October 1998 - October 2005. Terri is survivied by her husband, Scott, who was with the agency's Woods Quality Center and a GWAEA school improvement consultant, retiring in
    June 2002.

Student Loan Relief!

Grant Wood AEA 10, in partnership with ISLoan Solutions, will educate you and provide options for forgiveness* and refinancing, that may help lower, or even eliminate, your student loan payment.


Join your colleagues who are saving an average of 79% on their monthly payments and are projected to receive an average of $66,271 in tax-free loan forgiveness.



Enter code: AEA10 to learn more


If loan forgiveness 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

Peace of Mind & Savings
“When I decided to change careers at the age of 32 to become a teacher, I was really nervous about the amount debt I was going to incur. I knew I would qualify for the Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program, but had no knowledge of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program. Because of ISLoan Solutions, I will save over $40,000 in student loan payments once I complete my 120 payments. This has allowed me to save more money now and for my future, as I am able to contribute more to my retirement accounts. Best of all, they take care of everything for me.  For a fair price, I never had to worry about my paperwork being submitted on time or being sent to the correct place. The peace of mind and savings have lifted a very heavy burden off my shoulders.” Matt O. - Science Teacher

*In 2007, Congress established Public Service Loan Forgiveness to help full-time employees reduce their student loan burden and incentivize them to stay in public service. PSLF is available to all full-time employees regardless of position. PSLF is not Teacher Loan Forgiveness.
Questions, or trouble logging in? Call 1.513.645.5400email or visit their website at for more information and success stories.

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

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

Eating Healthy During the Holiday Season with Hy-Vee Dietician Kim Proctor

Date: Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017

Time:12:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

Location: Grant Wood Room


See the flyer for details.

Weight Watchers At Work

Next Session Begins Nov. 21

Weight Watchers @ Work Program logo

Membership Opportunity extended to staff, family and friends of Grant Wood AEA (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.


Contact Kim Martin ( or Elizabeth Gants ( with questions or to sign up.

Chair Massage Schedule

Cedar Rapids: Nov. 30. Contact Stacy Murphy to schedule.

Coralville: Contact Sue Heath for the registration link.

October Membership Special

Join in October: 25% OFF with $0 Join Fee for Adult, Couple, & Family Membership

YMCA logo

Now’s the best time to get fit at the YMCA – and to bring the entire family on board - because we have a fantastic new-member discount during the month of October. People who join this month will receive a 25% discount off their membership rates for an entire year. This is a greater discount than the corporate partner discount (GWAEA corporate discount is 15%). Plus, there’s no join fee in October.


Come into any branch location in the Cedar Rapids Metro Area to receive a Welcome Gift with your new membership. Your membership dues will be prorated for October.

If you’re currently a member of the YMCA of the Cedar Rapids Metro Area and you refer a friend to join this association in October, we’ll give you a $25 gift card to Scheels as a thank you for your referral. However, be sure your friend tells us your name at the time of registration.

YMCA New Employee flyer


Contact Deanna Haddy for more information: or

Grant Wood AEA Seminar Series 2017-2018

GWAEA Seminar Series

Creating a Culture of YES

Dr. Joe Sanfelippo will identify 10 problems with school leadership, provide dynamic, right-now solutions, and demonstrate how to increase learning by leaving the office and engaging directly with all teachers and learners. Selected as 1 of 117 Future Ready Superintendents in 2014 and 1 of 50 Superintendents as a Personalized Learning Leader in 2016 by the U.S. Department of Education, Sanfelippo co-wrote the book “Hacking Leadership: 10 Ways Great Leaders Inspire Learning That Teachers, Students, and Parents Love.”


Nov. 1, 2017, 1:00-3:30 p.m.


Location: Benton CSD Middle/High
600 First St., Van Horne, Iowa


Number: 19503-17-01


Target Audience: K-12 Administrators, Teachers, Instructional Coaches, Consultants


Grant Wod AEA Seminar Series. Dr. Joe Sanfelippo, Creating a Culture of YES

See flyer for details.


Dr. Joe Sanfelippo is the Superintendent of the Fall Creek School District in
Fall Creek, WI. The Fall Creek School District was named an Innovative District in 2016 and 2017 by the International Center for Leadership in Education.

Registration deadline: 6:00 a.m. on Oct. 18, 2017



• Participants within the GWAEA area, $40
• Participants from outside the GWAEA area, $65
• Registration is not complete until all fees are paid in full

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























October 2017

GWAEA Behavior Professional Development

GWAEA Behavior PD Courses


Leadership for Continuous Improvement

2017-2018 Leadership for Continuous Improvement: Building Collective Efficacy

GWAEA Assistive Technology

GWAEA Assistive Tech


GWAEA Child Find Courses

2017-2018 Grant Wood AEA Child Find Courses

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

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

Instructional Coaching:
Intersections Between Collaboration, Content and Coaching

Instructional Coaching:
Intersections Between Collaboration, Content and Coaching

Jim Knight's Instructional Coaching Workshops

Jim Knight's Instructional Coaching Workshops


GWAEA Mathematics Professional Learning Courses 2017-2018

GWAEA Mathematics Professional Learning Courses 2017-2018

Jim Knight's Instructional Coaching Workshops

The Write Stuff Workshop

Oct. 27, 2017


January 2018

Teaching Transparently

Teaching Transparently

Jan. 17 & 24, March 6,
April 5, 2018



April 2018

Teaching Transparently Support Workshops

A Developmental Framework for Evidence-Based Practices for Autism Spectrum
April 25, 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.

Lost and Found:

See Cathy Nelson at the Switchboard to claim.

lost and found water bottles

silver earring

Found in the Sixth St. parking lot.


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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