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The Bulletin Board

Mark Your Calendar:

Friday, Nov. 17, 2017
2018 Flexible Spending Account forms due


Wednesday, Nov. 22, 2017
Agency closes at 3 p.m. in observance of Thanksgiving

In This issue:

GWAEA PRIDE: Proudly Recognizing Innovation, Dedication & Excellence
Network Outage Planned on Tuesday, Nov. 7, 4:30 p.m.
Welcome, New GWAEA Staff!
Holiday Early Release Dates
Self-Perception Survey
Survey due Friday, Nov. 3
Flexible Spending Account plan information for GWAEA staff:
Nov. 17 Deadline
Reminder- United Way Campaign Ends Tomorrow
Our Condolences
Winter Weather Closings
EAP Reminder
GWAEA Blood Drive Held Oct. 24
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

National School Psychology Awareness Week, Nov. 13-17, 2017


Grant Wood AEA's school psychologists provide consultation and assessment for students who have school-related learning, emotional, social, and behavioral problems. The emphasis is on intervention and remediation through the team approach.


Join us as we celebrate the agency’s school psychologists for the work they do for students and families in the Grant Wood AEA service area. Congratulations and thank you!

Grant Wood AEA PRIDE

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.

Welcome, New GWAEA Staff



Brittany Egesdal
Media/Technology Support Technician

B.A., University of Northern Iowa


Holiday Early Release Dates

The three occasions when the Agency will close at 3 p.m. include:

  • Wednesday, Nov 22, 2017 (Wednesday before Thanksgiving)

  • Friday, Dec. 22, 2017 (last work day before winter break)

  • Friday, March 30, 2018 (Good Friday)

Self-Perception Survey

Survey due Friday, Nov. 3

Grant Wood AEA logo

The Communicator/Collaborator Self-Perception Survey introduced in the Oct. 26 issue of
The Bulletin Board
is due on Friday, Nov. 3. The survey link follows:


Communicator/Collaborator Self-Perception Survey


Thank you in advance for completing the survey. Contact Stacy Behmer with questions.

Flexible Spending Account plan information for GWAEA staff:
Nov. 17 Deadline

Grant Wood AEA logo

Grant Wood AEA Employees:

We will begin our enrollment period for the 2018 Flexible Spending Account (FSA) plan year.  The FSA program allows you to set aside money from your paychecks on a pre-tax basis to pay for qualified health and dependent care expenses. The following documents are available for further guidance and enrollment:

Employees are encouraged to review these materials immediately upon receipt as there are timelines involved to participate.  Employees must complete the ASI Flex Enrollment Form if electing to participate in a health and/or dependent care account for the 2018 plan year.  Please submit the enrollment form to Cathy Kearns, Grant Wood AEA Business Services, by November 17, 2017.


Remember:  Our FSA program runs on a calendar year basis, January 1 through December 31.  Participants must re-enroll in the FSA program each year, even if you don't want your election amount to change.


New in 2018:  The IRS announced an increase in the health care FSA maximum employee contribution limit from $2,600 to $2,650 for plan years beginning on or after January 1, 2018.  Grant Wood AEA has adopted the increased maximum limit for our plan.


Payroll deductions for health, dental and vision insurance premiums are automatically made on a pre-tax basis.  An annual pre-tax election for this is not necessary.  Employees who want to have their insurance premiums deducted post-tax are to contact Cathy Kearns prior to November 17, 2017.

ASI, our flex benefits administrator, offers many features including:

  • Daily Reimbursements -- Once a flexible spending claim is processed, reimbursement will be made to participants the following day.  Claims are typically processed within two days of receipt.

  • On-line Access -- Participants have password protected access to account information, including balance available and reimbursements made.

  • Direct Deposit and E-mail Notifications -- If you choose, there is an option available for direct deposit into your bank account for reimbursements and e-mail notification of your account transactions.

  • Customer Service Center -- Calls are answered live, and the Customer Service Center has extended hours:  7:00 am to 7:00 pm, Monday through Friday, and 9:00 am to 1:00 pm on Saturday.  Phone:  1-800-659-3035   E-mail:   Web:

Reminder- United Way Campaign Ends Tomorrow

United Way Campaign Oct. 6-27


Our staff work closely with individuals in our community, and our staff know first hand the need to support their fellow neighbors. 


Last year our GWAEA United Way campaign raised nearly $18,000 for the United Way of East Central Iowa and the United Way of Washington and Johnson Counties. For those who are less familiar with this organization, the United Way focuses on education, financial stability, and health issues in our community. They help raise awareness surrounding key issues, provide services to those most in need, and promote social change that helps strengthen people and our communities. 


We again will offer payroll deduction and one-time giving opportunities for our staff to lend their support to the United Way, and tomorrow all staff will receive an email with an e-Pledge login to access a secure portal to make a donation.


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've seen "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.

Our Condolences...

  • to the familly of Renee Burns, who passed away on Oct. 26. Services were held on Oct. 30 at
    St. Mary's Catholic Church in Guttenberg. Renee was a GWAEA parent/child educator from August 2000 - September 2007.

  • to the family of Shirley Pike, who passed away on Oct. 28. A family and friends gathering was held at home on Wednesday, Nov. 1, 2017, from 2 – 6 p.m. Shirley was a GWAEA school psychologist, August 1981 - June 2007.

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.

EAP Reminder

The Agency provides an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) to support staff and family members with additional resources when faced with challenging situations. This program is provided through Mercy EAP Services and includes professional and confidential


counseling and referral services for a variety of personal issues including grief/loss, stress, illness, financial concerns and relationship issues. The goal of the program is to assist employees in effectively identifying and resolving personal concerns in a proactive manner before they affect job performance. 


All clinicians with Mercy EAP are licensed mental health counselors and are experienced in assisting individuals in meeting the challenges of today’s busy lifestyles. The EAP is confidentialand easy to use – just call 319-398-6694 or 1-800-383-6694 to schedule an appointment. There is no cost to employees for initial discussions – up to three sessions per employee family member per year (July 1-June 30) are provided. Whenever necessary, you will be referred to another resource that can best serve your needs. In most cases, your insurance may be used to cover the cost of additional help. If you need help that is not covered by insurance, the counselor can recommend services that are based on ability to pay.

It is hoped employees and families always lead happy and healthy lives, however if problems do occur and additional support or assistance would be helpful, the Agency is pleased to provide this valuable resource through the EAP. If you are ready to try this approach to addressing challenges in your life, please remember Mercy EAP Services.

If you have questions or need additional information, feel free to call the Human Resources Office at x6703, refer to the Business Services & HR Procedures Manual pg. 25 or view the brochure.

GWAEA Blood Drive Held on Oct. 24

Nine donors registered at the Oct. 24 drive and nine were able to donate. Since each unit is processed into multiple products, the GWAEA drive will help 36 patients in our local hospitals.


The winner of the drawing for the Amazon Gift Card was Jean Grewe

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

As of Oct. 26, 2017:  

  • More than 22% (1,287) of the 5,800 teachers, counselors, teacher librarians, nurses and paraeducators in our GWAEA area have contacted ISLS and/or scheduled a meeting with an ISLS Advisor.

  • 625 (roughly 48%) qualify for student loan forgiveness. Typically, individuals do not qualify because their debt to income ratios do not align with the program criteria (typical disqualification rates are 32-47%).

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 1-513-645-5400, email or visit their website at 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.

Grant Wood AEA Seminar Series 2017-2018

GWAEA Seminar Series

Building Teacher Efficacy Through Professional Learning and Collaborative Conversations

There are four tenets for building a coaching culture: all teachers deserve coaching; every teacher should have a growth plan and growth necessitates feedback; the stronger a teacher becomes the more coaching they should receive; and teacher leaders are the first to request coaching as they work to build the culture. A focus from school administrators and teacher leadership on these four tenets can create a vision and understanding of coaching that increases teacher openness and vulnerability to seek the rewards of coaching for themselves and their students. Steve Barkley will discuss the four tenets for building a coaching culture and ways in which continuous collaborative improvement occurs through the combination of PLCs and coaching supports


Dec. 6, 2017, 1:00-3:30 p.m.


Location: Grant Wood AEA
4401 Sixth Street SW
Cedar Rapids, IA 52404


Number: 19504-17-01


Grant Wod AEA Seminar Series. Steve Barkley, Building Teacher Efficacy Through Professional Learning and Collaborative Conversations

See flyer for details.


For the past 30 years, Steve Barkley has served as an education consultant to school districts, teacher organizations, state departments of education, and colleges and universities nationally and internationally, facilitating the changes necessary for them to reach students and successfully prepare them for the 21st century.

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


Registration deadline: 6:00 a.m. on Nov. 22, 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























November 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

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



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

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.

silver earring

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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