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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:

$1,500 Early Notification Incentive Approved by GWAEA Board and Available for All Employee Groups
GWAEA Staff Contribute Over $17,000 to United Way Campaign
Honoring Veterans Day, Nov. 11
Flexible Spending Account plan information for GWAEA staff:
Nov. 17 Deadline
American Education Week 2017
Holiday Early Release Dates
Our Condolences
EAP Reminder
Promising Practices in Family and School Partnerships
Phyllis Yager Memorial Diversity Teaching Award
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

$1,500 Early Notification Incentive Approved by GWAEA Board and Available for All Employee Groups

Grant Wood AEA logo

At their meeting on Wednesday, November 8, the GWAEA Board of Directors approved a recommendation to offer an early notification incentive for all staff (including contracted, management, classified, management support, salaried positions) to help support a timely hiring process for 2018-19. 

In prior years the financial incentive for providing the agency with early notification of resignation or retirement was made available only to contracted and management staff, due primarily to the limitations of hiring for these positions during a small window of time as staff were concluding an old contract and signing a new one for their positions. Historically, the agency's ability to recruit non-contract positions has been consistently reliable, which is one of the reasons a similar incentive has not been offered for these positions. Now, the area is experiencing labor-market growth and low unemployment, and the number of potential and eligible candidates for some of the agency's non-contract positions has begun to decline. This newly approved recommendation will help the agency proactively fill all positions in a timely manner.


To participate in this incentive, interested staff members must complete a full work year of agency service for 2017-18, and must commit to resigning or retiring at the end of this current work year, in writing, to Human Resources between November 9, 2017, and January 9, 2018. If the retirement or resignation is accepted by the board no later than its regular meeting on January 10, 2018, the staff member will receive an incentive of $1,500, payable to them on June 29, 2018 (conditional upon the staff member satisfactorily completing his or her employment obligations for the year).

In summary:

  • The GWAEA Board of Directors has approved a $1,500 early notification incentive for eligible staff (those who complete one full work year of agency service) who provide early notification of their retirement or resignation.

  • Eligible staff who intend to resign or retire at the end of the 2017-18 work year must notify HR in writing before 4:30 p.m. on January 9, 2018 (email notice is acceptable).

Staff with questions about the incentive are welcome to contact the HR office at x6703.

GWAEA Staff Contribute Over $17,000 to United Way Campaign


We had a final surge of donations through our workplace campaign and are pleased to share that our official total from this year's workplace campaign was $17,579.96! Thank you so much for your support!"


Our staff's achievement shows that advancing the common good within our community is something we can all do through giving, advocating and volunteering. Together, united, we can inspire hope and create opportunities for a better tomorrow. Thank you again for your continued support.


Grant Wood AEA Chief Administrator Joe Crozier


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. This year our staff contributions totalled nearly $13,000 for the
United Way of East Central Iowa and the United Way of Johnson and Washington counties.

Joe and Dee Crozier

Honoring Veterans Day, Nov. 11

Thank you to the men and women who have served or are currently serving our country, and protecting our freedom.


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:

Celebrate American Education Week: Nov. 13-17

The National Education Association’s (NEA) 96th annual American Education Week (AEW) presents all of us with an opportunity to celebrate public education and honor individuals who are making a difference in ensuring every child receives a quality education.

American Education Week schedule with children in a classroom.

The theme of the 2017 American Education Week is “Public Schools For All.”
American Education Week was first celebrated in 1921 with NEA and the American Legion as co-sponsors. The original goal of American Education Week—to generate public awareness and support for education—continues today.


For more information about American Education Week, visit

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)

Our Condolences...

  • to Rick Smith on the passing of his grandmother, Dorothy Smith, on Nov. 1. Services were held in Wataga, Illinois on Saturday, Nov. 4. Rick is a GWAEA van driver.

  • to Janet Greene on the passing of her father, Erwin E. Post, on Nov. 1. Services were held

    Nov. 4 at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Titonka. Janet is a GWAEA currriculum consultant


  • to Stuart Weinbrenner on the passing of his mother, Christine Weinbrenner, on Nov. 7. Visitation and a Celebration Of Life service will be held Sunday, Nov. 12, at Powell Funeral Home in Williamsburg. Visitation from 2:00-4:00 p.m. and the Celebration of Life service at 4:00 p.m. Stuart is a GWAEA printing technician.

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.

Promising Practices in Family and School Partnerships

Iowa Department of Education logo

Are there exciting and innovative programs going on in your school related to family and school partnerships? Would you like to be recognized by the Iowa Department of Education for these programs?

Application for this recognition involves four steps:


If you have questions, please contact Kim Drew, Family and Educator Partnership Consultant ( or Deb Chiodo, Family and School Partnership Project Coordinator, ASK Resource (

Phyllis Yager Memorial Diversity Teaching Award

Application deadline: Feb. 26, 2018

The Phyllis A. Yager Memorial Commitment to Diversity Award recognizes educators who go above and beyond the required curriculum to increase diversity awareness. Recipients receive a monetary award to further diversity initiatives or professional development, and are asked to make a presentation to The University of Iowa College of Education community during the College of Education Diversity Committee’s annual Beyond Tolerance Diversity Conference on April 6, 2018.


Phyllis Yager devoted her career to advocating multicultural opportunities and gender-affirming activities through her work as a teacher in the
Iowa City School District and later as a consultant with Grant Wood Area Education Agency.


Phyllis Yager received a Master of Arts in 1953 and a doctorate in 1983 from the UI. She is the late wife of Science Education Professor Emeritus Robert E. Yager, who also received a Master of Arts in 1953 and a doctorate in 1957 from the U of I.


Dr. Robert Yager stands by a photo of Phyllis Yager

The grant application and further description of award amounts can be found through
The University of Iowa College of Education Diversity Committee website:
The application deadline is Feb. 26, 2018 and can be mailed to College of Education Diversity Committee, Office of the Dean, 459 Lindquist Center, Iowa City, Iowa 52242 or emailed to

For information, contact Lianne Gann, the College of Education Diversity Committee Graduate Assistant.

Student Loan Relief

IS Loan Solutions logo

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.

Lunch and Learn graphic with holiday dinner

Weight Watchers At Work

Session to Begin - Nov. 21, 2017

Weight Watchers @ Work Program logo

We are in danger of losing our on-site meetings unless we have 5 more registrations!

GWAEA staff, family and friends of Grant Wood AEA are invited to join Weight Watchers through the Grant Wood AEA At Work program.


At-Work Membership Benefits

  • GWAEA, Northern Facility, Tuesday - weigh-in 4:30 p.m. / meeting 4:45 - 5:15 p.m.

  • Meetings at any community WW location are also available to you

  • Private FaceBook community

  • At-Work Leader Support

Both options payable at time of registration

   1) one check or credit card payment
   2) write 3 checks, which will each be deposited during different weeks of the session

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

Grant Wood AEA Summer Leadership Symposium

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


STAR Autism Program Training, Nov. 15, 2017

STAR Autism Program Training, Nov. 15, 2017

GWAEA Mathematics Professional Learning Courses 2017-2018

GWAEA Mathematics Professional Learning Courses 2017-2018


December 2017

Teacher Clarity: Learning Intentions and Success Criteria, Day 1: Dec. 5
Day 2: March 1

Teacher Clarity: Learning Intentions and Success Criteria, Day 1: Dec. 5
Day 2: March 1

Leading the Learning: Enhancing Math Teaching K-5, Dec. 14, 2017

Leading the Learning: Enhancing Math Teaching K-5, Dec. 14, 2017



January 2018

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

Teaching Transparently

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

Making Math Learning Visible - Elementary Grades

Jan. 24, 2018

Making Math Learning Visible - Elementary Grades

Jan. 24, 2018

Mindfulness 101

Mindfulness 101: Changing Your Relationship with Stress

February 2018

Math Interventions and Assessments for Elementary Students
Feb. 1, 2018

Math Interventions and Assessments for Elementary Students
Feb. 1, 2018

Rigorus Reading

Feb. 15, 2018

21st Century Homework Practices Connected to Grading and Re-Do's
Feb. 6, 2018

The ELL Critical Data Process, Feb. 8, 2018

Using the ELL Critical Data Process in Early Childhood and Preschool

Feb. 9, 2017

The ELL Critical Data Process, Feb. 8, 2018

Using the ELL Critical Data Process in Early Childhood and Preschool

Feb. 9, 2017

Rigorus Reading

Feb. 15, 2018

Rigorous Reading

Feb. 15, 2018

Visible Learning: Using the SOLO Taxonomy for Student Engagement

Feb. 27, 2018

Visible Learning: Using the SOLO Taxonomy for Student Engagement

Feb. 27, 2018



March 2018

Practical Strategies for Strengthening the Teaching and Learning of Secondary Mathematics
March 27, 2018

Practical Strategies for Strengthening the Teaching and Learning of Secondary Mathematics
March 27, 2018



April 2018

Meaningful Engagement in the Classroom, School and Community
April 9, 2018

Meaningful Engagement in the Classroom, School and Community
April 9, 2018

A Developmental Framework for Evidence-Based Practices for Autism Spectrum
April 25, 2018

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.

key with McGrath shamrock keyring

key with blue plastic horizontal keyring


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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