Grant Wood AEA logo  
The Bulletin Board

In This issue:

Updating How We Reference GWAEA VITAL and Off-Site Programs
Welcome, New GWAEA Staff
Lunch and Learns planned in October for launch of iOS11 for iPads, iPhones
Child Find Site has Moved
MackinVIA eBooks for Beginners
Security Awareness Training Surveys Coming Out to GWAEA Staff 
Our Condolences
IPERS Retirement Planning Sessions
Discovery Education STEM Leadership Symposium, Oct. 5
Feed the Need Lunchbox Fundraiser
Improve Your Student Loan Situation
GWAEA GROW News/Upcoming Events
National Healthy Lunch Day
GWAEA Professional Development Opportunities
Buy, Sell or Trade


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

Updating How We Reference GWAEA VITAL and Programs at River Ridge

GWAEA VITAL and Programs at River Ridge staff

(Staff members from GWAEA VITAL and Off-Site Programs: Heidi Gaeta, Katie Pahlas, Jill Ries, Crystal Davis, Phil Worden, Shelley Faidley, Emily Bruemmer, Ken Lee, Annie Dale, Elizabeth Gants, Keith Gatrost, Mary Disterhoft, Lu Jackson, Cyndi Strang, Katie Young, Denise Moen, Abbey Williams, Andrea Haldy, Marica Booth, Sue Sickels, John Berning, Erika Zanka, Sheri Lynch, Colleen Rivera, Randy Perkins, Brenda Cooley, Pam Paulson, Todd Slater, Lisa Haverkamp. Not pictured: Shana Wagner, Behavior Coach)

This year we will update the way we reference some of our programs to better match the way our services are delivered.

VITAL Services

As most staff know, VITAL is an acronym for Vocational Individualized Training And Learning Services. VITAL is a network of support services that’s provided for students by Grant Wood Area Education Agency staff at the Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids. VITAL services are designed to meet the individual needs of some high school students receiving special education services as they transition to a post secondary institution and continue on their path toward independence.  

Our VITAL services continue to be an important part of our GWAEA support for school districts, and this year our districts have seen some changes related to the program that align with new guidance for these programs from the Iowa Department of Education. Just as we differentiate accommodations and needs for each student based on the student’s IEP, we are putting additional guidance in place to help ensure that VITAL services are aligned to the student’s individual needs in his or her goal areas, which might include academic, social/behavioral, and work-based goals. Students will receive support services through VITAL when district IEP teams determine which specific services a student is eligible for based on his or her specific needs. In alignment with new guidance from the state, VITAL is not designed to be one year of college or a scholarship for students with IEPs.

GWAEA and other AEAs from around the state are educating LEAs about this approach to ensure there is a common understanding about this important difference, and we’ll continue working with LEA and AEA staff to ensure a clear understanding of what this change looks like in counseling districts and parents during IEP meetings.

Grant Wood AEA Off-Site Programs located at River Ridge

For several years GWAEA staff and our LEA partners have referenced individual programs like S.E.A.D, Life Skills and A.W.A.R.E when referring to  the off-site programs staffed and managed by GWAEA located at 4050 River Ridge Drive. Going forward, we will remove those individual names and simply reference the services collectively as the GWAEA Behavior Program.  The location of the services will remain at River Ridge. This simple change will help ease any potential complications that might arise with staffing and billing related to these services.


Please contact your Regional Administrator or Lisa Haverkamp, VITAL services RA if you have questions.

Welcome, New GWAEA Staff



Rachel Schlee
Special Education Consultant

M.A., Morningside College

Rachel's background includes a teaching position with the Des Moines Public Schools, 2011-2017




Michelle Schnath
School Psychologist

Ed.S., Western Illinois University

Michelle completed a school psychology intern position with the North Colonie Central School District.




Ashley Staner
Early Education Consultant

B.A., Loras College

Ashley's background includes as a preschool teacher with Key West Early Childhood Center, Inc., 2009-2014, and as a third-grade teacher with the Midland Community School District, 2014-2017.




Sarah Svejda
Special Education Consultant

M.A., Morningside College

Sarah worked for the Cedar Rapids School District as an off-site teacher, seven years; facilitator, three years; and as a special education instructional coach, one year.




Lindsay Swartzendruber
Autism Consultant

M.A., Morningside College

Lindsay previously worked as a special education teacher at College Community's Prairie Point Middle School & 9th Grade Academy for eight years.




Andrea Townsley
School Improvement Consultant

M.A., Graceland University

Andrea's background includes positions as an instructional coach and PD leader for three years, and as a fourth-grade teacher for eight years, both with the Benton Community School District.




Kara Wesner
Curriculum Consultant – SPEL

M.A., Graceland University

Kara was an elementary special education teacher at Lisbon Community School District, 2013-2017.




Abbey Williams

Abbey previously worked at English Valleys High School as a paraeducator, 2015-2017.




Erin Witek
School Psychologist

Ed.S., University of Iowa

Erin is a graduate student at the University of Iowa pursuing a Ph.D. in school psychology with plans to graduate in the spring of 2019.

Meet our new staff features will continue in upcoming issues of The Bulletin Board.

Mark Your Calendar...

Digital Learning Consultants planning Lunch and Learns in October for launch of iOS11 for iPads, iPhones

On Sept. 19, Apple is releasing iOS 11 for iPads and iPhones. Although you do not need to update immediately when prompted by your device, the new update does have a number of very useful features for GWAEA staff such as screen recording, better multitasking, document scanning, drag and drop, screenshot annotations, and more. If you are interested in learning more about these new additions, consider signing up for one of the lunch and learn sessions that are being scheduled for the first couple of weeks in October, or contact one of the Digital Learning Consultants.


Child Find Site Has Moved

The Grant Wood Child Find Site has been updated and now is available! 

Special Education Resources

The new site houses information about Child Find and also Child Found. There are special education resources for both completing the child find process as well as working with special education teacher and IEP resources. Included are such favorites as IDM docs and now the IEP binder of resources we give out to all new special education teachers. The site is available to all GWAEA staff at the following tinyurl: Please bookmark this resource!  

MackinVIA eBooks for Beginners

If you’ve never used eBooks before with students and are unclear what MackinVIA is, this session is for you. Beginners are welcome.


In just one hour, you will learn how to:

• Create your personal account
• Access reader features
• Checkout books for yourself and students
• Integrate books into your curriculum

Join Deanna Weber for one of session options  below to attend a 1 hour workshop to get started.
eBooks and Your Curriculum for Elementary School Teachers - October 12 7:30 - 8:30 a.m.
eBooks and Your Curriculum for Elementary School Teachers - October 12 3:30 - 4:30 p.m.
eBooks and Your Curriculum For Secondary School Teachers - October 11 7:30 - 8:30 a.m.
eBooks and Your Curriculum For Secondary School Teachers - October 11 3:30 - 4:30 p.m.


  • to Andrew Lapel (paraeducator at GWAEA Offsite Behavior Programs, Classroom #1) and his wife Chandran (school-based Mental Health Therapist at Tanager Place) are pleased to announce the birth of their daughter, Landry James Lapel. Landry was born Friday 9/8 at 7:57 p.m., weighing 7 lbs. 2 oz. and 19.5 inches long.

infant shoes

Security Awareness Training Surveys Coming Out to GWAEA Staff 

Grant Wood AEA logo

Grant Wood AEA is working with the information security and privacy firm ProCircular to deliver a security awareness training during GWAEA regional meetings this fall.


As preparation for this training, ProCircular would like each training attendee to first complete a 13-question, multiple choice pre-training questionnaire. The questionnaire is anonymous and should take approximately 10 minutes to complete. Questionnaire results will provide a helpful baseline for tracking training effectiveness.

Staff will receive an email from Renee Nelson inviting them to complete the survey. We appreciate your support in completing the survey as we work on this important initiative. 

Our Condolences...

  • to Lisa Twedt and family on the passing of her father, William (Bill) Anderson, on Sept. 9. Friends may call at Cedar Memorial Park Funeral Home from 5:00-6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 14. Services will be at 10:30 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 15, at Our Savior's Lutheran Church, Cedar Rapids. Lisa was a GWAEA graphic designer, retiring in 2014.


  • to the family of Bonnie Albertson, who passed away on Sept. 1 at Spirit Lake, Iowa.
    A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 5, at Mini-Wakan State Park in Spirit Lake, followed by a celebration, as Bonnie wanted. Bonnie was a GWAEA school social worker, August 1989 and retiring in June 2001.

IPERS Retirement Planning Sessions

Iowa Public Employees' Retirement System logo

Get detailed information about your retirement account by speaking with an IPERS representative during an individual appointment. Learn about possible retirement dates, benefit option payouts, and service purchase options. These retirement planning sessions are an excellent resource if you are thinking of retirement in the next 5 years.


Individual Appointments:
Nov. 27, 28, 29 & 30, 2017


Cedar Rapids

Location: Residence Inn
1900 Dodge Rd NE
Cedar Rapids 

Individual Appointments:
Dec. 4, 5, 6 & 7, 2017



Location: Country Inn & Suites
2571 Heartland Pl


Pre-Registration is needed to attend an individual appointment.


Visit the IPERS website for a complete listing of the Statewide Individual Counseling Sessions.


To schedule an individual appointment contact IPERS at 1-800-622-3849. Appointment times will fill quickly. Please do not delay in calling to set up an appointment.

Feed the Need Lunchbox Fundraiser

Join us for the September Lunchbox Fundraiser being offered Sept. 19, 20, and 21. Businesses, organizations, and individuals can order lunches for only $12 and have them delivered. $6 of each meal goes directly to help feed adults who are homebound and area children in need. To order for yourself, your group or your event contact Cathy Nelson,
ext. 6544. To order for a Southern Facility delivery on Sept. 21, contact Sue Heath, ext. 1137.

Feed The Need 2017 Fall Lunchbox Fundraiser logo

Send your choice and payment (cash or check made payable to Horizons Lunchbox) to the attention of Cathy Nelson, Sixth Street front , or Sue Heath for Southern Facility.)


Orders need to be submitted in advance so please use the following schedule to assure you get a lunch on the day you choose.


To get a lunch on Tuesday, Sept. 19 order by 4:00 p.m., Friday, the 15th

To get a lunch on Wednesday, Sept. 20 order by 3:00 p.m., Monday, the 18th

To get a lunch on Thursday, Sept. 21 order by 3:00 p.m., Tuesday, the 19th 


Feed The Need 2017 Fall Lunchbox Fundraiser logo menu

Discovery Education STEM Leadership Symposium, Oct. 5

Discovery Education is hosting TWO STEM Leadership Symposiums in early October. Dr. Cindy Moss, vice-presidentof Global STEM Initiatives, brings a wealth of knowledge—and passion—in the area of STEM. Target audience: Superintendent, District Level Administrators, or Building Leaders with a passion for STEM.

Discovery Education logo

Iowa City
Thursday, Oct. 5, 2017

9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

*Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. Lunch will be provided.

Location: Liberty High School, 1400 S. Dubuque St. North Liberty

Click Here for Information and to RSVP for Iowa City. A tour of the new Liberty High School is planned after lunch on Oct. 5.

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.


Are you looking for recycled surplus office supplies? 
Please donate items that no longer bring you joy to your favorite charity (i.e., coffee mugs, t-shirts, outdated books)

recycle symbol

Reuse or Recycle the following items:

Sixth Street facility: Shelf in the hallway between Van Distribution and the Dock for:

  • surplus binders

  • rubber bands

  • interoffice envelopes

  • desk organizer

Contact: Rene Van Gerpen, ext. 6743,


Creative Services area in the Sixth Street facility

  • green hanging folders (8.5x11 and 8.5x14)

  • plastic tabs (long and short) and inserts / surplus tabs should be separated into long/short and remove insert

  • paperclips (standard and large, separated)

  • scratch paper and pads

  • 3-ring binders - binders will be sorted/surplus binders available on

  • surplus shelf in hallway

  • pocket folders

  • manila folders

Contact:  Hope Runge, ext. 6435,

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.

National Healthy Lunch Day logo

It's a Potluck

Join members of the GROW committee to celebrate the American Diabetes Association’s National Healthy Lunch Day.

Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017
11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.

Sixth Street: Autumn room
Room 500
33rd Avenue:
Staff lunch/break room

Grant Wood AEA staff, bring a healthy dish to share at the National Healthy Lunch Day potluck at one of the three facilities.


Check out the Healthy Swaps Tips


Why is National Healthy Lunch Day so important? Most of us are uncertain about what’s best to eat, what’s healthful and what’s not. Often our food choices are full of calories, yet lack the vitamins and minerals that we need for energy and to feel our best. Our wellness goal is to promote good nutrition as part of a healthy lifestyle and help everyone make better food choices.


Check out 4 easy lunch recipes to inspire you for National Healthy Lunch Day

Weight Watchers At Work

New registrations accepted each week!

Next session starts August 22, 2017

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: Contact Stacy Murphy to schedule.

Coralville: Appointments will resume in Sept. 13. Contact Sue Heath for the registration link.

Save the Date... Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017

GWAEA Team - Especially for You® Race Against Breast Cancer

Team registration is now closed, but individuals can still register until September 30.

Race packets for Team Grant Wood AEA will be available at the Sixth St. facility on Wednesday, Sept. 27, after 10:00 a.m.


Register online

Especially For You Race

News from the YMCA

For information on the following, contact our YMCA Corporate Contact, Deanna Haddy, ext. 6762.

YMCA logo

New GWAEA Employee

Use this link to print the New Employee Voucher. Use this within 30 days of your hire date to sign up for a YMCA membership and we'll waive the JOIN FEE. That's saving you $50-$75.

YMCA New Employee flyer

Everyone Belongs Here!!

Find out the Benefits of a YMCA Membership here to learn about the 15% discount membership rates.

YMCA Corporte Membership

Join a Family

Find out about the Cedar Rapids Metropolitan Area and the five Y locations.

YMCA information


Grant Wood AEA Book Club to meet Oct. 10, 12

Grant Wood AEA Book Club will kick off the year with the book "Someone Like Me: An Unlikely Story of Challenge and Triumph Over Cerebral Palsy" by John W. Quinn. Come join your colleagues in a great discussion about this resource.


gwaea book club

Dec. 5, 12-12:30 p.m. or

Dec. 6, 4:00-4:30 p.m.

Oct. 10, 12 -12:30 p.m. in Media Center Commons
Oct. 12, 4:00-4:30  p.m. in Media Center Commons


Please contact Deanna Weber for further information.

hurricane relief yard sale

For information, contact Eric Cleveland.

Shoe Drive to Benefit
Friends of the Shelter


Friends of the Shelter is hosting
a shoe drive through Oct. 15.


Donate gently worn, used or new shoes.
The collection box will be in the breakroom.


See contact Stacy Murphy for details.


Shoe Drive to Benefit Friends of the Shelter

See flyer for details.

Grant Wood AEA Seminar Series 2017-2018

GWAEA Seminar Series

Fixed Mindset vs. Growth Mindset

AGrowth mindset is a hot topic in the world right now – and rightfully so. It really creates the foundation for great learning and research shows that it can improve our ability to grow and develop in all areas of life. Because of its power companies, sports teams, and schools from all over the world are building it into their culture. Understanding and running with this concept is SO important. But to do that we need to know: what it actually is, how it works, and why it matters.

Oct. 4, 2017
, 1:00-3:30 p.m.


Grant Wood AEA
4401 Sixth Street SW
Cedar Rapids, Iowa


Number: 19502-17-01

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


Grant Wod AEA Seminar Series. Trevor Ragan, Fixed Mindset vs. Growth Mindset

See flyer for details.


Trevor Ragan is on an adventure to challenge and question everything that we think we know about sports, education, and development.

Registration deadline: 6:00 a.m. on Sept. 20, 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























September 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

Document Based Questions (DBQ) Project Workshop Sept. 26, 2017

Document Based Questions (DBQ)

Project Workshop

Sept. 26, 2017

Mindfulness 101

Mindfulness 101: Changing Your Relationship with Stress

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




October 2017

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

Instructional Coaching:
Intersections Between Collaboration, Content and Coaching

Instructional Coaching:
Intersections Between Collaboration, Content and Coaching




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.

Buy, Sell or Trade:

For Sale: Counter height dining room table, with floating leaf, and six chairs. Asking $275.00. If interested, please call or text Erika at 319-899-4221.


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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