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The Bulletin Board

In This issue:

GWAEA PRIDE: Proudly Recognizing Innovation, Dedication & Excellence - Garden at Linn County Juvenile Detention Center
The Big Picture - Managed Services Update
Reminder to Update Emergency Contact Information and Beneficiaries
VAST Center Temporary Help 
The Iowa Department of Education's Each and Every Child e-newsletter
Telehealth Benefit for Our Health Plan Members Expanded
Lunch and Learns planned in October for launch of iOS11 for iPads, iPhones
MackinVIA eBooks for Beginners
Security Awareness Training Surveys Coming Out to GWAEA Staff 
AEA PD Online is now AEA Learning Online
IPERS Retirement Planning Sessions
Improve Your Student Loan Situation
GWAEA GROW News/Upcoming Events
GWAEA Staff Training
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

GWAEA PRIDE: Proudly Recognizing Innovation, Dedication & Excellence

Garden Supports Learning at the Linn County Juvenile Detention Center

Did you see the reference to Grant Wood AEA in Sunday’s Cedar Rapids Gazette article? While it wasn’t specifically referenced in the article, our agency’s work was hiding among the greenery of the gardens that are growing at the Linn County Juvenile Detention Center.

Grant Wood AEA’s Marcia Booth first reached out to our local community to support the idea of growing a garden with students at the detention center last year. “I started by

having a conversation with a naturalist from Wickiup Hill, and she connected me to Scott Koepke, who is a Master Gardener with Grow Johnson County. His energy and enthusiasm for teaching kids at the detention center has been remarkable.”

So remarkable, in fact, that the Cedar Rapids Gazette devoted a large article to Scott’s work at the Detention Center in the Sunday edition, and Meredith Publishing will be featuring his work in an upcoming edition this spring of Country Gardens magazine.

And while the spotlight and media attention are fun way to highlight Scott’s hard work and his dedication for bringing his knowledge to local jails and detention centers, Grant Wood AEA colleagues Marcia Booth, Colleen Rivera,
Lu Jackson and Cyndi Strang are focused on the learning that’s taking root in this garden.

Grant Wood AEA PRIDE

Marcia and her colleagues are helping students connect the common core with their care and upkeep of the seasonal vegetable garden. They note that the kids are learning life science and engineering design by looking at a complex problem that some are familiar with - hunger - and learning ways to break it down and understand how to solve it. The students are learning employability skills through the garden as well. Marcia notes that many kids are showing great interest in the project, and learning leadership and social responsibility through tending to the gardens.

“We’re working on botany, science, and plant life cycle right now, “ said Marcia, “And that naturally transitions into nutrition and healthy living. One young man shared with me that he’s learning a lot about foods he doesn’t usually eat, and it sparked an interest in a career in culinary arts. It’s amazing to watch how this garden is connecting learning for these students.”  Another student at detention who has experienced the garden project through its different stages, said, “I love the fresh produce and getting out of class to be outside and get fresh air.  It was weird and amazing the changes that occurred in the garden from planting and caring to eating tomatoes and cucumbers.  It is a valuable life and coping skill.”

The garden has grown over the past two years due in part to support by our community. Financially, the garden was supported by Hy-Vee Community grants and Linn County Public Health grants.
And physically, the garden has more than doubled in size. Later this month, the students will add hoops onto the garden bed to extend the lettuce season, because, as the students learned from their Master Gardener, they enable you to grow lettuce in Iowa through the winter season if temperatures cooperate.

The Big Picture

Managed Services Update

After a two-year pilot to offer network support as a fee for service to districts, we have expanded our array of offerings to include complete technology services.

GWAEA The Big Picture graphic

This solution provides districts with remote and on-site services at a lower cost than what they would spend to staff in-house and includes solutions such as management for network infrastructure, devices, planning, e-rate, vendors, offsite backup, Google Apps management, and more. Costs for the services are tailored for each district based on the support needed. Currently, Belle Plaine, North Linn, HLV, and Alburnett are utilizing these services with additional districts expressing interest. 

Reminder to Update Emergency Contact Information and Beneficiaries


In the event of an emergency, we want to be sure to have accurate, up-to-date emergency contact information on file for employees.  To ensure that this information is current, employees are asked to review this information annually.  As a reminder, in an emergency situation, we will always try to contact a spouse first, if identified, then Contact 1 or Contact 2.


To update:


Go to GWAEA home page, click on Staff, click on Employee Self Service


Enter username (first initial & last name) and your password (click on green box if you have forgotten your password) 


 Click on Emergency Contacts (found under my information) 


Click on the record you wish to update or Add New Contact 


Click on Save Changes or Delete this Contact

If you have questions or need additional information, please contact the Human Resources Office at ext. 6703.  Thank you for keeping this information current.


Please also remember to update beneficiary information as family changes occur.  Employees designate beneficiaries for the group life and IPERS benefits. Contact Cathy Kearns, Compensation/Benefits, at ext. 6706, to make any beneficiary changes.

VAST Center Temporary Help 


The VAST Science Center is looking for individuals to work on an as-needed basis throughout the school year. Help is needed with replenishing/stocking science kits, or driving a van or rental truck for pick-up and delivery of the kits. Former GWAEA employees who are interested may contact the Human Resources Office at 319-399-6748.  


The Iowa Department of Education's Each and Every Child e-newsletter is designed to inform, educate and challenge those who live and work in the field of special education.


In the October 2017 issue: "When Mitchell descended into the spectrum: Early intervention is giving this boy hope – and a leg up."

Telehealth Benefit for Our Health Plan Members Expanded

Did you know that Grant Wood AEA health plan members have a benefit that allows you to see a doctor anywhere you are?

Doctor On Demand is a virtual visit platform that immediately connects you to a board-certified physician by live video on your smartphone, tablet or computer.


Doctor on Demand physicians are now available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. This allows members with this benefit to schedule their visits before or after their own working hours or on holidays if necessary. (Note: 24/7 availability is not yet available in Louisiana, Massachusetts, Missouri, or North Dakota.)


See and talk to a doctor face-to-face anytime without waiting rooms or having to travel across town. Doctor On Demand can treat many common medical conditions, including:

  1. Colds and flu

  2. Allergies and Asthma

  3. Skin and eye issues

  4. Sore throat

  5. Pediatric issues

  6. Bronchitis and sinus infections  

  7. Urinary tract infections

  8. Diarrhea and vomiting

Top Doctors
Doctor On Demand offers the highest quality care by working only with board-certified medical doctors.


Sign up before you get sick
Be prepared when a urinary tract infection, skin rash, pink eye or influenza strikes.  Log in to myWellmark on your computer to set up your Doctor on Demand account.  Then, download the mobile app from the App Store or Google Play.


You’ll be glad a doctor is only a few taps away on the day you can barely get out of bed. Prescriptions can even be instantly sent to your nearest pharmacy.*


How Does It Work?
Check out the Doctor On Demand YouTube channel.


Doctor On Demand operates subject to state laws and is not currently available in Alaska, Arkansas or Louisiana due to state regulations. Doctor On Demand is not meant to replace an in-person primary care provider visit.


*Doctor On Demand physicians do not prescribe Drug Enforcement Administration controlled substances, and may choose not to treat or prescribe other medications based on what is clinically appropriate.

Mark Your Calendar...

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

On Sept. 19, Apple released 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 about these new additions, consider signing up for one of the lunch and learn sessions that are scheduled for October, or contact one of the Digital Learning Consultants. Check out the video below for a taste of what to expect!


Note: Not all apps will work with iOS 11. Apps that have not been updated for some time will not work. You can check to see if you have any of these apps before you update by going to Settings > General > About > Applications. Apps listed here will not be available to you in iOS 11, but alternatives may exist. In addition, we always recommend you back up your iPad before updating your software. You can do that by going to Settings > iCloud > Backup. Please contact Tech Support if you have any questions.


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.

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 sent each training attendee 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 received 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. 

AEA PD Online is now AEA Learning Online

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.

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.

GROW News/Upcoming Events

Visit the GWAEA Grow website for the following:

- Adult Coloring Books

- Book Club
- Chair Massages

- Community Events

- Financial Fitness

- Gardening

- Healthy Food

- Lunch and Learn

- Mindfulness Class

- Treadmill Desks

- Walking Events

- Weight Watchers

- Wellness Challenge

- Yoga Club


Contact a member of the GROW Team for information.

Visit these Facebook links for upcoming activities and events:

Cedar Rapids Blue Zones Project

Iowa City Blue Zones Project

Marion Blue Zones Project

Blue Zones Project logo

Keep improving your well-being by participating in one of the many Blue Zones Project events in the Cedar Rapids, Marion and Iowa City areas.

Weight Watchers At Work

New registrations accepted each week!

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: 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

 Remember if you sign up for a YMCA membership by end of September (this Saturday), you will save the join fee of $50 or $75. Just show your GWAEA name badge and save 15% off regular membership rates. For information, 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.

Reminder for veteran GWAEA staff: 2 upcoming training activities

Oct. 9, 2017- Experienced AEA & LEA IEP Training with Procedural Update.

Come and invite your LEA friends!
Course number: 19305-17-02

Nov. 7, 2017 - EER Case Study for Veteran Staff

Bring a GW buddy and come and learn!

Course number: 19333-17-01

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. 29, 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



November 2017

Jim Knight's Instructional Coaching Workshops

STAR Autism Program Training



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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