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The Bulletin Board

Mark Your Calendar:

April 16

2019 Building Bridges Accessible and Assistive Technology Conference

 

April 19
12:00-12:30 p.m.

Eat with us! Embrace Accessible Technologies

 

April 22

11:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Family Lunch and Learn Series

 

April 30

4:00 - 4:30 p.m.

BOAST Autism Seminar Series

 

May 6

2018-2019 TQ Date

 

May 24

Early release at 3 p.m.,

Memorial Day

 

2019-2020
Aug. 6-7 (Tues-Wed) and
Aug. 12-13 (Mon-Tues)

New Staff Orientation

 

Wednesday, Aug. 14

All Agency Meeting - Solon


Aug. 15-16 (Thursday-Friday)

PD Palooza


In This issue:

On the Road with John Speer - Science
The Big Picture
April is OT Month
Rolling out A-B-Cs to Expand GWAEA Staff Knowledge of Accessibility, Branding and Content Creation
Reminder: 2019 Building Bridges Accessible and Assistive Technology Conference, April 16
The Grant Wood AEA health insurance annual enrollment opportunity will be coming soon
GWAEA Staff Recognition and Partnerships Banquet, May 9
Retirement Celebration
GWAEA GROW
Chair Massage schedule for April and May
Corridor Corporate Games
YMCA April newsletter
Eat with us! Embrace Accessible Technologies
Family Lunch and Learn Series
BOAST Autism Series
GWAEA Professional Learning Opportunities
Lost and Found

 

Agency Advisory Minutes

Grant Wood AEA Staff Openings

The GWAEA Board Book

The GWAEA Board Minutes

GWAEA GROW

 

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



On the Road with John Speer

Science

I’ve already had a chance to get a closer look at our VAST material kits that we send out to districts, but last week I had a chance to learn more about the curriculum support that goes along with them.

On the Road with John Speer - Grant Wood AEA

Science Curriculum Consultant Christopher Soldat was leading the second session of a two-day professional learning on planetary science when I joined him at our 33rd Ave. building. Christopher led the group of teachers attending that day through a review of how their students were progressing through their 7th grade curriculum so far, and then walked through the investigations or hands on learning opportunities that were coming up in the curriculum.

 

Christopher Soldat and John Speer discuss science curriculum. Christopher Soldat and John Speer discuss science curriculum.

 

I was following along with the FOSS curriculum during Christopher’s review, and it was easy to see the value the agency is providing teachers with this approach to teacher support. As Christopher pointed out, our rural teachers who might be the district’s only science teacher are getting lessons, materials and insights on how to teach the lessons from Grant Wood AEA. This means the teacher can focus on instruction and assessment, and not worry about gathering supplies for an upcoming unit or finding time to brush up his knowledge on something like planetary science. I also learned that our larger districts benefit from our support as well - Cedar Rapids districts participate in our program for grades K-5, Iowa City for grades K-6, and Linn-Mar and College Community for grades K-8.


The state adopted the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) recently, which has required significant learning for both new and returning K-12 science teachers. GWAEA has recently updated all its K-8 science curriculum to align to the NGSS, to meet our districts’ need for high quality science curriculum. I’m confident we have the right structures in place to help them succeed.


The Big Picture

Our third offer for the position of Regional Administrator has been extended, and we are pleased to share with you that Amy Beach will be joining our team this summer.

GWAEA The Big Picture graphic

Amy is currently serving as a PK-4 principal at College Community’s Prairie Ridge, and previously worked as associate principal at College Community’s Prairie Point Middle School and 9th grade Academy. Amy was also an attendance facilitator with Kennedy High School, Cedar Rapids School District.


Please join us in congratulating Amy and welcoming her to the Grant Wood AEA team.


Enhanced participation for all learners is the heart of OT services

April is Occupational Therapy Month

 

The GWAEA Occupational Therapy Team, left to right: Carole Martin, Ann Marie Dworzynski, Pat Fehlberg, Stephanie Lyman, Patty Soldner, Buffy Johnson, Audrey White, LeAnn Trana, Amy Grahs, Anne Stupar, Teresa Hamilton Garrett, Naomi Schield, Sarah Miller, Monica Packard, MacKena Van Brogen, Patty Holzmiller, Tabatha Ohl, Lauri Jennisch, Christina Carlson, and Traci Pepin.  

The GWAEA Occupational Therapy Team, left to right: Carole Martin, Ann Marie Dworzynski, Pat Fehlberg, Stephanie Lyman, Patty Soldner, Buffy Johnson, Audrey White, LeAnn Trana, Amy Grahs, Anne Stupar, Teresa Hamilton Garrett, Naomi Schield, Sarah Miller, Monica Packard, MacKena Van Brogen, Patty Holzmiller, Tabatha Ohl, Lauri Jennisch, Christina Carlson, and Traci Pepin.  

 

Promoting participation and increasing independence for all learners is at the heart of the services provided by GWAEA’s occupational therapists.


The GWAEA occupational therapists work closely with teachers and other education team members in schools, homes and childcare centers, and they nimbly shift their focus depending on their environment and the needs of the student. They might focus on both coaching and capacity building with our districts, and partner to help districts and teachers develop strategies, accommodations, and modifications for students receiving general education and special education service. While students with IEPs receive direct OT services from our team, our staff also are working in the home setting with babies and young children, and teaming closely with parents and caregivers to help realize their child’s priorities.


The team’s support for students cover a range of services including participation in self-care, fine and visual motor activities, play and leisure, work and vocational, positioning, accessibility, assistive technology, self-regulation, and socialization.


Monica Packard and Lauri Jennisch, GWAEA occupational therapy leads, shared that all of the agency’s OTs enjoy working with students in their natural environments, which might include the art classroom or the cafeteria; at a park outing with a toddler; or with a student using assistive technology while participating in a small group literacy activity. Monica and Lauri shared that the team takes pride in providing strategies to promote participation and increase independence for all learners, and seeing their support make an impact on students.  


In the Future

The GWAEA occupational therapy team has prepared themselves for an expanding role in supporting students.

  • In the current technology context, the occupational therapists offer a unique perspective in the areas of UDL (universal design for learning) and AEM (accessible educational materials).  

  • Statewide, Iowa AEA occupational therapists have prioritized working with students with multiple disabilities as a focus for the current year, and that focus will shift slightly in 2019-20 to include attention to working with students on post-secondary transition.

  • The GWAEA OT team also is increasing their ability to share digital and paper resources with their educational partners that feature synthesized, evidence-based information in an easily consumed, graphic format.

  • Additionally, the GWAEA occupational therapists recently updated the agency’s Staff Distribution Center (SDC) thematic iPads with applications for educators to trial. The iPads are organized by written language accommodations, fine motor skill development, and instruction and play activities (many switch-accessible) for students with multiple disabilities. These iPads will be available for check out soon.  

Congratulations to GWAEA’s occupational therapists for their work with children, families and educators!


Rolling out A-B-Cs to Expand GWAEA Staff Knowledge of Accessibility, Branding and Content Creation

Our agency is a visible partner with school districts and entities around the state, and as we support teachers, administrators, and students, we also broadly share our materials and information we’ve curated and created.


The AEA is launching a new initiative to help ensure the content created and shared by agency staff meets basic standards related to copyright law, branding, and accessibility. We’re calling it “A-B-C” and it’s a focus on accessibility, branding and content creation and curation.


As an agency, we will spend the next year helping staff understand their role in supporting this work. Through a series of training sessions scheduled this fall and through 2020, staff will learn that:

  • Providing materials that meet established accessibility guidelines is an expectation of a special education organization, and we have to model best practice. We will support staff by introducing information about how to create accessible materials, and will create job aids and training guides to help staff understand how to ensure their materials meet the needs of their audiences.

  • We have found a lack of understanding of copyright and trademark law as it relates to our training and communication materials. Alternatively, we’ve found repeated issues with GWAEA materials being used by other organizations without properly citing the materials as the intellectual property of the agency. We will provide a structure and supports to help staff understand what it means to develop materials that meet the agency’s brand standards.

  • While we have much improved in our use of agency branding in our materials, we know that staff would appreciate additional templates and guidance structure on what ‘meets brand standards.’

Watch this short video to learn more about A-B-C, and watch for additional information to be shared beginning this fall at PD-Palooza. For more information, contact an ABC team member: Renee Nelson, Lynn Kleinmeyer or Maggie Pickett.

 

 


Reminder... 2019 Building Bridges Accessible and Assistive Technology Conference is Tuesday, April 16

Sixth St. parking, Wi-Fi, break rooms, and restrooms will be impacted

More than 200 educators will participate in the 2019 Building Bridges Accessible and Assistive Technology Conference planned at the Grant Wood AEA Sixth St. facility on April 16.

 

Staff at Sixth St. are requested to plug their laptops into an Ethernet connection. This will help with the load on the wireless system, and will be a faster connection for staff.

Building Bridges

A reminder that parking, break rooms, and restrooms will be impacted. Staff are encouraged to park on the east (back) side of the parking lot. The conference will utilize many of the agency's common spaces. Please help us make our guests feel welcome.


The Grant Wood AEA health insurance annual enrollment opportunity will be coming soon

Wellmark has a tool available for assistance. myWellmark® helps you plan, decide and save!

Wellmark

Annual enrollment is almost here! And while it can be tempting to keep the same benefits you had last year, you may have even better options available to you. Fortunately, you also have myWellmark: a tool that can help you make smart benefit choices and save big money — and it’s right at your fingertips.

 

How does myWellmark work? Choosing health benefits can be overwhelming: There’s lots to think about, and lots of important decisions to make. But with the member portal myWellmark, you can get fast access to all of your benefits information in one secure place. And, you can find tools that help you analyze and plan your spending … all of which can help you choose the coverage that’s right for you.

 

What tools can help me during annual enrollment? When you log in to myWellmark, you’ll find an easy-to-navigate user dashboard that will point you to a suite of tools for smart choices and savings.


• Generate year-to-date spending reports. Use the reports to see what you and your family have spent on care. You may find that you currently have too much coverage and can select a more cost-effective plan.

• Shop for planned procedures. Does anyone you cover have a medical procedure coming up? You can compare costs from quality local providers, which can help you set aside funds for future spending and pay less overall.

• Check drug costs. Are you or a family member taking any new medications? Do you think you may this year? Review the costs of medications at your preferred pharmacy so you can choose the right coverage and plan for future spending.

 

What else can myWellmark do? Not just for annual enrollment, myWellmark is a great tool to have at your your fingertips all year round. With myWellmark, you can:


• Access your Wellmark ID card on the go … no more digging through your purse or wallet!
• Find doctors, hospitals and pharmacies in your network
• Track detailed claim statuses
• See how close you are to meeting your deductible and out-of-pocket maximums
• Use fingerprint and facial recognition for easy mobile login

 

Want more from your coverage? Use myWellmark to choose the plan that’s right for you! Register today at myWellmark.com, download the free app, and log in now to explore all the tools and savings. REGISTER NOW


Reminder: Reservations are due May 2

GWAEA Staff Recognition and Partnerships Banquet
Thursday, May 9, 2019

GWAEA Staff Recognition and Partnerships Banquet

All employees with 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, 40 or 45 years of employment with
GWAEA, retirees, and persons nominated and selected by agency staff will be honored.

 

Congratulations to the following award recipients:

Bob and Rich Butikofer/Volunteers at VAST Center - Friend of Education
Daniel Sackett, Technology Systems Technician - Caring Colleague
Brenda Hayes, Level 2/3 Sp Ed Teacher, North Cedar Community - Education Partner

Cliff Ehlinger, Grant Wood AEA Leadership for Learning

 

Bella Sala, 205 S. Park Rd., Tiffin

Social Hour: 5:00 p.m.
Dinner: 6:00 p.m.

Register and Reserve a Table Online

 

The Evening's Menu:
Roast beef, zesty chicken, baked potato, green bean
almondine, Caesar salad, fresh fruit, dinner rolls, coffee,
ice tea & water, and assorted desserts

Cost: GWAEA board members and employees: $13; spouses, friends and retired staff: $25 per person

 

Checks may be made payable to Grant Wood AEA.​

 

 





GWAEA GROW logo

 

Chair Massage Schedule for April and May

Cedar Rapids: April 17, May 1, May 15 and May 29. Contact Stacy Murphy to schedule.

Coralville: A link to a shared registration doc is available from Sue Heath.

 

Corridor Corporate Games

Corridor Corporate Games registration

The GROW Committee is excited to launch the Corridor Corporate Games registration link.

Each employee or retiree interested in participating in the events will set up a personal dashboard.  Events include individual sports, team sports, family-friendly events, and volunteer events.

 

Registration Useful Information

Corporate Corridor Games GWAEA Registration Code:  CCGGWAEA

Corridor Corporate Games Link  

 

Employee Registration
Employees can access Corporate Games Manager by clicking the “Dashboard” button in the upper right corner of the Corridor Corporate Games website.  There is also a link on the main page that can be used (“Employees | Click Here to Set Up an Account and Access Your Dashboard”). Employees can click “New User Register Here” and set up their account using your company code.  

 

Questions:  Contact Corridor Corporate Challenge Administrators, Kim Martin (kmartin@gwaea.org or x 6710) or Peggy Pearson (ppearson@gwaea.org).

 

YMCA April Newsletter

Please see the YMCA April newsletter for upcoming events, featuring:

YMCA

  • New material for Les Mills group exercise classes – BodyFlow and BodyAttack

  • Healthy Kids Day – April 27

  • Parent’s Night out – April 13

  • Mother Daughter Weekend at YMCA Camp Wapsie

  • Experience the Outdoors – out-of-camp adventure trips

  • Camp Wapsie Wish List – share your extra supplies

  • Other events and specials

Questions? Contact Hope Runge, GWAEA YMCA corporate contact.


Eat with us! Embrace Accessible Technologies

 

EAT with Us! - Embrace Accessible Technologist

The Eat with us! schedule PDF

 

Mark your calendar:

April 19, 2019, 12:00-12:30 p.m.

5 Gotta Have Chrome Extensions for the English Learner

May 3, 2019 - Self-Advocacy for AT
May 17, 2019UDL & the Expert Learner

 

Join future presentations using Zoom:
https://tinyurl.com/atlunch-learn
Or in Zoom, Meeting ID = 703 027 4197


Can’t attend live? Recorded webcasts will be posted:
https://tinyurl.com/eatwebcast

 

For more information, contact Julie Freed or
Maggie Pickett.


Family Lunch and Learn Series

Supports & Strategies for Children with Autism at Home and in the Community

 

The remaining Family Lunch and Learn session for the year is planned:

 

April 22, 2019, 11:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m.
Topic:
Extending Learning Outside School (summer break, neighborhood, friends, vacation, etc) with

Monica Ryan-Rausch, GWAEA autism consultant

 

The session co-hosts are Sara Kane and/or
Jen Cira-Debban, GWAEA FEP representatives.

https://tinyurl.com/FEPautismLL


 

Family Lunch and Learn Series

Family Lunch and Learn schedule


BOAST Autism Seminar Series

 

The last BOAST Autism Seminar Series presentation for 2019-2020 is scheduled for April 30 on the topic of Transitions. Visit the Google Doc to access session archives. For information, contact Kelli Robertson or Lindsay Swartzendruber.


GWAEA Professional Learning Workshops

Grant Wood AEA Professional Learning offers a variety of workshops as well as courses for credit throughout the year. Please check the website for a list of courses and workshops. Below is a highlight of PD workshops with national and regional presenters. Please register electronically. Payment is due at the time of registration.

 

April 2019

5th Annual Standards-Based Grading Conference:
Developing a
Culture of Learning
April 15, 2019
April 16, 2019 - optional

5th Annual Standards-Based Grading Conference:
Developing a
Culture of Learning
April 15, 2019

April 16, 2019 - optional


Using Data to Strengthen Your School Improvement Efforts
April 4, 2019

Building Bridges Accessible and Assistive
Technology Conference
“Making Learning Awesome for All”
April 16, 2019

Early Emergent Literacy Instruction for Students With Significant Disabilities and Communication Needs

Feb. 12, 2019 and
March 27, 2019

Early Emergent Literacy Instruction for Students With Significant Disabilities and Communication Needs

April 22, 2019 and
May 30, 2019



Substitute Authorization Class
2018-2019

Substitute Authorization Class
2018-2019


 

June 2019

BASES Conference
June 10-11, 2019

BASES Conference
June 10-11, 2019

School Garden 101
June 10-12, 2019

School Garden 101
June 10-12, 2019


 

September 2019

Visible Learningplus 
John Hattie, Peter DeWitt
Oct. 16, 2019

2019-2020 Principal Leadership Program

 


 

October 2019

Visible Learningplus 
John Hattie, Peter DeWitt
Oct. 16, 2019

Visible Learningplus
John Hattie, Peter DeWitt
Oct. 16, 2019

 



Evaluator Approval Information

Professional Administrator Licenses require approved Evaluator Approval coursework as a part of the licenses renewal credits. Various course options are available throughout the state. 
A listing of upcoming courses is available on the AEA Course catalog or on the DE website

 

Lost and Found:


See Cathy Nelson at the switchboard to claim.

 

gold bracelet   teal and purple bracelet


 

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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