Grant Wood AEA logo  
The Bulletin Board

Mark Your Calendar:

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 3
12:00-12:30 p.m.

Eat with us! Embrace Accessible Technologies


May 24

Early release at 3 p.m.,

Memorial Day


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
GWAEA PRIDE: Monica Packard
Celebrating GWAEA's Support Staff
Building Bridges Educator Award recipients
Employee Insurance Benefits
GWAEA Staff Recognition and Partnerships Banquet, May 9
Retirement Celebration
Chair Massage schedule for April and May
Corridor Corporate Games
Eat with us! Embrace Accessible Technologies
Family Lunch and Learn Series
BOAST Autism Series
GWAEA Professional Learning Opportunities
Buy, Sell or Trade
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

On the Road with John Speer

Linn County Juvenile Detention Center

“You are readers,  you are leaders. You are dreamers, you are thinkers. You are learners, you are important. YOU are the reason we are here.”

On the Road with John Speer - Grant Wood AEA

Welcome to our school. You are readers. You are leaners. You are thinkers.  You are learners. You are the reason we are here.


This banner hangs in a classroom in the Linn County Juvenile Detention Center where several of our staff support the continuing education and learning for young people staying there. I learned that all referrals to the detention center come from law enforcement or the juvenile court system, and the children supported by our staff have broken a law and been deemed a risk to themselves or the community.

The facility houses kids as young as 11 and up to 18 years of age. I was struck by what that means for our staff. That means, in a single classroom, our staff could be supporting a 5th grader and a senior in high school. At the same time.

There are two classrooms in the facility where the teachers lead 45-minute classes each school day. Last week, our GWAEA team was supporting just six students, and on the day of my visit their group grew to 14. Marcia Booth, one of the facility’s teachers, explained to me that some students stay just a few days and others will stay several months, so the teachers focus on teaching units in their lessons - things that a student can jump into one day, and then out of the next, while gaining some information during the time when they’re in the facility.


Marcia Booth, Colleen Rivera, John Speer


Our staff make the most of the time they have with these students. The teachers break up their specializations with Marcia leading science, social studies and math, and Colleen Rivera leading reading, writing, 21st Century skills and PE. Together the teachers, along with paraeducators
Lu Jackson and Cyndi Strang, balance common core requirements with the fact that their student population might not have had much success in school or may be coming from a different place academically. I was impressed that the teams also uses a PBIS structure to help recognize positive behaviors in their students, and have seen improvements as a result.

We have great teams working in all sorts of environments, and this one is certainly no different.  I continue to be impressed by our staff’s ability to flexibly and willingly adapt their methods to adapt to the needs of their students.

GWAEA PRIDE: Proudly Recognizing Innovation, Dedication & Excellence

Congratulations to
Monica Packard, GWAEA occupational therapist, and her colleagues on the State Committee for Self Regulation and Sensory Processing. The committee is the recipient of the Jean Linder award. The award was presented during the State OT/ PT Conference held April 11-12 in Cedar Falls.

Monica Packard

Monica and her colleagues on the state committee were recognized for their work on a sensory position paper that will support AEA and school-based administrators as well as school-based OTs in explaining the area of practice involving sensory processing differences in students in Iowa schools.


"This work closely relates to our practice as GWAEA OTs to help promote participation for all learners," Monica shared. "Through this committee work, I have learned and grown as an OT in practice and it has afforded me the opportunity to share evidence-based practice (EBP) in the area of self-regulation across the state, with our LEAs and within our own AEA through providing professional learning opportunities. I was honored to receive this award and to be recognized by the state for our work!"

Grant Wood AEA PRIDE


This is the fourth year of the award. It is presented in honor of Jean Linder, who was the first OT state lead consultant with the Iowa Department of Education. Recipients of the award are chosen for their dedication toward a project that empowers other Early ACCESS or school-based OTs to improve their practice.


Congratulations, Monica!

Celebrating GWAEA’s Support Staff

April is Administrative Professionals Week

Providing solutions and coordination of projects using alternative options to support agency staff and clients. These are just a few of the attributes that Grant Wood AEA’s Support Staff provides to our agency colleagues on an ongoing basis.

The GWAEA Support Staff is an informal group who meet once a month to learn, share ideas, and plan how to best support the agency staff they serve.

Those who attend these meetings are generally those who support managers, region staff, and other positions around the agency.


“The general focus of these meetings is for those that provide support to region staff and managers,” explained Tara Johannsen, GWAEA Creative Services supervisor. Tara joins Jeanie Wade Nagle as the management links for the support staff. Elizabeth Gants, GWAEA secretary, is currently the support staff lead.

Some of Grant Wood AEA’s Support Staff appearing in the photo include, front row left to right: Merion Sadowitz, Dawn Hrabak, Elizabeth Gants, Susan Krob. Back row: Nicole Clymer, Donna Alger, Kathy Resewehr, Karen Michalec, Lisa Becker, Alyssa Manchester, Molli Cunningham, Michelle Bendickson, Sue Heath, Kim Martin.

Some of Grant Wood AEA’s Support Staff appearing in the photo include, front row left to right: Merion Sadowitz, Dawn Hrabak, Elizabeth Gants, Susan Krob. Back row: Nicole Clymer, Donna Alger, Kathy Resewehr, Karen Michalec, Lisa Becker, Alyssa Manchester, Molli Cunningham, Michelle Bendickson, Sue Heath,
Kim Martin.

“There is also a focus on staff from services around the agency that provide assistance to regional support staff with their services,” Tara continued.

Email communications for this group is a priority, so the support staff are all informed at the same time. “It helps provide consistency,” Tara said.

Assignments within the support staff can change yearly. “Their assignments are first dependent on the assignments of the regional administrator, their support staff services, and then on their workloads,” Tara explained. “The support staff are experts at using constantly changing technologies to refine and improve process efficiencies. At the same time, they collaborate to provide mentoring and guidance support to each other.”

The following video highlighting the work of the support staff was presented to the GWAEA Board of Directors during a presentation at the April board meeting:


Congratulations to the GWAEA Support Staff!

Building Bridges Outstanding Educator Award recipients


Congratulations to the recipients of the 2019 Grant Wood AEA Building Bridges Accessible and Assistive Technology Conference “Making Learning Awesome for All” Outstanding Educator Awards. Front row left to right: Mackenzie Flynn, Mid-Prairie; Denise Moeller, Benton Community; Dani Carter, Marion Independent School District; Julie White, Linn-Mar; and Erin Sheets, Clear Creek Amana.

The awards were presented during the conference on April 16.


GWAEA staff are invited to nominate a general education or special education educator and/or building team in the agency's service area for the awards. Those who are nominated have thoughtfully considered, embedded and integrated the use of accessible and assistive technology and/or augmentative communication to promote access for all.


Members of their district's administration surprised the award recipients during the presentation. Congratulations!

Employee Insurance Benefits

Employees have been provided a packet of health, dental and vision insurance information. May 3rd is the deadline for making changes to your existing insurance elections. Questions regarding this annual insurance open enrollment / open choice period should be directed to Cathy Kearns in Business Services at or 319-399-6706.

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


Annual enrollment is 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, download the free app, and log in now to explore all the tools and savings. REGISTER NOW

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.​




Profile by Sanford
Easter Flash Membership Sale
April 19-20, 2019


GWAEA employees will receive access to:

  • a limited time membership offer of $129

  • Spouses can be added to the plan for $75

  • Employees who are already members are able to win prizes found inside of the
    Profile food boxes!

Chair Massage Schedule for April and May

Cedar Rapids: 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

We are excited to see a few GWAEA staff created Corridor Corporate Games Dashboards!

Next week we will highlight the May 1 registration process for a family-friendly volunteer opportunity organized by Meals from the Heartland to pack meals to feed the hungry around the world. This is a two-hour commitment either Friday, June 14 or Saturday, June 15 at the Doubletree, Cedar Rapids. Take a moment this week to click on the link below to create a dashboard, so you will be ready to register for this volunteer event.


Registration Useful Information

Corporate Corridor Games GWAEA Registration Code:  CCGGWAEA

Corridor Corporate Games Link  

Employee Registration

Employees and GWAEA retirees may access the 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 ( or x 6710) or Peggy Pearson (

Eat with us! Embrace Accessible Technologies


EAT with Us! - Embrace Accessible Technologist

The Eat with us! schedule PDF


Mark your calendar:

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


Join future presentations using Zoom:
Or in Zoom, Meeting ID = 703 027 4197

Can’t attend live? Recorded webcasts will be posted:


For more information, contact Julie Freed or
Maggie Pickett.

5 Gotta Have Chrome Extensions for the English Learner
April 18, 2019

5 Gotta Have Chrome Extensions for the English Learner 
April 18, 2019

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.
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.


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

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

Substitute Authorization Class


June 2019

BASES Conference
June 10-11, 2019

BASES Conference
June 10-11, 2019

School Garden 101
June 12-14, 2019

School Garden 101
June 12-14, 2019


July 2019

GWAEA Summer Math Professional Learning Courses 2019

GWAEA Summer Math Professional Learning Courses 2019



August 2019

Teaching Writing with Confidence
Aug. 5, Oct. 24, 2019

Teaching Writing with Confidence
Aug. 5, Oct. 24, 2019



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

Buy, Sell and Trade:

For sale: Troy-Bilt Pony tractor, 7-speed transmission. 3 1/2 years old. Includes 46 'Snow plow blade with wheel weights/chains. PMower deck + twin bagger. $1,200.00. Questions? Call Bernie 319-530-0214.

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.