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School-Community Planning

School Improvement Processes and Plans

Assessment of Needs

Agency staff will assist with a variety of methods for determining the learning needs of students and staff, including organization and facilitation of community forums, strategic planning or small group problem-solving sessions; development of print or phone surveys, organization and facilitation of focus groups; and samples of needs assessment strategies used by other districts.

Contact your Grant Wood AEA Regional Administrator

Communication Audits

A Communication Audit is a study of the effectiveness of communication within a school district or externally among schools, families, and the community. As an assessment tool for School Improvement, the communication audit may involve research on perceptions and attitudes; an analysis of publications and archival data, communication policies and procedures; and/or a study of school culture and environment.

As an early step in assessing needs, the Grant Wood AEA Communications Office staff will conduct internal and/or external communication audits with a district or building and its community. The audits provide a snapshop of the effectiveness of communication and recommendations for improvement.

Renee Nelson
Public Relations Coordinator


Comprehensive School Improvement Plans

Chapter 12, IAC, requires school districts and approved non-public schools to develop Comprehensive School Improvement Plans and to report both to the Dept. of Education and to the community the progress being made toward student achievement goals. Agency staff can provide support for the development of these plans and reports.

Contact your Grant Wood AEA Regional Administrator

Data Collection and Analysis

Districts are using the Grant Wood AEA On-line Assessment System, an Internet system, for collecting, recording and analyzing district-wide assessment data.

Michelle Tressel
Instructional Integration Facilitator

 (319) 399-6868

Evaluations and Stakeholder (Customer) Satisfaction

Agency staff can assist schools with developing evaluation strategies, with collecting and tabulating data, and with interpretation and analysis for determining if results meet the expectations of decision-makers and taxpayers.

Contact your Grant Wood AEA Regional Administrators


Nearly all agency certificated staff have been trained in the Four Hats Strategies, in the McNellis Planning Process, or in Total Quality tools for teaming and problem-solving. Staff is available to facilitate groups in local communities or schools or to train others in using the skills.

Contact your Grant Wood AEA Regional Administrator

School Improvement Processes

Grant Wood AEA is supporting local district choice for School Improvement processes, and will provide training, materials, networking with other districts, and ongoing staff assistance to the extent possible. Most SI models incorporate a process of building awareness, assessing needs through public involvement, setting goals, developing and implementing plans, and evaluating results. The Grant Wood AEA Professional Library provides information for examination and comparison of these models.

Bart Mason
Reional Administrator


Strategic Planning

Agency staff certified through the American Association of School Administrators can facilitate or train others in planning strategically for the future. The process is based on analyzing strengths and barriers; establishing a vision, a mission, and core beliefs; developing Action Plans...all through a community involvement process.

Contact your Grant Wood AEA Regional Administrator




Community Compowerment

In 1998, the Iowa Legislature established a Community Empowerment process, pooling and allocating funds to partnerships within geographical areas which focused on the well-being of families with young children and the removal of barriers to receiving education, health and human services. School board members, administrators, teachers and families are invited to be part of the process. Grant Wood AEA staff have been an integral part of Community Empowerment efforts in each county, can explain the legislation and its impact on schools, and can assist in getting involved with local efforts.

Jeanie Wade-Nagle
Early Education Supervisor

(319) 399-6574

Community Empowerment websites:

Iowa Community Empowerment

Benton County Empowerment

Cedar County Empowerment

Iowa County Empowerment

Johnson County Empowerment

Jones County Empowerment

Linn County Empowerment

Washington County Empowerment

Reports and Communication Between Families and Schools

Crisis Communication

Throughout the school year, many crises and emergencies can occur. As a result, it's crucial to have a written emergency plan, outlining communication procedures, and strategies for informing parents and news media. Agency staff can provide samples of district plans and suggestions for an effective emergency plan.

Renee Nelson
Public Relations Coordinator


Critical Incident Stress Management

Teams are available to provide immediate assistance to local schools in times of crisis or traumatic events, and to help schools plan for such events. For additional information or to contact a CISM Team:

Katy Lee
Team Coordinator


CISM Team Toolbox
The International Critical Incident Stress Foundation, Inc.

Parent Education Consortium

The Parent Education Consortium (PEC) is an organization committed to increasing the capacity of the community to provide ongoing parenting education, professional development, and access to resources in order to facilitate the development of caring, competent, healthy children.

Parent Education Consortium


Parent Education Consortium

Parent Educator Partnership Program (PEP)

The Grant Wood AEA Parent-Educator Partnership (PEP) links families and educators for better understanding and communication.

Sara Kane
PEP Parent Partner


Parent Educator Partnership Program

Publications and Reports

The Communications Office and Production Departments will provide training and consultation for school personnel in producing newsletters, annual reports, brochures, videos and handbooks. Examples from other districts are available. The staff in those departments will also do hands-on writing, editing, photography and videography, designing, printing, and production of those pieces, but there will be a fee for staff time and production costs.

Renee Nelson
Public Relations Coordinator


Tara Johannsen
Supervisor, Graphics/Printing

(319) 399-6740

Resolution Facilitators

Resolution facilitators are neutral persons who guide the participants through a process of resolving conflicts. Services are provided to schools and families at no cost by more than 30 trained resolution facilitators.

Jill Weigel
Regional Administrator


School-Community Relations

The Communications Office will provide training and ongoing consultation for the development of communication plans and strategies for interpersonal and mass communication, including ways to involve all persons in the school family and community.

Renee Nelson
Public Relations Coordinator



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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. Grant Wood AEA, 4401 Sixth St SW, Cedar Rapids, IA 52404.

ADDRESS: 4401 Sixth Street SW, Cedar Rapids, IA 52404
TELEPHONE: 319-399-6700 | 800-332-8488
Fax: 319-399-6457