Leadership Connection – April 2020


GPAEA OFFICES REMAIN CLOSED: With Governor Reynolds’ recommendation for Iowa’s schools to remain closed through April 30, 2020, the Agency will also remain closed through April 30 or until further notice. This also means that any face to face workshops or classes that were scheduled in the offices have been canceled. Registrants should monitor their email if they were enrolled in a Professional Learning course for additional information. 

THE CORNERSTONE – MARCH/APRIL: This issue is full of great articles and resources for Districts. Click on a link below to get started:

COVID-19 RESOURCES ON GPAEA.ORG: Great Prairie AEA is dedicated to supporting our district partners during these unprecedented times. We are using this site as an information hub to archive resources, information, and guidance related to our collective response to COVID-19. Resources include professional learning opportunities for teachers, access to digital resources (Read-aloud ebooks; Ebooks; Digital audiobooks; Videos; Self-paced tutorials; Educational games; Encyclopedias; Articles; and Newspapers), and resources to help manage stress and anxiety. View resources at https://www.gpaea.org/services/covid-19-resources/. Contact jennifer.woodley@gpaea.org if you have a resource that you feel should be included. 


PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT OPPORTUNITIES VIA ZOOM FOR EDUCATORS: Great Prairie AEA has created a wide variety of professional learning opportunities available to educators and AEA staff. All learning opportunities will be hosted via Zoom (remember you do not need a Zoom account to participate in Zoom sessions). Each session offered will have its own registration link and are free. The sessions are scheduled at various times throughout the day and vary in length and topic. At this time credit is not available. Check back frequently as new opportunities are added each week!

SPECIAL EDUCATION COURSES FROM AEA LEARNING ONLINE: A great resource for Special Education Teachers to take advantage of during this time. Click here to view a spreadsheet of courses

VIRTUAL SCREENING OF PAPER TIGERS & RESILIENCE: During this time of social isolation, KPJR Films will launch a virtual screening of PAPER TIGERS and RESILIENCE. Both films, along with additional content, will be available for viewing on your desktop, laptop or handheld device at no charge from 6am EDT on Saturday, April 4th through 8pm EDT on Tuesday, April 7th. You must register by 5 PM on April 5 to access the content. This is not a required activity, we are sharing for educational value. Click here to learn more and register. 


DE RECORDED WEBINARS: The Iowa Department of Education is recording its COVID-19 webinar updates and posting them on the Department’s YouTube channel. Look for webinars with “COVID-19 Webinar” in the title. 

ESSA NEW GUIDANCE: The Iowa Department of Education is issuing new guidance for Iowa districts and nonpublic schools addressing an optional federal waiver for the 2019-20 school year that allows Iowa to waive several ESSA requirements, including those related to assessment, accountability and school identification as well as certain reporting requirements related to assessments and accountability.

Iowa submitted this waiver to the U.S. Department of Education on March 30, and received approval on April 1. Public comment on the approved waiver can be provided via email to ESSA@iowa.gov through April 30.

This guidance will be added to the COVID-19 Guidance and Information page on the Dept. website. All current guidance from the Iowa Department of Education can be found on this page. Please know that we will continue to keep you informed of any future updates to the guidance we have issued.

RESOURCES NOW AVAILABLE TO SUPPOR STUDENT LEARNING AT HOME: The Iowa Department of Education released a host of optional resources for families and educators to use as they support student learning during school closures due to COVID-19. The resources are available on the Iowa Department of Education’s website and include interactive games, virtual field trips, coding activities and e-books.

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Agency Updates – February 2020

The Cornerstone – February 2020


Click on a link below or scroll down to read all articles. Enjoy!

ICYMI: Past Headlines

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GPAEA ESSA Training Schedule 2019-20

The GPAEA ESSA Training Schedule 2019-20 contains training descriptions, course registration links, dates, times. & locations along with the AEA State training schedule link.  Check frequently as trainings continue to be finalized.

Contact your Regional Director with questions.

Region 1 – Alan Schwarte
Regional Director
800-622-0027 Ext. 5801 Harold L. Mick Office (Albia)

Region 2 – Nathan Wood
Regional Director
800-622-0027 Ext. 5512 Ottumwa Office

Region 3 – Dr. Deb Cook
Regional Director
800-622-0027 Ext. 5324 Ottumwa Office

Region 4 – Jim Cope
Regional Director
800-622-0027 Ext. 5396 Fairfield Office

Region 5 – Kim Kirchner
Regional Director
800-382-8970 Ext. 2115 Mount Pleasant Office

Region 6 – Shawn Stringer
Regional Director
800-382-8970 Ext. 1103 Burlington Office

Region 7 – Michelle Harris
Regional Director
800-382-8970 Ext. 3011 Burlington Office

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Mathematics – SOAR & STEM

SOAR Fraction Intervention – Burlington

Another session of the SOAR Fraction Intervention class will be offered March 9, 10, and 30 at the Burlington AEA. Participants will deepen content and pedagogical knowledge of mathematics by analyzing the standards across the Number and Operations Fractions domain. They will also receive tools for classroom teaching, diagnostics, and intervention. This class is offered for both participant or renewal credit. Search for course #160496. PDF Flyer: https://dochub.com/lorimueller/yzEQPgX/soar-fractions-class-2020-pdf

STEM Scale-Up Program Menu

The 2020-21 STEM Scale-Up Program Menu is out! There are a number of projects that lean a bit closer to the M (Math) in STEM this time!  You can find both the application and the menu at the above link. Notably, there are a number of exciting computer science programs, including Bootstrap. Desmos Middle School Math augments the Illustrative Math Grade 8 curriculum with web-based activities and assessments. Hand2Mind has a program for Differentiated Math Centers which utilizes so many hands-on games and activities. There are also programs focusing on engineering and engineering principles, such as STEM in Action.

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Educators: Login to AEA Scout – Digital Resources at your fingertips!


Download PDF: AEA_Scout_Flyer_FINAL

Visit scout.iowaaea.org > click Login > select Login for Educator > enter the same username/password that you use to register for AEA Professional Learning or Mandatory Reporter > Search & Explore

Questions? Contact your school’s Teacher Librarian or Jane Frizzel, jane.frizzell@gpaea.org at GPAEA

More information will be shared in next month’s The Cornerstone.

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Iowa Authentic Learning Network Spring Opportunities

ALNOpportunitiesFlyer20200110-2 (1)_Page_1

Download ALNOpportunitiesFlyer20200110-2 (1) to register for the following Iowa Authentic Learning Network Opportunities:

  • Feb 11 Best practices in STEM #Reboot
  • April 1-2 Agile for Education: A Scrum Play by Play
  • April 8th Iowa ALN Professional Learning & Student Expo
  • April 22nd Iowa ALN Professional Learning & Student Expo

For questions please contact:
Laura Williams, 21st Century Learning Specialist

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Please share: Substitute Authorization Courses available in Burlington & Ottumwa beginning March

The demand for quality substitute teachers is high, please consider sharing this opportunity on your District’s website or social media sites:


Are you or someone you know interested in becoming a substitute teacher? Register today for a Substitute Authorization Course in March in Burlington or Ottumwa http://ow.ly/GFwX50y7r3p

This post can also be shared from Great Prairie AEA’s Facebook & Twitter accounts.

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Free Online Learning Opportunities for Educators with Dr. Carolyn Manard, Author of OMG! Meeting Magic in Education

Contact Annette Clarahan or Kelly Wallace for more information.

  • Session 1 – Participants will learn the OMG of OMG! Meeting Magic in Education: Organize, communicate with team members prior to the meeting to establish collaboration and prepare for an effective meeting; Model, the procedural steps of the meeting and understand the uniqueness of the variety of individuals fulfilling the parenting role in today’s society; and Guide, through the do’s and don’ts of an effective IEP meeting. Additionally, participants will learn strategies in how to facilitate IEP meetings and how to avoid conflict in a sometimes contentious setting. Click here to view Session 1
  • Session 2 – As society has changed, the parenting obligation and who has it has broadened. With each of these roles comes the characteristics we must know, understand, and adapt to in meeting. Parents come to meetings with their perspective impacted by their role influencing how they respond to our efforts. Therefore, a deeper look into the types of parents we encounter is warranted. Participants will learn strategies to better communicate with a diverse group of individuals serving in parental roles today (parent, foster parent, grandparent, step-parent, single parents, adoptive parents, etc.).  Click here to view Session 2
  • Session 3 – In a reasonable world most adults can have reasonable conversations resulting in some level of agreement and ability to work together. In unique situations with challenging participants, this may not always be accomplished. This session will focus on dealing with contentious team members, managing threatening comments, gracefully ending meetings, debriefing with the team, and final communication. Participants will be provided with a sample checklist of all the procedures and guidelines for organizing, modeling and guiding an effective IEP meeting. Click here to view Session 3
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State & Education Partners – February 2020

Clarification on I3 and Achieve

Recently, information was shared about plans by the  Iowa Department of Education and Iowa’s Area Education Agencies for the launch of a new, more robust Special Education information system. This information system is currently under development and consists of two separate, but integrated parts.

i3 (Iowa IDEA Information):  The next evolution of a fully online and accessible platform for Special Education procedures, guidance, and information. i3 is scheduled for release at the beginning of the 2020-2021 school year. 

ACHIEVE: The name of the next iteration of Iowa’s web-based IEP/IFSP system, with enhancements to allow better parent access, expanded progress monitoring tools, and improved user experience.  Anticipated release is the beginning of the 2021-2022 school year. Read more.

These two aligned components, when complete, will position Iowa’s educational professionals to continue to provide the highest quality support for students with disabilities well into the future.

Iowa Learning Academy 2020 – June 9-12, 2020

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Please Save the Date for the first annual Iowa Learning Academy (ILA) on June 9-12, 2020 at the Iowa Events Center. Formerly the Special Education Symposium and the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) June Institute, the ILA is designed to align statewide efforts to better support Iowa’s area education agencies (AEAs), school districts, and partnering agencies and organizations in the provision of leadership, instructional services, and other supports to promote the success of all learners.

Seven content strands will be offered across the four-day event, including College and Career Readiness, Early Childhood, Family and Community Engagement, Leadership, Literacy, Mathematics, and Social-Emotional-Behavioral Health (SEBH).  More details are available here.

Registration and More Information

Registration for the event is anticipated to open in March 2020. For more information on the event visit https://ila2020.eventbrite.com.  

Iowa Vocational Rehabilitation Services Video 

Are you interested in learning more about Iowa Vocational Rehabilitation Services? As an educator, would you like to know how to refer families and what services they can provide? Click here to watch a short video featuring Jaime Claywell-Herrera, IVRS Counselor, describing Voc Rehab’s services available to all LEAs and identified students in Iowa.

UNI Learning Opportunities in GPAEA

Think Tank
March 3, 10 AM – 1 PM
Fairfield Arts & Convention Center
No cost to attend, lunch provided

Leadership Camp
April 21-22, 8:30 AM – 4:30 PM
Fairfield Arts & Convention Center

If you are interested in registering, please contact is Denise Schares at denise.schares@uni.edu.
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Leadership Connection – November 2019

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As a District Leader, we realize that your time is valuable and you receive a lot of emails. Leadership Connection is GPAEA’s way of streamlining the “need to know” information for the next two months. Check your inbox the first Friday of the month or bookmark https://gpaealeadership.wordpress.com/ for easy access.
Agency Updates
  • The Cornerstone – November 2019
    • GPAEA Districts Featured in PBIS Article
    • School Psychology Awareness Week – November 11-15, 2019
    • Ottumwa Director Dr. Lonna Anderson receives Friend of Math Award
    • Pedersen Named 2020 Iowa Superintendent of the Year
    • Ottumwa first-grader featured on Good Morning America
    • Substitute Authorization Courses Available in Albia & Burlington – January 2020
    • Professional Learning Courses Available – November 2019
    • Iowa Teacher Librarians Again Have Opportunity to Collaborate During Monthly Online Sessions
    • GPAEA Schools in the News – October/November 2019
Professional Learning/School Improvement/Special Education
  • Meeting the Requirements for Suicide Prevention Legislation
  • GPAEA’s Professional Development Department Seeking Help from Participants
  • Reminder to Check TLC Fund Balances
External & State Partners
  • AEA System Superintendents Update – November 2019
  • AEA Learning Online
  • BoEE
  • DE – School Leader Update
  • Think Tank Session from UNI
Posts may be updated throughout the month, so remember to check back for further information. You may always contact your Regional Director as questions arise.
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