Announcing First Year Implementation Grant for FOSS kit curriculum grades K-5

GPAEA and FOSS 3rd Edition 2015-16GPAEA is excited to announce that we are joining the Eastern Iowa Science Collaborative (EISC) in conjunction with the VAST Center (GWAEA) in Cedar Rapids. GPAEA is working with other AEAs of the EISC to provide school districts with access to efficient and effective science curriculum to maximize student-learning opportunities. The EISC is offering the Third Edition FOSS kit curriculum for implementation coordinated through the VAST Center.

GPAEA is offering a limited number of first year implementation grants that will provide the rental cost of one kit per teacher (approximately $175) up to $1050 limit per building for the first year of the building’s participation.  Applicants will be selected based on following factors: science proficiency data on Iowa Assessments, SINA/DINA and the district sustainability plan for FOSS kit curriculum.

Please see the attached information to learn about the new venture as well as summarized information and a link to learn more about the Third Edition FOSS kits.

If you have questions or would like a grant application email

GPAEA and FOSS 3rd Edition 2015-16

FOSS Highlights

GPAEA Schools in the News – November 2014

A list of the November 2014 headlines featuring a Great Prairie AEA School District:

Post updated throughout the month. Did we miss something? Send your school news to Note: The articles compiled in this list come from independent media sources who are solely responsible for their content. GPAEA staff did not participate in writing any of these articles and GPAEA does not necessarily endorse the content of the articles.  Some articles may be available only by subscription.

The Cornerstone – November 2014

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Enjoy the November 2014 issue!

Finding His Step… Aiden’s Story

by Deena Recker, Orientation Mobility Specialist

Using his AMD to find the door opening to class.

Using his AMD to find the door opening to class.

I am an Orientation and Mobility Specialist, working with GPAEA since August 2012. My role is to help our students who are experiencing reduced vision or no vision to understand the environment and learn how to move safely within it.

When I began working with Aiden he was 4 years old and not walking or crawling. He struggled to understand the world around him due to his lack of visual information. With the help of his IEP team and paraprofessional, Nancy, who faithfully follows the routines set for Aiden, he has learned to support his body weight using a stander, begin standing alone (with leg braces for support), then walking with support, and now he is able to walk independently and without braces. Using an Adaptive Mobility Device (AMD) and changing it as his abilities have grown, Aiden continues to make tremendous progress. Hopefully within the next year he will be ready to use a long cane for travel.

Aiden attends a regular education class and with the help of teachers, therapists and his paraprofessional, he is learning alongside his peers. The Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Lane Anthony, is instructing Aiden in Braille so he can learn to read and write without vision.

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GPAEA Professional Development Opportunities – Nov/Dec 2014

Businessman with four businesspeople at boardroom table in backgGPAEA has many great professional development opportunities scheduled for this winter! Course categories include behavior, literacy, math, science, autism, early childhood, TAG and fine arts.

Courses are still being added, so please check the catalog in MyLearningPlan for new additions.


  • 11/18/2014 An Introduction to the GOLD Assessment and Reports for Administrators Workshop
  • 12/8/2014 Collaborative Leadership Academy (Burlington, Ottumwa and Albia)

Contact Katie Gavin (Burlington and Ottumwa) at for details.


  • 11/3/2014 Nonviolent Crisis Intervention Initial Training Workshop (Ottumwa)
  • 11/10/2014 PBIS Advanced Tier 2/3 Training (Ottumwa)
  • 11/10/2014 Secondary Transition Planning for Educators and Families (Ottumwa)
  • 11/12/2014 A Behavior Tool Box for Your Classroom (Ottumwa)
  • 11/13/2014 PBIS Advanced Tier 2/3 Training (Burlington)
  • 12/2/2014 Nonviolent Crisis Intervention Initial Training Workshop (Burlington)
  • 12/6/2014 Nonviolent Crisis Intervention Initial Training Workshop (Fairfield)
  • 12/10/2014 Nonviolent Crisis Intervention Initial Training Workshop (Ottumwa

Early Childhood

  • 11/19/2014 Early Childhood Institute—Common Learning 2 (Fairfield)

Fine Arts

  • 11/8/2014 Rug Weaving (Fairfield)


  • 11/13/2014 Iowa LETRS Modules 7-9 (Wapello)
  • 12/8/2014 Iowa LETRS Modules 7-9 (Wapello)
  • 12/11/2014 Iowa LETRS Modules 7-9 (Wapello)


  • 11/10/2014 Ratio and Proportion, Grades 6-8 (Burlington)
  • 11/11/2014 Function, Grades 8-12 (Burlington)
  • 11/13/2014 Ratio and Proportion, Grades 6-8 (Ottumwa)
  • 11/15/2014 Ratio and Proportion, Grades 6-8 (Ottumwa)
  • 11/17/2014 Function Grades 8-12 (Ottumwa)
  • 11/22/2014 Function Grades 8-12 (Ottumwa)

Fun with FOSS Kit at Keota and Burlington

by Rosemary Peck, GPAEA Science Specialist

In late September, I visited pilot classrooms at Keota Elementary (Keota) and Blackhawk Elementary (Burlington). The teachers in these two buildings are implementing the FOSS kit curriculum in a pilot program establishing a partnership between VAST Center (Van Allen Science Teaching Center) at Grant Wood AEA, the Eastern Iowa Science Consortium and GPAEA. More information about this partnership opportunity will be shared with Great Prairie LEA administrators in the coming months.

During my visits to the classrooms, excited, engaged and enthusiastic students were making observations, asking questions, planning and carrying out investigations, analyzing data, writing in science journals and making connections to what they were learning in the classroom to the world outside, in their local schoolyards.

Kindergarten students of Mrs. Wax (Burlington), Mrs. Hart and Mrs. McClenahan (Keota), studying FOSS Trees and Weather are observing their “adopted” tree throughout the school year, learning basic characteristics and needs of trees, predicting the changes that will occur, and connecting the seasonal weather changes with the impact those changes have on “their tree” and other living things. Mrs. Wax commented “We are very excited to be learning about trees this year.  We were even more excited when a tree showed up in our classroom.  We will watch our tree through the seasons and see what happens to it.   We also took guesses to see how big our tree will be by the end of kindergarten and when we are fifth graders.” Continue reading

English Language Learners in Great Prairie AEA

by Doreen Underwood, GPAEA Diverse Learners Specialist

Pupils In Class Using Digital TabletOver the past 2 decades Iowa has experienced a rapid shift in number of English Language Learners* and percent of growth as compared to other states in the nation. According to the National Center for Educational Statistics Core of Common Data, Iowa’s EL numbers have doubled twice over a 20 year period. In 2012, Iowa schools reported just over 25,000 ELs, almost doubling our population of English Language Learners again in 8 years. This trend is predicted to continue in a more exponential fashion over the next decade.

What does this look like at GPAEA?

GPAEA Enrollment for ELLs is 2% of the population agency wide. There are 22 different languages spoken across the agency and 22 out of 36 districts (public & non-public) are actively seeking support from GPAEA.


Continue reading