New Teacher Center Instructional Coach Professional Learning Series


NTC Coaching Flyer_teacher_flyerThis course supports instructional coaches in responding to each teacher’s developmental and contextual needs and promotes the ongoing analysis of instructional practice. Tools, processes, and protocols will be utilized for collecting and analyzing observation data in alignment with professional teaching standards as well as analyzing student work to strategically plan and adjust standards-based instruction to improve teaching practice. Instructional coaches will also analyze and reflect upon coaching experience and practice strategic professional feedback to develop their expertise in advancing teachers’ abilities to plan and implement standards-based, differentiated instruction and meet the needs of all students.

  • Dates: Oct 29-30, Dec 3-4, 2014, Jan 28-29, Apr 22-23, 2015
  • Times: 8:30 AM – 3:30 PM
  • Location: DMACC-FFA Enrichment Ctr.
  • REGISTRATION DEADLINE: September 26, 2014, at 4:00 p.m.

Target Audience: K-12 Instructional coaches, facilitators, instructional strategists, district instructional coach program leads, AEA program leads.

Download NTC Coaching Flyer_teacher_flyer

Leaving to Learn – Pathways to Success (Northwest Iowa AEA Leadership Academy)

The Met school in Providence, Rhode Island is a special place. Consistently recognized as one of the best, most innovative schools in the country, it and the other schools that are now part of the Big Picture Network are organized around several principles that make them very different places than most traditional schools:

  1. students work with adult, non-educator mentors to complete real-world projects;
  2. curricula, projects, use of time, and learning environments are personalized to students’ needs and interests;
  3. authentic assessments, not traditional tests or grading systems;
  4. advisory groups that actually work well and mean something;
  5. a focus on collaboration and teamwork;
  6. a college preparatory focus;
  7. a learning framework focused on empirical reasoning, quantitative reasoning, social reasoning, communication, and personal leadership

Elliot Washor, co-founder of Big Picture Learning and the Met School in Providence, Rhode Island, and Carlos Morena, CARLOS MORENO, national director of Big Picture Learning, will lead a full-day session on student engagement. This learning is planned from 9 a.m-3 p.m. Oct. 21 at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake.  Many of these principles are ones that we are trying to make happen in our own schools here in Iowa and around the country. We have some spots for others to join us for this powerful day of thinking and learning.

Register at

The dissemination of information from external organizations by Great Prairie AEA does not infer sponsorship or endorsement of the information. It is being passed on to our stakeholders for its educational value.

IEC Update: Check Out Our NEW & IMPROVED Website!

iec logoThe IEC proudly welcomes all students and school staff back to a new year…and our NEW website!

Over the summer, IEC staff worked with Global Reach (an IEC vendor partner) to give a new look and feel. With improved navigation, a direct link to our Twitter feed (follow us!) and an area dedicated to ‘Hot Deals and Steals!’, we hope that connecting with us and saving time and money is easier than ever!

Let us know what you think. Send an email to or tweet us @AEACoOp!

The Cornerstone – September 2014

Two-level seating.

FEATURED: GPAEA’s 21st Century Classroom

Welcome back – wishing you a wonderful 2014-15 school year! Enjoy this month’s The Cornerstone newsletter by clicking on an article below or scrolling down.

How Do You Connect Big Rocks?

Dr. Jon Sheldahl, Chief Administrator

Stack of pebble stonesWhen Steven Covey used the analogy of putting big rocks in a bucket to emphasize the importance of aligning personal and professional priorities in life, he likely had no way of knowing that the term “big rocks” would become such a ubiquitous term in the field of organizational leadership in future years.  No doubt you have seen the illustration where a jar or bucket represents a finite amount of resource capacity and big rocks represent priority areas in work or life, while sand and gravel represent lesser or competing priorities.  The most common resource limitation is no doubt time, but the size of our bucket could just as easily represent limitations in money, people etc.  No person or organization enjoys unlimited resources and, metaphorically speaking, who among us hasn’t stared at what seemed like a big pile of rocks and a woefully small bucket?  The point of the illustration is that the big rocks will only fit in the bucket with the sand and gravel if they are put in first.  When one puts the small stuff in the bucket first, the big stuff doesn’t all fit.  One can find a myriad of videos and articles illustrating this principle by simply entering “big rocks” into any search engine.  You will find the big rocks illustration being applied to personal, spiritual and professional priorities in colleges of business, churches, and time management seminars throughout the world.  It’s a powerful, but very simple message about the importance of  “keeping the main thing the main thing.”


The Future is Now: GPAEA’s 21st Century Classroom

Dr. Sally Lindgren, Director of Technology & Innovation

21st Century Classroom Open House
Tuesday, September 30
3:00 – 7:00 p.m.

photo (15)

Room 21C is the result of re-designed learning efforts to create a learning environment specifically designed to promote both collaborative and personalized learning through the use of technology. GPAEA’s Bright Bytes data suggest that there is a large-scale need to develop the attributes of 21st Century learning. These attributes, known as the 4C’s (communication, collaboration, critical thinking and creativity) are factors that are linked to improved student achievement and career success.

Recent research about active learning spaces comes under several different names including SCALE-UP, TEAL, TILE and others. But regardless of the name, the conclusions are the same. The classroom must support active learning using digital media and flexible space.

GPAEA’s 21st Century Classroom, located in the Burlington AEA Office, offers a two-fold design: a classroom and a learning lounge.

The learning space integrates the three tenets of classroom design:

  • The classroom furniture must be mobile and flexible.
  • Each collaborative area must have access to a digital display.
  • Each collaborative area must have a writeable surface.

The use of digital media is a primary ingredient used to promote understanding and engagement with content. The room also has an interactive table, networked lighting, a two-way audio management system, a theater sized screen with a 3D projector, and all of this is controlled by an iPad!

GPAEA’s Room 21C is only one of several efforts that are underway in Southeastern Iowa to re-design the K-12 classroom into 21st Century Learning Spaces. The Mt. Pleasant Middle School Science classroom has been transformed. Cardinal Community School District is in the process of creating both a classroom and several learning lounge spaces at the Middle/High School building.