- It’s Time to Restore Full Funding to the AEAs
- BrightBytes Indicates GPAEA Districts Are Technology Proficient
- Data Team Success at Keota
- Great Prairie AEA Board of Directors Recognized
- Para Educator Partnership Benefits Local Districts
- Iowa Youth Survey Results Available
- AEAs Impacting Lives – April 2013
- My PLN Journey… (Part 2)
- GPAEA Website Survey
- Fine Arts in Iowa Core: Research, Practice, Discovery Workshops
- GPAEA’s Summer Institute: Early Literacy & RtI
- 2013 Sixth Grade Area Math Bee, 5 Teams Advance to State
- Occupational Therapy Month, April 2013
- AEA PD Online and AEA K-12 Online Blog Updates – April 2013
- GPAEA Schools in the News – April 2013
Dr. Sally Lindgren, Coordinator of Technology
Earlier this spring, 31 area public school districts and four non-public districts participated in GPAEA’s BrightBytes Survey. The Survey was the result of this years planning with area superintendents to continue support toward the integration of technology and 21st Century Learning. The results of the survey were shared with district teams April 3rd at Heartland AEA. Approximately 100 people attended this training including some guests from three other AEAs that are considering BrightBytes for their schools too. Rob Mancabelli, author of Personal Learning Networks, award-winner for Education Book of the Year in 2012 provided training on the advanced data platform (also known as the Clarity platform) as participants logged into their “dashboards.” Rob is the co-founder and CEO of BrightBytes.
The following represents the dashboard of the aggregate data representing all but 2 public districts, and 2 non-public districts/schools within Great Prairie. The dashboard shows scores built around the CASE Framework. The CASE framework is a research-based framework consisting of 22 known factors that determine the effectiveness of technology in improving student achievement.
Rob commented on how high the Access factors are within the Great Prairie region. I contribute this primarily to the connectivity that schools have with the ICN and with local telecommunication providers. Home access has also improved substantially over the past few years with a variety of communication providers.
Great Prairie ranks proficient in the area of Skills and Environment. Teachers and students need to have the foundational skills to navigate and use their technology devices before any other use can occur. Environment includes the factors around policies, practices and procedures along with technical support and professional development. I believe the work of the district technology coordinators and of the AEA technology and network specialists contribute to the ranking of these factors.
The Classroom area of the framework is the lowest scoring within the region and will become a focus area for GPAEA Technology Specialists for the 2013-2014 school year. The score in this area is derived from questions on the survey that focus on how much time is spent using various types of technology and on how teachers and students are presently using technology in the classroom. The 4Cs are defined as communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity. These are instructional attributes that engage student learning. Other factors include the use of assistive technology, the understanding of digital citizenship and assessment.
All schools within Great Prairie region will continue to have access to the survey tool, dashboard and CASE frameworks for the next year.
Lisa Brenneman, Keota Principal
Keota Jr/Sr High School has made some noticeable changes this year. These changes are having a positive effect on motivation, how kids learn and overall positive culture throughout the building.
We began by developing a data team structure during the 2011-2012 school year. A team of lead teachers was identified and worked with Lisa Brenneman, 7-12 Principal, Cory Johnson, then Great Prairie AEA School Psychologist and now School Improvement Specialist, and Sharma Parlett, Great Prairie AEA Regional Director to read and discuss Leaders Make It Happen. As our team read the book, we began to apply the Data Team principles and developed a plan for implementation of Instructional and Building level teams. In June 2012, we used Teacher Quality funds to hold a two day retreat for our building leadership team. During this time, we used a variety of data sources to identify areas of focus as well as individual student needs; we also used this time to finalize our plan for Instructional Data Teams which included the creation of 9th Period.
When classes began in August 2012, we implemented our Data Team structure. Instructional Teams (Language Arts/Social Studies, Science/Math, and Building Culture and Climate) began to meet on a regular basis, approximately twice per month during 9th period. Our Building Leadership team also met as part of this cycle. Using our 9th Period structure, our teams were able to begin their meetings at 3:00 (during the regular school day) and end at 4:00 while students were assigned to teachers whose teams were not meeting. During 2012-2013 our entire staff also received the Data Team training provided by Great Prairie AEA’s Cory Johnson and Jennifer Adams.
The focus of 9th period is not only to provide collaboration time for teachers but also support for students academically on an individual basis. During this time students have access to all their teachers except on days the teacher’s team is collaborating.
Students are required to stay with teachers that have requested them and if they don’t stay they are truant. The requests change on a daily basis and mean the student needs reteaching, has missing work, has discipline referrals or needs individual attention from a teacher to improve attitude or level of respect shown to others.
The goal is to feed a positive culture. The positive is that all students “in good standing” earn privileges. The junior high students go to the gym for recreation/socialization and high school students may choose to leave or socialize/study with peers. Each student hangs a calendar inside their locker that tells them each day what is going on and what their options are.
One day a month all students participate in teambuilding activities. Again, this is designed to improve the culture and relationships between students as well as between students and teachers. All students participate in building activities no matter what level of standing they are in.
Through the data team structure the teachers identified last period absences for school activities as one of the building issues that needed to be addressed. The creation of 9th period also solved this problem because in the past they would miss an entire class period.
Flexibility, planning and organization have been the key to the success of our data teams and 9th period. As a staff, we are always looking for new ways to maximize learning and take full advantage of the time we have with students and teachers at school.
School Board Recognition Month is May 2013. Our Agency Board of Directors and the Board members of the local school districts in our Area volunteer countless hours of their time each year to serve their communities and schools. Please consider thanking the school and AEA Board members that you know throughout our Area.
Great Prairie AEA has provided Para Educator certification courses for 11 years, but this spring we partnered with Southeastern Community College (SCC) and IowaWorks to offer credit and financial assistance.
Great Prairie AEA holds the Department of Education certification process to qualify participants for the Para Educator Certificate, SCC grants post-secondary credit (6 credits for three courses) for those classes, and IowaWorks helps fund qualifying candidates with scholarships. This partnership has benefited local school buildings, teachers and students.
Para Educator Courses I, II and III are required for certification. Courses are held at the Great Prairie AEA Burlington Office. All courses have an online component. There is an Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation and a Federal Bureau of Investigation background check for a fee of $65 and a $40 license fee due upon completion of all three courses (when submitting application to the BOEE).
Register through GPAEA’s course catalog at www.gpaea.org. For more information contact: Megan Cramblet, Great Prairie AEA, at 319-753-6561 ext. 1261 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
For information about financial assistance contact:
IowaWORKS Region 16 Director
319-753-1671 ext. 31406
What is a Para Educator?
Para Educators, in partnership with other staff, support and enhance the education of children. They work under the supervision of teachers, who have the ultimate responsibility for the design and implementation of education.
Para Educators are assigned to students who have barriers to learning. They may work with small groups of children, or one on one and are often assigned job duties to free up teachers’ time for other instructional tasks.
Other terms: paraprofessional, educational aide, associate, or instructional aide.
The Iowa Youth Survey results are in!! The state report is available here. Other reports (county, AEA, etc) are available at www.iowayouthsurvey.iowa.gov. Superintendents (or a designee) may request local results.
The dissemination of information from external organizations by Great Prairie AEA does not imply sponsorship or endorsement of the information. It is being passed on to our stakeholders for its educational value.
All of Iowa’s AEAs have received great letters of support from parents who are grateful for the services their children have been provided by AEA staff. For this month’s Impacting Lives update at http://aeas4iowa.wordpress.com/, we are sharing some letters we’ve received. Thank you to all who have showed support to the AEA system. We are truly honored to provide the services that impact so many students’ lives in Iowa.
Lisa Jacobs, GPAEA Technology Specialist
Thank you to everyone that contributed to the shared document about your own PLN journey. It was a great experience to request and receive input from Cornerstone readers and my own PLN group. You can click on this link to see the actual responses: Shared PLN Google Document.
A few highlights:
Lisa Jacobs – (GPAEA Instructional Technology Specialist) A smart phone makes connecting to my PLN much easier- no passwords to remember as you are always connected to email, twitter, facebook, etc.
Sharon Padget (Science Teacher, Ottumwa) Twitter has connected me with so many wonderful people with some of the best resources. I have more help than I ever thought possible especially when it comes to gifted kids, special needs kids and ELL kids I believe it has made me a better teacher.
Fran McVeigh (GPAEA Literacy Specialist) About two years ago, I found the group #educoach. This PLN has the answer to my questions! II finally began blogging at franmcveigh.wordpress.com and have had over 2200 readers in six months…
Joel Pedersen (Superintendent, Cardinal CSD) I started to join different chats especially #iaedchat every Sunday night. I have found that Twitter is the main place I go for information on school leadership topics. I am encouraging everyone in my district to engage and learn more about the power of PLNs. PLNs are truly a “game changer” in my opinion.
Kristin Steingreaber (GPAEA Media Specialist) I’ve been blogging since 2009 at http://amrc-reviews.blogspot.com/ …I follow teacher librarians around Iowa use #tlchat and I specifically get inspired by Kathy Kaldenberg, a good friend and terrific librarian at Solon – @scsdmedia and of course, national library leader – Joyce Valenza. I participate in TLChat once a month. Using online webinars as a way to do PD this year and it’s been working very well with FreeScreenShare. I get a lot of good ideas from Wes Fryer - @wfryer and I often tune in to presentations he is doing around the country, because he’s so good about making them accessible long distance! (read more from Kris on the shared google site).
Susan Kientz (GPAEA Instructional Technology Coach) My personal PLN (Professional Learning Network) journey began with the book “Blogs, wikis, podcasts, and other powerful Web tools for classrooms” by Will Richardson. … In my personal learning network I follow a variety of people with many different ideas about how technology should used in the classroom. I don’t always agree with everything I read but it does open the way to thinking about technology in different way. One blog I follow is called Free Technology for Teachers by Richard Bryne. He presents 7 to 8 different web based tools to use in the classroom each day. He not only tells me about the resource but he also includes a paragraph about how he sees it being used in classroom…
Lynn Selking (GPAEA Mathematics Specialist) I relax with my Scoop.It. http://www.scoop.it/t/common-core-mathematics I have found so many interesting things on here.
Jessie Greiner (2nd Grade, Cardinal) Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook are my three go tos for my PLN! Twitter: I started by following a couple of key people who tweeted a lot: @shannonmiller, @mcleod, and @sbehmer. I followed the people that they followed, plus people I already had in my PLN and I am now following 595 people. I also set up my Tweetdeck with the hashtags that were most popular. Now I am able to look for specific hashtags to accommodate what I am needing. Some of my favorite hashtags to follow are: #edchat, #cardinalcomets, #mysteryskype, #skypeintheclassroom, #elemchat, #2ndchat, #edtech and #1to1. Tweetdeck made a huge difference in my PLN and has helped keep me organized! I find most of my ideas and websites on Twitter, plus it is a great place for me to share with others things I am doing as well. Pinterest is also a great place to get and give ideas to my PLN.
Sheila Fetter (Cardinal Middle School) One of the first electronic PLN’s I experienced, was google.docs. One middle school teacher would create a shared document that we could all access. It’s let us plan things together, add ideas, etc without all having to be there at the same time. It accomodated coaching schedules, family schedules, etc. We now also use it to discuss issues, share information. Pinterest has become a great place to get ideas both professionally for my classroom and personally for home ideas.I have just recently started tapping into Twitter..
You can click on this link to see the actual responses: Shared PLN Google Document. The shared document is still open if you want to contribute your own PLN experiences.
If you haven’t already registered and plan to attend GPAEA’s Summer Institute on June 17 & 18, please do so now at http://bit.ly/summerinstitute13. No cost, lunch included.
The Great Prairie AEA Sixth Grade Math Bee was held Friday, April 12, 2013 at the Fairfield Arts and Convention Center in Fairfield, Iowa. The event involved 47 teams from 21 school districts within the Great Prairie AEA region. There were 218 students participating on the building level teams including their team alternates. The test covers six different areas: Number Sense & Estimation; Patterns & Functions; Geometry& Measurement; Probability & Statistics; Ratio, Proportion & Percent; and a Team Problem Solving Round.
|1st||Hank Hammer||Ottumwa Evans Middle|
|2nd||Maggie Voyles||Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont CSD|
|3rd||Julia Fairchild||Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont CSD|
|in top 10||Waylon Weirather||Central Lee Middle|
|in top 10||Ben Sheppard||Central Lee Middle|
|in top 10||Wyatt Klyn||Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont CSD|
|in top 10||Laurel Hilger||Fairfield Middle|
|in top 10||Shaleen Thiengmany||Mt. Pleasant Middle|
|in top 10||Makenna Hall||Central Lee Middle|
|in top 10||Jagger Gourley||Mediapolis Middle/High|
|in top 10||Mason Porter||New London Jr./Sr. High|
|in top 10||Rebekah Hartman||Ottumwa Evans Middle|
|Top Alternate||Bridget Hayman||Burlington Aldo Leopold Middle|
Each AEA in Iowa sends the top 10% of their competing teams to the State Competition. The State Sixth Grade Math Bee is scheduled May 3, 2013 and will be held in Fort Dodge.
The five teams from Great Prairie AEA eligible to participate in the 2013 State Sixth Grade Math Bee include:
- Central Lee Middle (1st place team)
- Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont School District (2nd place team)
- Ottumwa Evans Middle School
- Burlington Aldo Leopold Middle School
- Sigourney Elementary School.
Congratulations to all of the students and those teams advancing to state!
Go to www.aeapdonline.org/ or www.aeak12online.org for updates or click on the direct article links below. For real time updates, follow AEA PD Online on Twitter @aeapdonline or on your mobile device by accessing our app at myapp.is/aeapdonline.
- Preparations for 2013 Back-to-School Online Training
- New Online Trainings
- Tool of the Month: Visual Ranking
- AEA PD Online: Live
- Upcoming Courses
- External Partner Webinars
Click on a story or scroll down to start reading. Enjoy!
- Shedding a Light on Autism: David’s Story
- April is Autism Awareness Month – Get Informed, Make a Difference!
- Summer Institute – June 17 & 18, 2013
- Area Students Qualify for “National History Day in Iowa” Contest
- My PLN Journey… Do You Have a Personal Journey to Share?
- Expect More… From Your Library
- Young Writers’ Conference 2013 a wintery success!!
- Off the Press – Cut Out Shapes, Fonts and Collections
- SNAP Resource Lists – New Feature!
- Use Atomic Learning to Plan Your Professional Development
- Participate in the 2013 AEA/DE Customer Survey
- GPAEA Schools in the News – March 2013
Download a PDF copy of The Cornerstone – March/April 2013
Marci Prose, Parent
My husband, Adam Prose has lived in Ottumwa all his life and I, Marci Prose have lived in Ottumwa since our marriage about 10 years ago. We had our first child, Elaine about 9 years ago and our second child Izabella about 6 years ago. About two and a half years ago my husband and I had a life changing experience. Our third child, our first son entered into this world July 7, 2010 we named him David James. From the moment he was born our lives changed, not only was it the change of having a new child to care for but he went above and beyond in needing care. I knew from birth that there was something different about David. We exhausted possibilities of what could be wrong in his first year-two years of life. We visited doctor after doctor all in hopes that someone would find out what caused our son the trouble he was having. He wasn’t a normal happy baby that we had experienced with our two girls, he didn’t smile, he didn’t laugh, he screamed for hours and never seemed to be happy and content and started missing childhood milestones.
When we took our son into the doctor at the age of two we had a little light shed on the subject, the answer was autism. We had evaluations and heard that our son who was 25 months at the time was really at a 10 month level on some of the developmental marks. It wasn’t a lack of parenting or a lack of trying on our part. My husband works on copiers at Bailey’s in Ottumwa but I stay at home to be with the children to have a parent present in their early education. I knew that we had tried to teach David. Those were challenging times trying to figure out autism and what exactly it was. Neither my husband nor I had ever had experience with autism and frankly it scared us. We didn’t know where to start but there were people who did, the same people who evaluated our son and told us he had autistic tendencies. The therapist did not diagnosis our son autistic but at least had the answers of what road we needed to travel down. We started therapy in the fall and after just a few therapy sessions our son started changing. The stress of our family started declining. He started getting content and happy. David’s therapist come and spend about an hour with him every week and not only do they work with him on skills, they teach us how to teach him. I can’t even imagine what life would be like for us if they had not entered our son’s life.
I am inching closer to having three years in the battle on autism under my belt. The first two years I didn’t know what I was battling but I would have to say these last couple of months have been the easiest. Because of his therapists I not only have a clue as to what I’m fighting but they have equipped me with the tools I needed to fight this battle. I cannot imagine continuing my battle alone.
I hope that in the future as autism rates increase families will continue to get the support they need from the AEA programs such as Early Access. The last battle these parents need to be facing is how they are supposed to face this battle alone. I understand that budget cuts happen. As a society we are very concerned about government programs and cutting spending. Many people wouldn’t understand why the Early Access programs are important but being in the midst of the program I can tell you that they are. Statistics prove autism is only growing so to shrink programs aimed at helping these children and parents would be horrible. Autism has many faces and one child with autism will be completely different to another so there isn’t a single “instruction manual” to use we can’t just expect these parents that will have children diagnosed to understand a spectrum disorder. That’s the value of these therapist, they have seen one on one the different faces of autism and can understand the intricacies that even us parents can’t see!