Google 4 Doodle Contest Announced


Students in grades K-12 are invited to take part in the 2016 Doodle 4 Google contest, and create a doodle that tells the world “What I see for the future.” From crayons to clay, graphic design, or even food, young artists can utilize any materials to bring their creation to life. Like all Google Doodles, each doodle must incorporate the letters G-o-o-g-l-e. One national winner will also receive a $30,000 college scholarship. The contest is open for entries from September 14, 2016 to December 2, 2016.

You can read the Google announcement on their blog, and students can download the Google template and contest rules there, too:


The Cornerstone – September 2016


Click here to see email version or click on a link below to begin reading!

Second Grader Finds Success Using Assistive Technology


Ellie Hamilton, Assistive Technology Specialist

Zeke will be in third grade this year at New London Elementary and has been using different assistive technology devices since receiving early access services  in the birth to three setting. An eight person team works together to assess Zeke’s needs and update his Individualized Education Plan (IEP) and last year they began to see progress with the devices that they had been trialing. The New London district recently purchased a new Rifton dynamic pacer gait trainer with multi-positioning capabilities for his classroom work. He also uses talking brix to communicate yes/no messages; activated with his hands or head with the assistance of a support staff member.

When the team first met and considered Zeke’s needs and access to the curriculum, they wanted to experiment with additional assistive technology items borrowed from Great Prairie AEA. After the trial and reviewing data, the school district purchased the Gooseneck Wobble switch and a Big Mack Switch.

In the video, Zeke is using a Big Mack single message recordable switch. He is telling Ashley to turn the page by activating the switch with his hand. This switch was incorporated into Zeke’s weekly reading probes for him to respond to questions in the classroom setting.

The New London district team has incorporated assistive technology beyond the classroom into his everyday activities with his peers. Zeke used a Gooseneck Wobble Switch to participate in the second grade Winter concert. He activated the switch to introduce a song during the concert.  He had the support of his teacher and paraeducator to setup and ensure his assistive technology items were ready for the concert.

Before Zeke was dependent on adults to determine his wants and needs. Now he is able to communicate using switches in a supported environment with his team.

A special THANK YOU to Zeke’s team last year:

  • Bridget Swailes, Special Educator
  • Mrs. Mrs. McAllister, General Education Teacher
  • Teresa Roberts, Paraeducator
  • Ashley Hobbs, GPAEA Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant
  • Shannah Sullivan, GPAEA Occupational Therapist
  • Carol Kottensette, GPAEA Physical Therapist
  • Kandys Dameron, GPAEA Physical Therapy Assistant
  • Catherine Benitz & Kim Richert, GPAEA Core Team
  • Dana McIntire, GPAEA Speech Pathologist

GPAEA’s Crisis Response Team Available for Area Schools


Each year students and educators in Great Prairie AEA are impacted by incidents involving traumatic stress. These situations can result in disruption of the normal learning experience for students, as well as relationship problems, anxiety, and depression. The Crisis Response Team consists of consultants, school psychologists and social workers who have received specialized training in critical incident stress management and grief recovery.


Brianne Stuchel
School Social Worker
800-622-0027 Ext. 5392 Ottumwa Office

Kibbon Rumohr
School Social Worker
800-622-0027 Ext. 5331 Ottumwa Office

2016-17 Media Van Delivery Schedule

screenshot-2Delivery Starts: Wednesday August 17, 2016

Last Delivery: the week of May 15-18, 2017
Last Pickup: the week of May 22-25, 2017

Monday – Route 1 and Route 2

Tuesday – Route 3 and Route 4

Wednesday – Route 5

Thursday –Route 6 and Route 7

Orders are pulled for delivery Monday through Thursday. Please order by 8:30am the day before your delivery date (exception: Thursday for Monday delivery)

No van delivery on these dates:

  • Thanksgiving – Wednesday/Thursday/Friday-November 23, 24, 25, 2016
  • Winter Break – December 23, 2016 – January 2, 2017
  • President’s Day – February 20, 2017
  • Spring Break – March 20 – 24, 2017
  • Easter Monday – April 17, 2017
  • Memorial Day – May 29, 2017

Iowa Brain Injury Alliance Hosts Webinar & Town Hall on September 23



“REAP – A Statewide Concussion Management Program for Iowa” presented by Karen McAvoy, PsyD, Director for the Center for Concussion, Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children on Friday, September 23, 2016 at 12pm CST.

Download the flyer for more information: Karen McAvoy Webinar Flyer 9-23-16 FINAL

Town Hall Event

Concussion Management: What every student, family and school needs to know about Iowa’s newest concussion treatment protocol presented by Dr. Karen McAvoy, author of REAP on Friday, September 23, 2016 at 6pm CST at Iowa City Public Library.

Download the flyer for more information: Karen McAvoy Event Flyer 9-23-16 FINAL

Youth Mental Health First Aid Training in Burlington & Ottumwa

For more information or to participate in a Youth Mental Health First Aid training in Ottumwa or Burlington, visit GPAEA course catalog or contact:

Ottumwa area:

Burlington area:

To learn more about Mental Health First Aid USA, visit

Parent & Educator Connection is now Iowa Family & Educator Partnership

Iowa Family & Educator PartnershipThe Parent & Educator Connection (PEC) is in the process of a statewide redesign which brings with it a new name, Iowa Family & Educator Partnership (Iowa FEP). The work of the Iowa FEP will focus on high expectations, effective communications, active involvement and support student learning. If you have questions about Iowa FEP, please contact:

Annette Clarahan
Parent Educator Coordinator
641-682-8591 or 800-622-0027 Ext. 5517

Districts Covered:  Albia, Cardinal, Centerville , Chariton, Davis County, Eddyville-Blakesburg , Fairfield, Fremont, Keota, Maharishi, Moravia, Moulton – Udel, North Mahaska, Oskaloosa Christian, Oskaloosa, Ottumwa, Ottumwa Juvenile Shelter, Ottumwa Seton Catholic School, Pekin, Seymour, Sigourney, Tri County, Van Buren, Wayne.

Kelly Wallace
Parent Educator Coordinator
319-385-9005 or 800-382-8970 Ext. 3034

Districts Covered: Burlington, Central Lee, Danville, Ft. Madison, Harmony, Keokuk, Mediapolis, Morning Sun, Mt. Pleasant, New London, Waco, Wapello, West Burlington, Winfield/Mt. Union.

Mackin: A new resource provided by GPAEA Media Services

Tricia Slecta, GPAEA Media Integrationist Specialist

MackinVIA_Logo_BlackGreenMackin is a perfect resource for today’s 21st century learners. Since students are used to having information just a click away, Mackin now provides GPAEA area schools access to thousands of ebooks and GPAEA databases. All it takes is just a click and single sign on. Mackin is more than just an ebook reader. It also has many unique features that makes this resource a powerful literacy asset in the classroom.

Mackin has many features:

  • Students can have 24/7 online and offline access, anywhere, anytime. This feature is beneficial to students without wifi at home. They can download books at school read them at home, take notes and upload them when they return to school the next day.
  • Students can make custom lists of digital resources with MackinVIA Groups. Teachers can create a group and have all the books needed for the topic gathered in a group ready for students to read.
  • MackinVIA Categories provide a quick and easy way to find digital resources by subject. MackinVIA Backpack provides easy access to checkouts, requests, favorites, and notebook. Students can easily link to a school’s Accelerated Reader Enterprise account to take their AR quizzes online, directly through MackinVIA.
  • Students can highlight and underline text and create notes. Students can view lists of highlights/notes in “My Notebook”. Notes can also be saved in google drive thus allowing students the ability to share notes and collaborate with teachers and classmates.  It also includes an integrated Merriam-Webster™ dictionary. Citations are available through EasyBib™.
  • Teachers can add favorite websites and URLs to the links menu. Furthermore, they can upload their lesson to Mackin and have all the website and links in one location. In this way, students then log in to Mackin and start the lesson easily because all the resources are in one location.
  • It is Section 508 compliant making the site and platform more accessible and user-friendly for those with disabilities.

How to Access:

  1. Visit and click on the Mackin logo or type in your browser on any device
  2. Get your school username and password from your teacher librarian or request it through email from
  3. Start to use Mackinvia today.
  4. For further assistance visit this site for tutorials
  5. Explore, Expound, and Expand your knowledge with Mackin.

2016-17 Second Chance For Reading Learning Opportunity


Fran McVeigh, Literacy Consultant

Great Prairie AEA has provided professional development for trained Second Chance for Reading (SCR) teachers since 2007-2008.  This learning has enhanced teachers’ skill and knowledge in developing standards-based Read Aloud Think Alouds with emphasis on higher levels of Webb’s Depth of Knowledge.  SCR continues to be a Tier 2 option for MS and HS staff who want to improve student literacy skills as well as encourage students to be life-long readers. This year’s days for trained teachers will be at the Ottumwa GPAEA office on Monday, October 31 and Monday, March 6 from 9 AM – 3 PM. Teachers who have completed the initial seven days of training may register here.

What is Second Chance for Reading?

The purpose of Second Chance Reading is to remediate reading deficits for secondary students who otherwise would struggle with the demands of the secondary curriculum. SCR provides a specific course designed specifically for middle and high school students who are reading below grade level. SCR helps students to increase their independent reading, develop vocabulary, and improve comprehension, fluency, and writing. The intended outcomes of SCR are to:

  • accelerate achievement in reading comprehension by increasing reading comprehension scores and vocabulary on the Stanford Diagnostic Reading Inventory by at least one grade level
  • increase students’ access to print and wide reading
  • increase students’ fluency

If you have questions, please contact Fran McVeigh at or 800-622-0027 ext. 5817.

Substitute Authorization Course in Aug/Sept – BURLINGTON

A primary school teacherSubstitute Authorization (Grades K-12) held in BURLINGTON, August 29 – September 14

A substitute authorization allows an individual who holds a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited institution to substitute in a elementary, middle school, junior high school, or high school (grades K -12) for no more than five consecutive days in one job assignment. An individual who holds a Para educator certificate and completes the substitute authorization program is authorized to substitute only in the special education classroom in which the individual Para educator is employed.

DEADLINE FOR MINIMUM ENROLLMENT: August 22, 2016 (extended to Aug. 26)


MTSS: A Focus on Assessment w/ Cassandra Erkens

Recommended Participants: Secondary Leadership Teams, Elementary Principals and Instructional Coaches


3-Day Workshop with Cassandra Erkens
September 20 & 21, 2016 and January 17, 2017

Fairfield Arts & Convention Center
8:00 AM – 3:30 PM

Re-certification credit available
Workshop Fee: $150 – book included


Download PDF: MTSS- A Focus on Assessment Sept 2016