Register today for VIRTUAL Substitute Authorization PK-12 beginning October 18

Are you interested in becoming a substitute teacher? Register today!

#190031 GP – Substitute Authorization Grades Pk -12 (Virtual)

This 20 hour virtual course is designed to enable participants to become competent in the skills necessary to successfully substitute in Iowa’s elementary and secondary classrooms. 

Contact Michelle Dickey at with questions.

Paraeducator Certification Courses in Ottumwa or Virtually

Paraeducators are integral partners in the education setting so they need top-notch skills to provide the best academic and emotional support to students.

GPAEA Paraeducator Certification Courses will be starting on October 7th. The classes may be attended in person at the Ottumwa AEA or virtually and it will be held in the evenings. Registration ends September 29th.

Check out this link for more information,

Also available:

#168460 GP – Paraeducator Certification Level II Generalist with Area of Concentration: ELL

Monday, December 06, 202104:30:00 PM – 06:30:00 PM
Monday, December 20, 202104:30:00 PM – 06:30:00 PM
Monday, January 03, 202204:30:00 PM – 06:30:00 PM
Monday, January 17, 202204:30:00 PM – 06:30:00 PM
Monday, January 31, 202204:30:00 PM – 06:30:00 PM
Monday, February 14, 2022

The Cornerstone – September 2021

Click on a title below or scroll down!

3 Grand Champion Team Winners of the Next Top AAC Model Competition!

Megan Farrell, Assistive Technology Specialist

Congratulations to the 3 Grand Champion team winners with the Next Top AAC (Augmentative & Alternative Communication) Model Competition!

Team Mediapolis: Leads…Emily Borrison, SLP & Karen Rosas, Sped Teacher

Team SunnySide Burlington: Leads…Erika Freeman, SLP & Bailey Wonders, Sped Teacher

Team West Burlington – Preschool: Leads….Diane John, SLP & April Marlow, Sped Teacher

Launched in February for schools who participated in PLO 2020, the goal of the competition was over the course of the remaining school year, to model* core vocabulary 100x/day across 6-8 daily routines of the school day. Here is an example from Team West Burlington – Preschool:

There were 9 total teams/classrooms amongst 6 school districts who had initial training in Project Core in the Spring of 2020 and in an effort to continue the momentum forward in 2021 AND to ensure communication partners at school were trained with evidence based implementation strategies, it was decided that a friendly AAC modeling competition was in order. 
Here’s a link to the competition details: GPAEA’S NEXT TOP AAC MODELERS

Winning teams received the heavyweight title of “GRAND CHAMPION” and will be awarded a customized all-weather, outdoor playground communication system to expand communication all day, every day, with every one and in all places – like the playground with peers! This robust communication system will be created by GPAEA’s Creative Services Department and is courtesy of the Iowa Speech Language Hearing Association Foundation (ISHA) Foundation Bingham Innovation Award.

Outdoor Playground Communication System

Future Ready Spotlight: Perry Lane, Chariton STEM Educator

This month’s Future Ready Spotlight, lands on STEM Educator & #changeagent Perry Lane from Chariton. 

By Laura Williams, 21st Century Learning Specialist

“To Inspire and motivate students to pursue careers in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math” is the mission statement on Chariton’s Elementary STEM program. A program by which all students will get to take throughout the course of their elementary career. In this time and space, Perry Lane, Chariton’s lead STEM teacher, focuses on creating opportunities for students to engage in their STEM program values: creativity, curiosity, collaboration, and critical thinking.

Upon further investigation, it was clear that Chariton is on the cutting edge of incorporating new technologies to engage students in STEM learning. Much of the funding attained by Chariton for their STEM program goes towards investing in the latest resources and available technology tools. Students may think they are just having fun working with a programmable mouse but really they are learning foundational computer science skills that may help them develop an interest in this ever growing career field. To Perry, “points” aren’t the point of the program, but rather a litmus test for how well the program is doing is how engaged the students are when they come to STEM class.

Many students would tell you that Perry’s class is their favorite because they get to do more hands-on and fun learning! One great example of engagement that goes above and beyond typical course curriculum would be students taking lead on developing the programs google site, found here. Empowering students is what Perry does in this type of classroom. He may have built the parameters and guides students in experiences, but he is agile enough to see value in relevant and authentic learning experiences driven by the students. 

Perry hopes to develop skills that will last them beyond their PK-12 experience, and this is critical to start young. He is always on the lookout for the next engaging STEM experience for his students. He really is developing the airplane as he flies it because in the STEM education arena, there are always advancements. His program really is the foundation for supporting future ready learners. For all these reasons and more, thank you Perry Lane for being this month’s Future Ready Spotlight. 

Columbus K-2 STEM Room 
Van Allen 3-5 STEAM Room 

Connect with Perry at to learn more or visit their program site at

Want to share your future-ready story? Connect with!

Agile for Education: A Scrum Play by Play

Save the date! New Professional Learning Opportunity in GPAEA!

Sign up here!

Agile Scrum is a game-changing project management mindset and framework that allows educators to navigate multiple projects and includes tools and processes that help students take control of their own learning. This framework naturally allows for students to develop 21st Century Skills while still adhering to course objectives and learning targets. Participants will receive a playbook with ready-to-go activities and processes to incorporate directly into their classrooms.  This training is great for anyone looking to enhance their own project management, project completion, project success, or for PK-12 educators to guide students in a project management framework that works! See this video for more info. 

Dates: Sept 29-30

Location: GPAEA Ottumwa 2814 N Court St. Ottumwa, IA 52501

Sign up here!

Questions? Contact Laura Williams

Social Studies: Supporting Inquiry within the Unit Planning Process

Register for Social Studies: Supporting Inquiry within the Unit Planning Process!

#308825 Ottumwa AEA Nov 10 2021
(Use this link to register)

**Participants will have License Renewal Credit Option for 1 Credit**

This course is primarily for 6-12 Social Studies teachers and instructional coaches. If elementary teachers would like to attend, please reach out for additional information. 

Date/Location: November 10-11, 2021 @ Great Prairie AEA Ottumwa Office 

Course Summary: 

In this course participants will develop a unit plan that supports the inquiry process, student engagement, critical thinking, and literacy. Participants will engage in discussions about the role of standards, knowledge, and skills to support instruction and assessment. Throughout the course, we will engage in learning around the purpose and development of compelling and supporting questions. Within the unit planning process high-leverage instructional strategies for social studies will be shared and incorporated throughout the course. Alignment of units and lessons to standards will be supported and reinforced. Participants will have the opportunity to collaborate with colleagues from different districts to deepen their level of understanding of inquiry in social studies and to develop a unit plan. 


  • The Participant will use the Social Studies content & inquiry standards to develop a unit plan. 
  • The participant will develop a unit plan that demonstrates an understanding of compelling and supporting questions, the inquiry process, formative assessment, and summative assessment, while embedding high-leverage instructional strategies throughout the unit.

This course is primarily for 6-12 Social Studies teachers and instructional coaches. If elementary teachers would like to attend, please reach out for additional information.



Welcome to a new school year filled with new beginnings and new opportunities!  The Family and Educator Partnership is here to help you get off to a great start by providing materials to help improve family engagement in special education.   

Research indicates family engagement can lead to higher grades and test scores, improved attendance and better behavior. And yet,  most teachers share with us that they find it challenging to connect with families.  Let us help!

We have assembled a file box for each building, filled with materials to help families understand and engage in the special education process.  These will be distributed over the next month.  We have recommended storing these resources in the room where IEP meetings are most commonly held.  As questions or concerns come up with families, you will have the appropriate  resource to share.  Have a family questioning if a special education evaluation is the right path for their student?  Share the Child Find document with them.  Is a child new to services in the area of behavior?  Share the Functional Behavior Assessment &/or Behavior Intervention Plan booklets with the family.  Sending out a meeting notice?  Include a copy of ‘What to Expect at an IEP Meeting’.  Have a family who needs more resources  or is having a difficult time understanding the special education process?  Share the FEP brochure with the family so they can reach out to us. The resources in the box have limitless possibilities and you can find suggested uses on the chart also enclosed in the materials. 

If you would like electronic copies of these documents please see the next page or visit the FEP website at Near the bottom of the page you will find a table with a link to each document.  Electronic documents are great to attach to an email or download and print yourself.  

We hope that you will find these materials helpful and continue to use them for years to come.  Unfortunately, we are not able to keep up with all of the printing demands.  If your school would like to order more please go to  Once logged in you will click on ‘start your order’ near the top.  In the ‘Search Products’ box type ‘FEP’.  From there you should see a list of all of the family engagement materials. 

We hope you will find these materials helpful.  If we can be of any assistance to your team, please do not hesitate to contact us.  

AAIMS Progress Monitoring, November 19 – VIRTUAL

Training for AAIMS progress monitoring measures is available to Great Prairie AEA educators and AEA staff. 

  • For use with students who have goals related to pre-algebra or Algebra 1 content
  • Valid and reliable measures
  • Developed by Anne Foegen and Jeanette Olson of Iowa State University
  • Free, but training is required to receive access
  • You can see what they look like at the AAIMS home page. Downloads are available in the lower left corner.

Details about the next training: 

  • Date is Friday, Nov 19, 2021.
  • Time is 8:30 to 3:30 PM.
  • Virtual format through Zoom
  • #308563 Video Conference Nov 19 2021  (Use this link to register)
  • Registration closes Wednesday, Nov 3.
  • No credit is offered for this workshop.
  • All participants will need a laptop to access learning materials during the training.
  • All participants will need an AAIMS binder, available from GPAEA print shop for $32.  Enter purchase order number at registration.
  • Class facilitators will coordinate distribution of binders via van mail.
  • There is a small amount of out-of-class homework required. It consists of practice scoring of measures.

Great Prairie AEA Trainers:

Gary Jarmes,

Lynn Selking,

GPAEA SCRIPT (Computer Science) Workshops in October

House File 2629, signed into law in 2020 by Gov. Kim Reynolds, built on Senate File 274 by requiring, for the first time, that K-12 schools provide computer science instruction. Schools and the state also must develop K-12 computer science plans by July 1, 2022.

Great Prairie AEA is providing one-day SCRIPT workshops for districts to develop their computer science implementation plans. The SCRIPT — the Strategic CSforALL Resource & Implementation Planning Tool — is a framework to guide teams of district administrators, school leaders, and educators through a series of collaborative visioning, self-assessment, and goal-setting exercises to create or expand upon a computer science education implementation plan for their students. SCRIPT Workshop Grants are available!

Click here to learn more and register.

For more information, contact:

Lisa Jacobs,

Seth Denney,

RESPECT Training (Ottumwa) begins in October

RESPECT is a FREE, four-day workshop focused on family/school partnerships, relationship building, and conflict resolution. You will learn skills and strategies that can be applied universally when addressing professional and personal conflict.

Training materials and meals will be provided. Must attend all four days in order to receive credit of any kind. Registration is required.

Click here to register and learn more.

Social Emotional Engagement – The “Fuel” for Learning, October 4 – VIRTUAL

Grant Wood AEA hosts Social Emotional Engagement – The “Fuel” for Learning on October 4 with a FREE VIRTUAL OPTION!

This workshop provides an overview of Social Emotional Engagement – Knowledge and Skills (SEE-KS) as a framework for fostering social emotional engagement, presenting information in multiple ways, and promoting student participation and relationships at multi-tiers of support. Presenters: Emily Rubin and Jen Townsend

Learn more at

GPAEA Schools in the News: Mental Health Grants Awarded to 5 GPAEA Districts

Congratulations to the districts within GPAEA that received Mental Health Grants: Keokuk, Oskaloosa, Ottumwa, Seymour, & West Burlington.

Gov. Kim Reynolds and the Iowa Department of Education announced over $8.6 million in competitive grants will be awarded to 64 school districts to assist them in providing mental health support and other wraparound services to students and families. Click here to read the News Release, Governor Reynolds, Iowa Department of Education award over $8.6 million in K-12 school mental health grants.

Build Iowa’s Future Design Challenge Open to Students K-12

Learn more at

Work-based learning is an essential tool to connect what students learn in the classroom to future careers. That’s why the Iowa Clearinghouse for Work-Based Learning and the Home Builders Association of Iowa are pleased to announce the statewide Build Iowa’s Future Design Challenge for school districts and accredited nonpublic schools. Teachers and school administrators across the state are invited to sign up for their K-12 students to participate, with the chance to win up to $1,000 for their school.

Please encourage teachers and students you know to get involved in either the Iowa Home Design Challenge for grades K-5 and 6-8 or the Iowa Dream and Design Challenge for grades 9-12. Click here to view the flyer. Learn more about the challenge at: