Register now for Substitute Authorization Courses in February – Burlington & Ottumwa


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

BURLINGTON AEA – Substitute Authorization (Grades PK-12) 

  • February 28, March 1, 5, 6 & 7
  • Registration Coming Soon

OTTUMWA AEA – Substitute Authorization (Grades PK-12) 

Nominate Deserving Individuals for Iowa’s AEAs Annual Awards Recognition


Do you know someone who has made outstanding contributions to education and Iowa’s Area Education Agencies (AEAs)? Please take a few minutes to nominate this person for recognition!

Iowa’s AEAs bestow three awards annually to outstanding candidates for their contributions to education and the work of Iowa’s AEAs. To submit a nomination, complete this application by Feb. 2, 2018. Anyone is welcome to submit a nomination. The nominations will be reviewed by a selected group of AEA personnel in February. Both the nominating individual and those who are selected to be recognized will be notified the first week of March. Awards will be presented during the annual Iowa’s AEAs Boards of Directors’ Conference and the ceremony will be held at 6:30 p.m. on April 5, 2018 at the Hilton Garden Inn in Johnston.

The three awards and criteria can be found below. Each nomination should include examples of why your nominee should receive the award.

Friend of the AEA Award

Acknowledges contributions by policymakers, citizens, board members, school district partners, businesses and organizations who have been great partners and demonstrate strong support for furthering the mission of Iowa’s AEAs. Open to all policymakers, citizens, board members, school district partners, businesses and organizations.

E. Robert Stephens Award
Dr. E. Robert Stephens, better known as “Dr. Bob” and the father of Iowa’s AEAs, acknowledges contributions in the area of innovation and support to local districts, AEAs, the Department of Education and other partners/organizations. There should be evidence of outstanding contributions to the well-being of the educational community including:

  • Benefits of this individual’s leadership;
  • Creative leadership in inspiring and motivating others to achieve and contribute;
  • Strong commitment to the profession by active participation in professional activities; and
  • Evidence that the individual is respected by his/her colleagues and the community.

Open to AEA staff who serve in an administrative role and AEA board members.

Innovative Creator 
Celebrates amazingly innovative and creative thinking and actions to get results for students, educators, Iowa’s AEAs, school districts and other partners. Open to all AEA staff, board members, educators, policymakers, students…all of us are creators!

For more information, contact Connie Johnson, Iowa’s AEAs Communications Director, at (712) 335-6044.

Girls Go CyberStart – Register beginning January 29

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A new, innovative cybersecurity training program offered by the SANS Institute offers young women in high school the opportunity to learn basic cybersecurity skills through a no-cost online game of discovery called Girls Go CyberStart.

Participating students do not need prior cybersecurity knowledge or programming experience. All that is required is a computer and an internet connection.

Young women in high school in Iowa who excel in the Girls Go CyberStart game will have the opportunity to win computers and other prizes as well as a trip, with a parent, to the 2018 Women in CyberSecurity Conference.

Registration begins on January 29th and ends on February 16, 2018.  The first 10,000 young women who have registered may play the game online from February 20th through 25th.

For information about Girls Go CyberStart visit:

New Iowa Core in Social Studies Blog

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Iowa Department of Education launches new Social Studies Blog.

What do you remember about your K-12 social studies experience? Did you experience a classroom centered around exploring compelling questions? Did you analyze a variety of text, both primary and secondary sources? Primary sources are original sources from the time period and secondary sources are interpretations of those original sources. Did you have the opportunity to develop disciplinary arguments based off those texts? In other words, did you get the opportunity to think like a historian or geographer? Did you have the opportunity to identify issues in your community, state, nation, or world and think about how to address those issues? These are best practices in social studies that Iowa’s new social studies standards emphasize in order to prepare students for college, career, and civic life.

View the blog at

Workshop on Twice Exceptionality in Cedar Falls – April 2018

Workshop on Twice Exceptionality
Central Rivers AEA, Cedar Falls
Friday, April 13–Saturday April 14

Register now at

Training educators to meet the academic and affective needs of twice exceptional students is a critical need in Iowa. ITAG’s spring workshop for gifted and special needs educators and administrators will assist district teams in developing plans to address these challenges and to learn instructional approaches that emphasize rigor. Teachers and all educational personnel can benefit from professional development on the characteristics and performance of twice exceptional students, which will increase the probability that these students will be identified and appropriately served with both gifted and special education services. Each team attending will leave with a district plan draft for serving twice exceptional students as well as strategies designed to provide appropriate classroom instruction.

Presenters include Megan Foley-Nicpon from the University of Iowa and Rebecca Lopez and Julie MacKissock from Cherry Creek School District, Greenwood Village, Colorado. Iowa educators will share their approaches in breakout sessions.

Each team attending will leave with a district plan draft for serving twice exceptional students as well as strategies designed to provide appropriate classroom instruction. Register four people from your district and ITAG will waive the registration fee for one administrator from your district! Contact for more information.

Registration is limited to 200 attendees.

A block of hotel rooms have been reserved at Best Western Plus, 1614 Technology Parkway, 319-277-2400, and at the AmericInn, 5818 Nordic Dr., 319-277-6166. The conference rate is $91 plus 12% tax per night. Call the hotel directly for reservations by March 12, 2018.The Best Western Plus is across the street from the Central Rivers AEA. Individuals need to cancel 48 hours in advance to avoid charges.

All workshop sessions will be held at the Central Rivers AEA1521 Technology Pkwy, Cedar Falls, IA 50613.

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.

GPAEA Schools in the News – January 2018

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/December 2017


Coming Soon! Changes to Professional Development System

COMING SOON! In the near future GPAEA will begin using the new statewide professional development registration system called Performance Matters. This will require our current system, My Learning Plan, to be shut down for a short period of time while we transition to Performance Matters. There may be a limited number of courses in our registration system until the transition occurs. We also want you to be aware that the new system will only accept Purchase Orders and Credit/Debit Cards. Stay tuned for future updates.

Please contact Michelle Dickey  if you have questions.

Nominations Open for 2019 Iowa Teacher of the Year

DE_logoThe deadline to nominate the 2019 Iowa Teacher of the Year is April 27. The award is an opportunity to recognize an exceptional Iowa teacher who is helping redefine education. Nominations will be accepted from anyone, including students, parents, school administrators, colleagues, college faculty members, and associations. Nomination forms can be found on the following web-page: IATOY 2019 -Nomination Form.

Please contact for additional information.

National report shows Iowa is No. 1 in graduation rates again

DE_logoDES MOINES – Iowa Department of Education Director Ryan Wise today released the following statement in response to a new National Center for Education Statistics report showing Iowa again leads the country in high school graduation rates:

“We’re proud that Iowa continues to be the national leader in high school graduation rates,” Wise said. “At the same time, we have work to do to ensure all students are prepared to succeed beyond high school. This work supports the Future Ready Iowa goal of 70 percent of Iowans having education or training beyond high school by the year 2025 to ensure the workforce is equipped with the skills and education employers need.”

In Iowa, 91.3 percent of students in the Class of 2016 completed high school within four years. The state’s graduation rate has climbed 3 percentage points over a six-year period.

The NCES report shows that the nationwide graduation rate is at an all-time high of 84.1 percent. The only other state with a graduation rate higher than 90 percent was New Jersey, at 90.1 percent.

December 1, 2017 Webinar: An Overview of FAST Screening and Progress Monitoring Tools for Math and Behavior


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​Presenter: Jay Anderson

FAST (Formative Assessment System for Teachers) by FastBridge learning was developed to provide a single solution to screen, analyze, monitor, and evaluate student performance in reading, mathematics, and behavior.

This presentation will help educators learn more about the math and behavior components of the FAST system including a demonstration of general navigation, administration and scoring, and FAST reporting capabilities. Information also will be shared on how Iowa districts may work with their AEAs to upgrade existing FAST access to include these additional assessment capabilities.

As you know, Iowa’s AEAs will subsidize costs for districts to upgrade their DE provided FAST subscriptions, making these valuable tools very affordable.  Districts taking advantage of this offer will gain access to all K-6 FAST application features, which includes additional functionality in the area of literacy and access to data warehousing, reporting, training and certification in mathematics and behavior

This webinar is designed specifically for Iowa districts interested in upgrading their existing subscriptions and expanding the suite of tools available for formative assessments.

Connect To the FastBridge Webinar*

December 1, 2017

9:25am – 10:30am

*webinar will be recorded and made available at a later time for those who are unavailable to join on Dec. 1