Iowa Teacher of the Year nominations due April 25

TOYLogoBlueGray250x190Thousands of talented Iowa educators lead and inspire their students, but only one is chosen annually as the state’s top teacher. The deadline to nominate the 2016 Iowa Teacher of the Year is April 25.

The award is an opportunity to recognize an exceptional Iowa teacher who is helping to 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 Iowa Department of Education’s Teacher of the Year webpage.

The Iowa Teacher of the Year award was established in 1958. The annual program is sponsored by the Iowa Department of Education through an appropriation from the Iowa Legislature.

The Teacher of the Year serves as an ambassador to education and as a liaison to primary and secondary schools, higher education and organizations across the state.

Clemencia Spizzirri, a middle-school Spanish teacher from the Des Moines Public Schools, was named the 2015 Teacher of the Year.

The 2016 Teacher of the Year will be announced this fall.

Originally shared on

Para Educator courses in Burlington to start soon!

Schoolchildren and their teacher reading in primary classEarn your Para Educator Certificate (Click on course to register):

Individuals seeking Para Educator Certification (Para I, II, III are required for certification plus Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation and a Federal Bureau of Investigation background check for a fee of ($65, and $40 license fee) due upon completion of all three courses. Approved for Renewal credits for Sub-Authorization but not for Para-certified with a Sub-Authorization. 2 Southeastern Community College credits are optional for an additional fee of $20.00 which has been add to the Para-Educator plus SCC credit option that you must choose when you register.

GPAEA Schools in the News – March 2015

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.

GPAEA’s Summer Institute Series

Join us for our Summer Institute Series. Information and registration links below.

June 8 & 9: Leading and Sustaining the Work of the Collaborative Team Process

STPLC SI 2015 Postcard_Page_1

Join Solution Tree Consultant, Tim Brown in learning how to lead the work of collaborative teams.

Tim Brown will guide your teams in answering the following questions:

  • How will you establish common understandings and expectations for collaboration across your system (district, school, & teacher teams)?
  • How will you train collaborative team leaders?
  • What does the work of a collaborative team look like?
  • What is the role of common assessments in the work of the collaborative team?
  • What is your long-range plan for implementing a collaborative system?
  • How will you monitor, support, and evaluate the effectiveness of the collaborative process?

Register at

Download a PDF: STPLC SI 2015 Postcard

June 15 & 16: Thinking Functionally About Behavior

Behavior SI 2015 Postcard_Page_1

Are behaviors in your building causing you and your staff to have high levels of stress? Do you want to know more about how to manage those behaviors? How can we see the behaviors we want to see from our students?

Join us on June 15 & 16 to learn how to think functionally about the behaviors you encounter on a daily basis so you can match your interventions and strategies effectively. Throughout the two days, we will talk about behavior assessment and behavior intervention. We will share content and strategies to support your work with students who demonstrate problem behaviors in your schools.

Download a PDF: Behavior SI 2015 Postcard

Also, there is an Assistive Technology Summer Institute in Ottumwa on June 2 & 3 hosted by the University of Iowa College of Education’s Center for Assistive Technology & Research (ICATER). More info at

The Cornerstone – March 2015

cs header14 1

How to be Happy and Successful in Your Work

Originally posted on Jon's Blog:

jon adviceThis is an excerpt from my speech at the winter commencement ceremony at Indian Hills Community College in Ottumwa, Iowa…Go Warriors!

……………So then, what does one say to such a diverse group as this that will apply to everyone? Well, over the past 25 years or so I have been hiring new employees and orienting them to new settings. Over those years, my message to new staff has sort of evolved, but I thought that, regardless of where you find yourself next, these thoughts might benefit you in your next chapter. Here is what I have learned to emphasize to new people when trying to help them get off to a good start to a new job or career…..

  1. Relationships Matter – I have never seen a person fail as the result of having inadequate technical skill or knowledge. People most often fail by not being able to build and…

View original 1,056 more words

GPAEA Presents The Behavior Doctor – April 20 & 21

Behavior Dr (2)When?

Monday, April 20
6 PM – 8 PM

Tuesday, April 21 – all day
8:30 AM – 4 PM Lunch on your own


Fairfield Arts& Convention Center
200 N Main St
Fairfield, IA 52556

Dr. Laura Riffel, the Behavior Doctor, is a behaviorist who has more than 30 years of experience dealing with challenging behaviors. Her free website is filled with tools to help parents and educators deal with behaviors. She uses humor and mnemonic tools to help participants remember her strategies.

Download a PDF Flyer.


Iowa’s Area Education Agencies: 40 Years of Service

For 40 years, Iowa’s Area Education Agencies have been on the leading edge of service for children with special needs. What started as a vision in 1974 by the Iowa legislature to ensure that every Iowa child had access to a quality education and limitless possibilities has evolved into generations of Iowans who have gone on to reach their highest potential…leading productive, meaningful lives.

Today…one in every eight Iowa children qualify for special education services. The Iowa of tomorrow will only be as strong as the investment we make now in their future. Iowa’s Area Education Agencies are proud to be your partner in a strong, vibrant Iowa for all. Together, we can ensure that every Iowa student has the best shot at success in life.

STEM Festivals in Burlington (4-25-15) & Ottumwa (3-14-15)

Rosemary Peck, GPAEA Science Specialist

What does virtual welding, extracting DNA, robotics, green screen movie production, virtual dissections, screaming balloons, flying gliders, designing and racing sailboats have in common?  You could have tried your hand at these and over 30 other activities at the STEM Festivals last year. Don’t miss out on the excitement this year!

The goal of these free, family friendly STEM events is to bring science, technology, engineering and mathematics to life by assembling scientists, engineers, teachers and education experts to provide an experience full of hands-on activities. In addition to the fun, students and families will be introduced to careers in STEM. GPAEA is partnering with the South Central, Southeast STEM Hubs, IHCC, and SCC to bring 2 festivals to GPAEA students and families.

The IHCC STEM Festival is on Saturday, 3-14-15 (Happy Pi Day!) from 10am-2pm at Indian Hills Community College, Ottumwa.  For more information visit the SC STEM Hub website:

IHCC STEM Festival Flyer Updated 1.20.15a-1

You can pre-register to attend the IHCC STEM Festival at:

The SE Iowa STEM Festival at Southeastern Community College in Burlington is Saturday, April 25 from 10am-2 pm. For more information visit:

SE Iowa STEM Festival Save the Date

Upcoming PD Opportunities – March 2015

Professional Development Classes – March 2015

  • March 2 – K-2 Counting and Cardinality/Operations and Algebraic Thinking – BURLINGTON
  • March 3 – Phonemic Awareness – BURLINGTON
  • March 4 – Check and Connect: A Comprehensive Student Engagement Intervention – BURLINGTON
  • March 10 – Nonviolent Crisis Intervention Initial Training Workshop – OTTUMWA
  • March 14 – Wheel Thrown Pottery II – BENTONSPORT
  • March 16 – Substitute Authorization – OTTUMWA
  • March 18 – Creating a Functional Behavior Assessment Tool Box For Your Classroom –BURLINGTON
  • March 23 – Iowa LETRS (Language Essentials for Teacher of Reading and Spelling): Modules 7-9 – OTTUMWA

Para Educator Course coming up in April, 2015

  • 4/07/15 Para Educator Course I Burlington
  • 4/18/15 Para Educator Course II – Burlington
  • 4/30/15 Para Educator Course III – Burlington

Sub Authorization

  • 4/16/15 Substitute Authorization (Grades K-12) – Burlington

GPAEA Schools in the News – February 2015

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.

Secondary Transition Family Planning for Educators & Parents – April 8 & 9

Transition Family Planning Flyer April 2015Our Great Prairie AEA Parent-Educator Coordinators and Transition Coordinators will hold a Secondary Transition Family Planning for Educators and Parents, in Burlington on April 8 & 9, 2015.

This 2-day workshop is intended to help teachers and parents learn how to assist families in their understanding of the special education transition process in Iowa and how to participate effectively. Participants will be provided information, resources and a supportive environment to meet Community Service Providers and ask questions about the transition process. Participants will receive parent transition planning modules created by the Iowa Department of Education and PACER.

If you know a teacher or parent who might benefit from this information please have them contact Kelly Wallace, PEC or sign up through mylearningplan at

Transition Family Planning Flyer April 2015

The Cornerstone – February 2015

cs header14 1Click on one of the posts below or scroll down to start reading this month’s The Cornerstone.

GPAEA Superintendents Hold Legislative Retreat

Earlier this week area Superintendents met with education lobbyist and legislators at their yearly Legislative Retreat. Superintendents actively communicate with their legislators throughout the year, but this provides an opportunity for leaders to meet with lobbyists, sit in on sub-committee meetings, and visit with legislators at the Capitol.

Find the Legislator that represents you at