The Cornerstone – January 2021

PBIS in ‘Action’ at GPAEA Districts – Chariton, West Burlington, & Winfield-Mt. Union

Recently, districts were asked to share video examples for the virtual conference on positive behavior support in March by GPAEA’s Positive Behavior Interventions & Supports (PBIS) Coordinator Shelli Blazic. To say that she was overwhelmed by the quality and content of these videos was an understatement! “The purpose of these instructional videos is to increase positive climate and culture,” Blazic explained. “And that is exactly what our Districts are doing… they are all so good and a bright spot in my day when I see one in my inbox!” 

We wish to recognize and congratulate these districts for their PBIS efforts and share these videos for educational value and inspiration for your building:

Learn more about PBIS at or contact Shelli Blazic at

Resources for Math Teachers

Math teachers could consider utilizing these resources of free, online practice problems available to them for use with students:

Knowledgehook One-Pager for Grades 1-high school

DeltaMath One-Pager for Grades 6-12, including some computer science

AsciiMath: Teachers and students can use AsciiMath to make math notations using actual symbols in Pear Deck. You can learn more and see how the student experiences this by going to this link and moving through the 7 slides using the navigation bar at the bottom. You can access the Google Slide deck to use for your own purposes here.

Contact with questions.

New 2021-2022 Scale-Up Application OPEN!

Since 2011, the Iowa STEM Council has vetted high quality STEM programs available to Iowa educators in formal and informal education settings.  The 2021-22 Scale-Up Program menu has been released and educators can apply now thru March 5. The Scale-Up program menu ranges from coding programs to integrated mathematics, agriculture projects, STEM career exploration and more.

Common Questions:

Who can apply? PreK-12 cross-curricular educators, both in and out of the classroom, are eligible to apply. Eligible applicant(s) include public and private school PreK-12 teachers, youth organization leaders, informal education professionals, home school associations and others who deliver STEM education programming. The lead applicant may also be an administrator applying on behalf of an educator or a group of educators.

Can multiple educators be listed in an application?Yes. For example, if three fourth grade teachers from the same building are interested in applying for a program, all of the educators can be listed within one application.

I would like to apply but we have not hired the educator who would teach the program.No worries. The application allows you to put a “placeholder” in your application. Before implementing the program, however, the placeholder will need to be replaced with an actual educator.

Can I apply for multiple school buildings in one application?For districts interested in applying for multiple buildings, each building will need to have its own application but within the application portal, applications can be copied to make the process of applying for buildings across a district easier.  

I work with children in an afterschool program. Can I apply?Yes, educators from out-of-school programs benefit greatly from these programs. The summaries listed below identify which programs are best suited for an out-of-school setting.

What do the programs provide?Each program provides professional development and materials to implement the program. Some programs also provide an educator stipend, lodging and/or meals. More information about what is provided for each program can be found by clicking on the program title.

For more information about the process or the program menu, contact Kristine Bullock.


NAVIGATING THE TRANSITION PROCESS – Free Workshop for Educators and Families in March

The goal of this hybrid/blended workshop is to help educators and families broaden their understanding of the special education secondary transition process in Iowa and how to participate effectively.

To register, go to and search
#168618 GP – Navigating the Transition Process for Educators and Families

Future Ready Spotlight (January) – Micah Peck, Wapello

Laura Williams, 21C Learning Specialist

Mr. Micah Peck

“Find a need, fill a need.” This is the mantra of Mr. Micah Peck, Band Director, from Wapello CSD Jr/Sr High. In this case, helping students to connect with school, other students, and potentially learning skills that may land students in high demand career fields such as programming or IT through an innovative new program – Wapello Technological Innovation and ESports (TIES) Program.

After having great success with an Esports tournament, where the local partnering telephone company (Mediapolis Telephone) provided the ethernet connection enabling more than 50 students to compete, it was clear this is highly relevant and engaging to students. Not only that, it’s a game-changer for students who may struggle socializing as they now have an outlet to develop relationships and mentors through this program. Wapello TIES is being offered as an after school club, but Mr. Peck envisions their new space within the school igniting other innovative learning opportunities to students beyond the program.  Currently, the program is off to a great start, raising enough funds to purchase the materials needed to build three PC gaming computers. While Esports may seem to be just a fun activity, students are learning a lot of skills that will add value beyond school including going through the process of research and design to figure out what they would need to build these computers as well as the technical skills to actually build them.

Mr. Peck emphasized the value of networking with other schools such as Fairfield and WACO, which have been successfully running an Esports program in their districts, to help in the planning of Wapello’s program. For these reasons and so many more, thank you Mr. Peck for being our Future Ready Spotlight this month. 

To find out more, contact Mr. Peck at or visit the Wapello TIES website here.

Future Ready in GPAEA

The future is no longer upon us, it is here! In order to better support our schools in supporting future-ready students, Great Prairie AEA has been working across our organization to bring expertise into 5 Future-Ready Core Services and Supports, regarding Future Ready Data, Transition for all students, Rigor, Partnerships, and Relevance. Learn more here and stay tuned for our Future Ready school Spotlights! 

For more information regarding Future-Ready Core Services and supports, contact GPAEA Future Ready Coordinators: Jessica Vance,, or Laura Williams, 

Website designed to help Iowans with mental health needs

Mental health professionals from Iowa’s nine AEAs recently collaborated to create a website for Iowans who are searching for mental health assistance. The website at came from a request by the state legislature to help educators, parents, and students navigate resources related to mental health and well-being in Iowa. In addition to AEA contacts for the schools, the site provides contacts for the home setting from Iowa’s Mental Health and Disability Services (MHDS).

The website features vetted sources to educate visitors about addiction and substance abuse; anxiety and stress disorders; attention deficit disorder; depression; eating disorders; and self-harm.

“A call was put out by educational committee legislators last year to offer support to Iowa families and educators in the area of mental health,” said Tom Lane, a lobbyist for Iowa’s AEAs. “The site was designed to alleviate the frustration of finding contacts for services. When educators visit the site, they will find a point of contact at their respective AEA and family members can reach out to mental health regions of MHDS.”

A listing of Iowa groups and agencies that advocate for children and families is part of an education component of the site, as well as reducing the stigma associated with mental health.

The site also provides information about proactive measures people can take for self-care.

“People who pay attention to their own physical and emotional health are better able to handle the challenges of supporting someone with mental health issues,” said Lane.

School employees are encouraged to check out the site, especially the “Find Support” page, in order to demonstrate how to navigate the resources. Schools should contact their local AEA for assistance with students who need mental health supports.

What is Your NEED in Your New Year’s Resolution?

Kelly Wallace & Annette Clarahan, Parent Educator Coordinators

Over the years most of my New Year resolutions have included eating better and losing weight.  I’m not sure after this year I will ever look at a New Year’s Resolution in quite the same way.  We’ve all faced challenges and change.  This year I’m looking at what I NEED instead of what I’m cutting out.  

What do I need to help my child/family?  I need my family, coworkers & friends just like kids need recess.  We need each other.  We may not be together physically, but we can still FaceTime or Zoom.  Even social distancing in our garage, just so we can be together.  

We are learning new ways to reach families effectively that will serve us in the years to come regardless of what goes on in the world.  

As families/educators we’ve risen to the challenge.  Most importantly, we need to take time to celebrate our successes…we’ve done amazing work! 

When we all come together children and families thrive.

Looking back on the last year, we want to remind you that we are here for you along with our GPAEA Family & Educator Partnership (FEP) webpage. It’s up to date and ready to help you and your families find useful information.

Happy New Year!  

Kelly Wallace & Annette Clarahan

Behavior & Anti-Bullying Courses for Educators – January & February 2021

Register now for these courses beginning soon!

#200897 GP – Hacking School Discipline (Blazic): Learners will collaborate with peers, reflect on current practices, and add strategies to their classroom management practices with regard to implementing restorative practice discipline.  This course will give learners the opportunity to also reflect on system wide practices and utilize solutions-focused thinking to implement growth within their building or district.

#190489 GP – Schools Where Everyone Belongs: Learners will collaborate with peers, reflect on current practices, and add strategies to their classroom management practices with regard to bullying prevention.  This course will give learners the opportunity to also reflect on classroom and system wide practices and utilize evidence and research-based implementation strategies to prevent and manage bullying behaviors within their school.

#200859 GP – Lost At School: Participants will collaborate with colleagues, reflect on current practices, and add strategies to their classroom management practices. The foci for this course is viewing lagging skills as the primary contributor for challenging behavior, and developing a collaborative, proactive solution in order that the students may be more successful in the school setting.  This course will give participants the opportunity to reflect on classroom and system wide practices and utilize solutions-focused thinking to implement growth within their building or district.

Virtual Paraeducator Courses Available – March & May 2021

#160681 GP – Paraeducator Course I: Facing New Challenges, Communication, Ethics, and Confidentiality (LAR)

Monday, March 08, 202105:00:00 PM – 07:30:00 PM
Thursday, March 11, 202105:00:00 PM – 07:30:00 PM
Monday, March 15, 202105:00:00 PM – 07:30:00 PM
Thursday, March 18, 202105:00:00 PM – 07:30:00 PM
Monday, March 22, 202105:00:00 PM – 07:30:00 PM
Thursday, March 25, 202105:00:00 PM – 07:30:00 PM

#160682 GP – Paraeducator Course II: Facing New Challenges Roles and Responsibilities (LAR)

Monday, March 29, 202105:00:00 PM – 07:30:00 PM
Thursday, April 08, 202105:00:00 PM – 07:30:00 PM
Monday, April 12, 202105:00:00 PM – 07:30:00 PM
Thursday, April 15, 202105:00:00 PM – 07:30:00 PM
Monday, April 19, 202105:00:00 PM – 07:30:00 PM
Thursday, April 22, 202105:00:00 PM – 07:30:00 PM

#160683 GP – Paraeducator Course III: Behavior Improvement (LAR)

Monday, May 03, 202105:00:00 PM – 07:30:00 PM
Thursday, May 06, 202105:00:00 PM – 07:30:00 PM
Monday, May 10, 202105:00:00 PM – 07:30:00 PM
Thursday, May 13, 202105:00:00 PM – 07:30:00 PM
Monday, May 17, 202105:00:00 PM – 07:30:00 PM
Thursday, May 20, 202105:00:00 PM – 07:30:00 PM

Drake Course Offerings for Educators – Spring 2021

Make your Professional Learning Plans for the 2021 Spring Semester!
Our award-winning online graduate courses are specific to PreK-12 teachers, counselors, and administrators. All offerings are interactive and include practical information. Click on any of the below course titles for additional information, including offering dates.
Anti-Bullying: Where to Start (EDMA 205) Award Winning
Computer Science in the Elementary Classroom (EDMA 269)  NEW
Cultural Awareness: Seeing Past the Stereotypes (EDMA 209)Differentiation and Literacy (EDMA 244)Elementary Social Studies: Making Your Content Relevant (EDMA 208)EveryBODY Wins: Adapted Physical Education (EDMA 253)High School Physical Education: Putting National Standards into Action (EDMA 252)Human Relations (EDMA 204)Inspiring Investigations through Citizen Science (EDMA 158)  4 – 8 Science
Middle School and High School Health: Building a 21st Century Curriculum (EDMA 254)
Suicide Prevention for Administrators and Educators
Teacher Leadership Strategies (EDMA 206)
The Power of Play (EDMA 261)
Today’s Children’s Literature (EDMA 207)

Certificate in Online Teaching Pedagogy
Continuing Education & Professional Development, in conjunction with AEA Learning Online, offers a certificate in Online Teaching Pedagogy. Certificate in Online Teaching Pedagogy Visit or call 1-800-76-TEACH (8-3224) for more information about our other offerings.

Students seeking to use these courses for recertification or salary advancement should seek prior approval from their school district or appropriate licensing agency.

GPAEA Van Delivery Over Winter Break

Order items before Tuesday, December 22

Just a reminder, GPAEA Van Delivery will not be running December 23-January 3 due to the winter break. If you are on a Monday route and need something delivered on January 4th, please make sure to have your order submitted into the SNAP catalog no later than 7:30 a.m. on Tuesday, December 22nd. If you need assistance, please contact us at 800-622-0027 or

Use Rosen PowerKnowledge Science to Create Virtual Calming Rooms

During this stressful time, are you looking for tools to help students deal with stress and become more calm? The PowerKnowledge Life Science database has webcam videos that can be used to create a Virtual Calming Room. These videos let you experience the beauty of a tropical reef, pandas at play, a jellyfish ballet, or polar bears on ice.  You can search the live video feed gallery at

PowerKnowledge Science is a digital resource provided for K-12 students and staff by GPAEA. Beside Life Science, the other two components of the resource are Earth & Space Science and Physical Science. If you need assistance with logging on to the database, you may contact your school’s teacher librarian or GPAEA Librarian, Jane Frizzell.

The Cornerstone – December 2020