Educators! Check out the FREE Webinar Series Supporting Online Learning beginning on August 4 from Iowa’s AEAs


Educators! Check out our FREE Webinar Series Supporting Online Learning beginning on August 4. Learn more and sign up at

Iowa’s Area Education Agencies are pleased to partner with Iowa educators to share information about how to help support online learning. These practices can be utilized in online learning but may be applied when educators and students are in the classroom together. This FREE three-week series will cover topics around creating an online learning environment, designing and delivering online learning, how to facilitate good communication & collaboration, and embedding feedback & assessment. Sign-up today!


  • August 4, 10-11am: How to EXCEL in Teaching and Learning with my LMS?
  • August 4, 2-3pm: Learn how to use Seesaw to engage students and provide feedback
  • August 6, 10-11am: How do I Effectively Use Google Classroom?
  • August 6, 2-3pm: How do I Create an Emotionally and Intellectually Safe Online Learning Environment?
  • August 11, 10-11am: Making the Most of Zoom & Google Meet: Strategies for Synchronous Online Learning
  • August 11, 2-3pm: How do you engage learners throughout remote learning?
  • August 13, 10-11am: How can you use student agency to ease the transition between face to face, hybrid, and virtual environments?
  • August 13, 2-3pm: How to make online learning more usable for all learners?
  • August 18, 10-11am: Using GSuite EDU to Address Communication & Collaboration With Students
  • August 20, 10-11am: Digitastify Your Assessment and Feedback Toolbox

Learn more and sign up at

Substitute Authorization Courses Available – Register today!

Sub Authorization

Governor Kim Reynolds issued a new proclamation as of July 17, 2020, which allows for increased flexibility in the use of substitute teachers during the disaster emergency period as follows:

  1. The day limitation (5 days in a row, 10 days in a month, in any one assignment) for holders of a substitute authorization is removed, and the long-term substitute day limit (90 days) is removed.

  2. The degree requirement to obtain a substitute authorization is changed from a bachelor’s degree to an associate’s degree or 60 semester hours through a regionally-accredited institution. The substitute authorization course is still required.

  3. The age requirement of 21 years of age for a substitute authorization is changed to age 20.

  4. Paraeducators who hold the limited substitute authorization to serve as a substitute only in their own special education classroom may serve as a substitute in any classroom (except driver’s ed).

    1. Praeducators need to hold a substitute authorization to serve as a substitute teacher.

    2. If the paraeducator holds a regular substitute authorization, they may serve as a substitute teacher in any classroom except driver’s ed (this is not a change).

    3. If the paraeducator holds the limited substitute authorization to serve as a substitute teacher only in their own special education classroom, they may substitute in any classroom during this proclamation.

  1. Holders of a career and technical authorization with at least one year of experience may serve as a substitute in any classroom (except driver’s ed).


Take an online course from Great Prairie AEA beginning August 26:

Online courses from Iowa’s Area Education Agencies beginning today:

i3 website: New early intervention, special education guidance system

i3-webimage-400x260The Iowa Department of Education and Iowa’s Area Education Agencies (AEAs) are announcing the launch of a new early intervention and special education guidance system, known as Iowa IDEA Information (i3). It was developed collaboratively with local districts and with input from parents and partner agencies from across Iowa. 

The launch of i3 means the phasing out of the current Iowa IDEA Info site, including AEA Special Education Procedures. The i3 system will bring with it enhancements that will prove to be invaluable to users, such as:

  • A one-stop shop for IFSP and IEP procedures and resources
  • User-friendly formatting for easy site navigation
  • Increased options for searching content and resources
  • Ability to allow for real-time updates with built-in options to clearly communicate updates to users
  • Translation options

The i3 system is available at If you have any questions regarding this system, email


May 29, 2020


RETIREE VIDEO: We would like to recognize and thank each and every retiree for their years of service and dedication to the students, families, educators, and schools in Great Prairie AEA. You will be missed. Please enjoy this video celebrating our retirees that was shared at yesterday’s End of the Year Zoom:

LEADERSHIP VIDEO: Your Great Prairie AEA Leadership team wants to thank you, encourage you, and celebrate you! We are proud of and appreciate the work that you’ve done under these unique circumstances.

FAQ GOOGLE FORM: A FAQ will be created with your questions about COVID-19, return to the office, etc. Please enter your question in the following link and Leadership will update questions/answers and Leadership will create a FAQ on the Staff Update to be shared and updated every week. If you have multiple questions, please submit a form for each. Thanks.

Congratulations 2020 GPAEA Retirees!

Copy of 2020 Retirees (2)

Thank you for your years of service and dedication to the students, families, and educators in southeast Iowa!

  • Kathy Achenbach, Transition Coordinator
  • Ann Borchard, Four Plus Coordinator – SCC
  • Dr. Deb Cook, Regional Director
  • Dee Gerot, Speech-Language Pathologist
  • Sandy Lee, Audiologist
  • Teresa Miller, Assistive Technology/Media Clerk
  • Christine Riegel, Speech-Language Pathologist
  • Vicki Schildroth, School Psychologist
  • Lisa Vohoska, Early ACCESS Home Interventionist
  • Norma Whitaker, Early ACCESS Designated Service Coordinator
  • Mary Witting, Teacher of the Deaf & Hard of Hearing

Click here to leave a message for a retiree by clicking on the link to their individual Padlet. You do not need to sign in to leave a comment, simply click the + in the bottom right corner and sign your name at the end of the message.


Fall Paraeducator Certification Courses are Open for Registration in Ottumwa

h o t - a i r (1)

Paraeducators work under the supervision of teachers or other licensed personnel who have the ultimate responsibility for the design and implementation of education and related service programs. Other terms used to describe paraeducators include paraprofessional, educational aide, associate, or instructional aide. Click on a session below to learn more and register.

May is School Board Recognition Month


Our Agency Board of Directors and the Board members of the local school districts in our Area volunteer countless hours of their time each year to serve their communities and schools. Please consider thanking the school and AEA Board members that you know throughout our Area. Click here to learn more about the Great Prairie AEA Board.

A special THANK YOU to our Great Prairie AEA Board of Directors:

District 1    Lora Wolff
District 2    Melissa Ballard (President)
District 3    Patricia Miletich
District 4    Matt Greiner (Vice President)
District 5    Cindy Kurtz-Hopkins
District 6    Margaret Kelly
District 7    Janet Smith
District 8    Rhonda Frevert
District 9    Victoria Stephenson

May is Better Hearing and Speech Month


May is “Better Hearing and Speech Month” and we invite you to learn more about services and supports available from Great Prairie AEA.

Hearing services at Great Prairie AEA include screenings for young children and direct services for students who have been identified as deaf or hard of hearing. Learn more at

Shoutout to GPAEA’s Hearing/Audiology Team! Thank you for all that you do for the children and families of southeast Iowa.

GPAEA Audiologists

GPAEA Audiometrists

GPAEA Teachers of the Deaf & Hard of Hearing

Great Prairie AEA Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs) work with children, birth to 21, who have a variety of communication needs. Most of these needs fall into the areas of articulation, language, voice, fluency, and early literacy. Learn more at

Shoutout to GPAEA’s Speech-Language Team! Thank you for all that you do for the children and families of southeast Iowa.

GPAEA Speech-Language Pathologists

GPAEA Speech-Language Assistants

Iowa’s Area Education Agencies are here for you


As the world around us is social distancing and the vast majority of Iowa schools are providing voluntary education enrichment activities, we wanted to assure families that Iowa’s AEAs are still here to support you. The AEA system is connecting with districts to support students with disabilities and aligning our work with each district’s specific continuous learning plan.

  • Iowa’s AEAs have partnered with the Department of Education to develop electronic and print enrichment opportunities to support districts and families. Additional resources are available through AEA staff assigned to districts, as needed, and can be requested by school staff or families.
  • AEA staff are collaborating with educators and connecting with families to address questions, adapt activities, provide additional activities, demonstrate strategies, and help problem solve.

For more information regarding supports available in your area, please contact your AEA.

Week of the Young Child – April 11-17

week of young child

April 11-17 was “The Week of the Young Child”™ – an annual celebration sponsored by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) celebrating early learning, young children, their teachers, and families. More info can be found at

Shoutout to our Early Childhood and Early ACCESS staff for all their work with young children and families! Learn more at

Early Childhood: Joan Garrett, Dawn Johnson, Anne Michel, and June Morgan

Early ACCESS: Erin Bergman, Linda Boshart, Katie Edwards, Denise Evans, Nicole Fraker, Angie Green, Niki Helm, Jaime Hutcheson, Kim Johnson, Jennifer Keith, Michol Ludington, Leesha McGee, Lauren Moyers, Carmela Murphy, Lynn Sheagren, Kristin Stuekerjuergen, Lisa Vohoska and Norma Whitaker

The Cornerstone – March/April 2020


Click on a link below or scroll down to view all posts:

COVID-19 Resources for Families/Students, Educators & Administrators

covid banner

Great Prairie AEA is dedicated to supporting our district partners during these unprecedented times. We are using this site as an information hub to archive resources, information, and guidance related to our collective response to COVID-19.

Resources include professional learning opportunities for teachers, access to digital resources (Read-aloud ebooks; Ebooks; Digital audiobooks; Videos; Self-paced tutorials; Educational games; Encyclopedias; Articles; and Newspapers), and resources to help manage stress and anxiety. 

View resources at