The Cornerstone – October 2011

The October 2011 issue of The Cornerstone is now available! Scroll down to read articles or click on titles below. You can also download a PDF copy. Enjoy!

Partners in Education
Earthquakes, Twitter and Information
Parent & Educator Connection Program (PEC)
Enabling Children Everyday
School Psychologists help students make connections
Bloom’s Taxonomy Goes Digital
Early ACCESS Looks at Assessment, Curriculum and Instruction
1:1 eContent/eResources provided by GPAEA Media
Immerse yourself in Iowa AEA Online and Iowa Core

Download a PDF of the October issue.

Partners in Education

Whether you are new to Iowa or a veteran teacher we want you to know that Great Prairie Area Education Agency is here to serve you. Our agency provides leadership and service to more than 37,000 students, 3,700 teachers and administrators and 34 school districts in southeast Iowa.

As an intermediate agency, Great Prairie AEA offers equitable and efficient services within individual districts or on a regional basis. Agency staff members, school staff, and families work together to help all children reach their potential.  Great Prairie AEA’s programs and services are agency-wide focusing on improving student performance.

AEA employees are ready to partner with you to help children reach their potential. Here are just a few reasons (in no particular order) that you should contact your local AEA this year:

10 reasons to contact Great Prairie AEA
1. Child Find
2. Iowa Core
3. Media Resources
4. Learning Supports
5. Instructional Technology
6. English Language Learning
7. Early Childhood Services
8. Technology Assistance
9. Special Education Services
10. Professional Development

This is just a short list of the services we provide, to learn more about Great Prairie AEA visit

Earthquakes, Twitter and Information

Click on photo to enlarge.

On August 23, 2011, a rare earthquake struck the East Coast.  I was listening to a news story, not just about the event, but how Twitter and Facebook played such a major role in getting out the news.  Social media was immediate.  One of the CBS reporters said, “Tweets moved faster than seismic waves.”

Phone networks were jammed but the Internet still worked.  Homeland Security sent out a tweet – “Quake: Tell friends/family you are OK via text, email and social media (@twitter and Avoid calls.”!/DHSJournal/status/106076003671097344

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Enabling Children Everyday

October is Physical Therapy Month

Great Prairie AEA provides services that help students with physical disabilities to be successful in all learning environments. October is National Physical Therapy Month and an opportunity for Great Prairie AEA to celebrate and recognize our eight physical therapists and two physical therapy assistants for the work they do with children birth to 21 in our area.
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School Psychologists help students make positive connections

The National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) has designated November 14–18, 2011, as National School Psychology Awareness Week. This year’s theme, “Every link matters. Make the connection” helps our students and schools focus on creating positive connections within the school community, their academics, and their lives. NASP offers a series of resources and activities that school psychologists can use to reach out to school staff, students, and parents to help students feel connected, supported, and ready to achieve their individual goals.

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Bloom’s Taxonomy Goes Digital

Have you noticed radical changes in our language in the last few years?  We now have many new technological verbs at our disposal.  Five years ago I certainly wouldn’t have considered “tweeting” or “googling” in public!  Are your students texting, blogging, posting, podcasting, communicating and collaborating in ways you don’t understand?  Join the club!

Many of us, working with instructional technology, are running after the technology train trying to jump on.  We just get onboard, feeling comfortable, and along comes a new track with a new gadget guaranteed to engage the students.  In our effort to provide rigor and relevance we take these tangents, grab the gadgets and may add layers of more tech tools that do the same things we’ve been doing with no clear purpose.  Many say, “Stop the train. I want to get off!”

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Early ACCESS Looks at Assessment, Curriculum, and Instruction

Early ACCESS is a partnership between families with young children, birth to age three, and providers from the Departments of Education, Public Health, Human Services, and the Child Health Specialty Clinics in the state of Iowa. The purpose of this system is for families and staff to work together in identifying, coordinating and providing needed services and resources that will help the family assist their infant or toddler to grow and develop.  In Great Prairie Area Education Agency, Early ACCESS service providers are looking closely at practices and tools that are being used in order to ensure that children and families are able to make desired improvements.

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1:1 eContent/eResources provided by GPAEA Media

We’re inviting teams from 1:1 schools and those planning for 1:1 implementation to a half-day workshop on all of the available electronic resources from GPAEA Media. We are rolling out CyberSmarts, PowerKids Life Science, CQ Researcher as well as individual eBook and digital video titles!

Join together with teachers, teacher librarians, curriculum coordinators and tech coordinators in your district and register your team for 1:1 eContent/eResources provided by GPAEA Media on Wednesday, November 16, 8:30 – 11:30am at the Ottumwa AEA Auditorium.

Registration link through the AEA “My Learning Plan” Course Catalog.  Session is free!

Work with other 1:1 schools on creating your Learning Goals based on quality eResources!

Immerse yourself in Iowa AEA Online and the Iowa Core

A series of powerful webinars have been planned to assist local educators in understanding how to use Iowa AEA Online databases to support the work of the Iowa Core.

* October 20, 2011 – Literacy K-12
* December 7, 2011 – Social Studies K-12
* February 23, 2012 – Science K-12
* April 19, 2012 – 21st Century Skills

Webinars will be held at two different times on each day – 11:30 am-12:45 pm and 3:45-5:00 pm. To register, visit

Becoming a Learning School

Learning Forward Iowa (formerly Iowa Staff Development Council) is bringing Becoming a Learning School to a location near you! Plan to join area educators as they examine this valuable tool kit for effective collaborative learning.  Participants receive a copy of Joellen Killion’s new book Becoming a Learning School and a full day of collaborative learning facilitated by Learning Forward Iowa board members.  Locations and registration information can be found on the attached brochure.

BLSBrochure 2011

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.

One-Day Program Promotes Kids Helping Kids with Diabetes

Camp Hertko Hollow is Iowa’s Camp for children with diabetes. Camp Hertko Hollow has been giving kids for over 44 years the education and skills they need to manage their diabetes.

During the month of November (National Diabetes Month) the Camp is supporting a new program, “Rock Out Diabetes Day.” This one-day program promotes kids helping kids in the community through the school systems in the State of Iowa.  A flyer of information about the program and suggested ideas to get the student body to engage in helping children with diabetes in their community is attached below.

For more information, contact Debra Holwegner at or (515) 471-8523.

November is National diabetes month

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.

President Obama’s Back-to-School Speech Scheduled for Wednesday, September 28

President Barack Obama will deliver his annual Back-to-School Speech to students across the country on Wednesday, September 28, 2011 at 1:30 PM EDT. The event will be live streamed from Benjamin Banneker Academic High School in Washington, DC.

Watch the President’s Speech on Wednesday, September 28 at

For more information about the speech and to view past speeches visit

Schools across the country can watch the speech live on MSNBC as a special feature of NBC News’ “Education Nation” – part of NBC’s weeklong commitment to education reports and programming across the network’s shows and platforms beginning September 25.