Beware of Phishing Emails

Throughout this holiday season we want to remind you to be cautious of phishing emails that ask for your information. These emails may appear to be from your company and will ask for passwords or account information. DO NOT reply to these emails – DELETE them.

GPAEA has been experiencing a higher then normal amount of phishing activity within email and we have had several email accounts that have been breached, causing even more phishing to occur within our region. Just remember we will never ask you for account information or verification. “Just Delete” …and stay safe!

What is Phishing? According to the Anti-Phishing Working Group, the word “phishing” comes from the analogy that Internet scammers are using email lures to “fish” for passwords and financial data from the sea of Internet users.

The Cornerstone – November/December 2011

The November/December 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!

GPAEA Goes Virtual!
Advocate for Iowa’s AEAs
Iowa Safe and Supportive Schools (IS3)
Core Focused Field Trips
Get to Know the Great Prairie AEA School Psychologists
Professional Development Course Update: Evaluator License & Para-Educator
Student Improvement Through Relationship Building
Miracles Happen Every Day at Wayne Elementary
GPAEA Alerts
Share Your Success Story

Download a PDF copy of this issue.

GPAEA Goes Virtual!

Eighty-five students from 13 districts in Great Prairie AEA came together to participate in Virtual Reality Education Pathfinders (VREP), a student-led, competency-driven, producer-oriented, project-based approach to learning that utilizes cutting edge virtual reality and 3D tools. More simply put, “Students Leading & Learning in 3D.”

Sessions held in Burlington and Ottumwa gave districts the opportunity to participate in a two-day training given by other Iowa students who have had success with the program. Students Elisha Gunderson, a student from Kirkwood Community College and David Wehr, a student from Sigourney High School guided the Burlington training session. A panel of four students lead by Brent Reel, from BCLUW High School in Conrad guided the Ottumwa training session.

The students used Blender, a free 3D graphics application, to create “Gus,” a virtual Gingerbread Man. This process helped them learn about the program and tools, 3D modeling and rendering, and lead into animation. On the second day Great Prairie AEA hosted a panel and showcase for the students.

Participating districts included: Burlington, Cardinal, Central Lee, Chariton, Moravia, Mount Pleasant, New London, North Mahaska, Oskaloosa, Pekin, Wapello, Washington, and Winfield.

Continue reading

Advocate for Iowa’s AEAs

The state AEA system is unveiling its new website and video, which tells the story of how AEA services have made a difference for people around the state. It is our hope that Iowans will take a closer look at one of the finest intermediate educational agencies in the country and advocate for its services.

Please share this site with others: http://iowapartnersineducation.org/. When you do, you ensure that Iowa’s AEAs will be there to provide support and leadership for years to come.

Iowa Safe and Supportive Schools (IS3)

In October 2011, Iowa was one of 11 states to be awarded funding by the U.S. Department of Education to measure and improve statewide conditions for learning, which include school safety, student engagement in school, and the overall school environment.  The Iowa program is called Iowa Safe and Supportive Schools (IS3).  This four-year program is not simply a school safety program.  Measuring and improving school safety is certainly a part of the program, but it is also focused on improving relationships with students and adults, prompting teamwork inside and outside the classroom, and strengthening ties between students and their respective communities. Continue reading

Get to Know the Great Prairie AEA School Psychologists

School Psychologist Cory Johnson

November 14-18 was National School Psychology Awareness Week with the theme Every Link Matters Make a Connection.  A team of 24 School Psychologists who work with teachers, administrators, parents, AEA professionals, and community members to help all children succeed academically, socially, and behaviorally serves Great Prairie Area Education Agency.  Most of these professionals work as School Psychologists, but others include Regional Directors of Special Education Thelma O’Neill, and Dr. Angelisa Fynaardt, Challenging Behavior Specialist Julie Thomas, and Early Access Service Coordinator Jan Bergman.  Great Prairie’s School Psychologists have an average of 11 years of experience as School Psychologists, an average of nine of those years with Great Prairie.  Dr. Bill Sheppard, School Psychologist in the Fairfield Region, Thelma O’Neill Regional Director of Special Education in Mt. Pleasant, Barb Hahn, School Psychologist in the Mt. Pleasant Region, and Bonnie Peevler, School Psychologist in the Keokuk Region all have over 20 years of experience.  We also welcome Rachel Jones, School Psychologist in the Fort Madison Region, as the newest member of our School Psychology team in her first year as a School Psychologist.

Continue reading

Professional Development Course Updates

Evaluator License Information

Do you need to update your Evaluator license?  If so, please know that GPAEA is offering Assessing Academic Rigor:   Evaluator III.

Dates & Location

Feb. 20-April 5, 2012, Burlington

January 10-March 20, 2012, Albia GPAEA Office

Dec. 19-March 19, 2012, Mt. Pleasant

Please see the course catalog at www.gpaea.k12.ia.us for registration details including cost, times and instructor!

Need Evaluator II?  Contact Viterbo University—Winter Session starts January 28 in the Burlington Office:

http://www.viterbo.edu/mediowa.aspx?id=5444

Calling All PARA-EDUCATORS

If you need your generalist para-certificate, please see that we are offering courses this winter for you!

In order to become a certified para, you will need to take all three classes.

Course, Location & Start Date

Para Educator I, Burlington Office, Feb. 1, 2012

Para Educator II, Burlington Office, March 7, 2012

Para Educator III, Burlington Office, April 4, 2012

Please see the course catalog at www.gpaea.k12.ia.us for registration details including cost, times and instructor!

Student Improvement Through Relationship Building

Julie Garver, Josh Hudson, and Lesa Long

Moving from Tennesee to Iowa is a big change, but Josh Hudson had an even bigger change as a student.  He came from a special school in Tennesee to help him manage his emotions and behavioral challenges, and enrolled in Albia Community School District as a 4th grader.  Lincoln Center did not have a Behavior Disorder room, much less a special building in the district.

“When Josh came to us, he had been sent home from school a lot,” said Jennifer Adams, Great Prairie AEA school psychologist.  “We knew we had a lot of work to do there to help him understand that we wanted him to stay with us and learn.”

Continue reading

Miracles Happen Every Day at Wayne Elementary

Suzie with her mom, Heather, and sisters, Sarah and Sammie

In 2004, Mark and Heather Moorman were young parents living in Corydon, Iowa, with their two little girls, Sammie and Sarah, and expecting their third child.  Two weeks before the baby was to be born, doctors told the Moormans that something was terribly wrong.  They said the baby Heather was carrying had something called holoprosencephaly – a disorder in which the forebrain of the embryo fails to develop into two hemispheres – as well as hydrocephalus – water on the brain.   Doctors said the baby most likely would not survive the birthing process and if the baby lived it would only be for a short period of time and would never see, hear, speak, walk or anything else.  There was basically no hope given by doctors for the child to have any quality of life, if the baby survived at all.

On August 19, 2004, Suzanne Grace Moorman was born.  She definitely had many health issues and didn’t look like other babies.  Her head was much larger, proportionately, than her tiny body.  The Moormans were again told that the baby had no brain activity and that she would likely die within the next few days, weeks or months at the most.  Heather shared that after two weeks at home crying and sobbing every day and just waiting for their baby to die, she decided that she had had enough!  She and her husband decided to be proactive and to research all they could find on holoprosencephaly and hydrocephalus and what they could do for their little daughter.  She found that the Area Education Agency had something called Early ACCESS with professionals and services that could possibly benefit their little girl.  For the first several months, the Moormans had Hospice representatives in their home helping to prepare them for the loss of little Suzie when the time came, as well as AEA Early ACCESS therapists who were working with the family to provide services that could determine what Suzie might actually be able to do. Continue reading

Share Your Success Stories

American Education Week may be over, but we at Great Prairie AEA want to continue the celebration with honoring the work that you do with students in southeast Iowa every day!

We want to hear your stories! Great Prairie AEA is interested in hearing how our services have made a difference in your professional life or the life of a child. Email comments@gpaea.k12.ia.us or visit our Success Stories page and leave your story in the comment section!

GPAEA Alerts – Your source for Great Prairie AEA Event Delays, Changes, and Cancellations!

Bad weather? Wonder if your AEA class is delayed or cancelled? Check GPAEA Alerts!

Inclement Weather Checklist:

  • Visit http://www.gpaea.k12.ia.us, click on GPAEA Alerts above Quick Links and search for your event. Your class will be listed in the event of a cancellation or delay; if the class is not listed it is scheduled and on time.
  • Check your email or call your consultant’s phone extension.
  • Follow GPAEA on Twitter and Facebook

Children’s Museum to Offer Iowa Core-Focused Field Trips

The Iowa Children’s Museum in Coralville has updated their schedule to include K-5th grade field trip packages to match the Iowa Core standards.  All of their focused field trip information may be found at http://www.theicm.org/programs/group-visits/focused.

Starting in January, they will be offering CityWorks S.T.E.M. focused field trips which will cater to 1st-5th grade audiences.

View their “Standards at a Glance” for more information.

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.

Virtual Reality Showcase in Ottumwa on Tuesday, November 15

Seven Districts in Great Prairie Area Education Agency will participate in Virtual Reality Education Pathfinders (VREP), a student-led, competency-driven, producer-oriented, project-based approach to learning which utilizes cutting edge virtual reality and 3D tools. More simply put, “Students Leading & Learning in 3D.”

Students will be the presenters during a Virtual Reality Showcase planned at Great Prairie AEA in Ottumwa on Tuesday, November 15, from 3:00-4:30 p.m.

Continue reading

Students Prepare for Virtual Reality Showcase – November 8

BURLINGTON – 38 students from six districts in Great Prairie AEA come together in Burlington for two days of training to become proficient in virtual reality programming. This week and next week a total of 13 Districts in GPAEA will participate in Virtual Reality Education Pathfinders (VREP), a student-led, competency-driven, producer-oriented, project-based approach to learning which utilizes cutting edge virtual reality and 3D tools. More simply put, “Students Leading & Learning in 3D.” Continue reading

Student Virtual Reality Showcase at Great Prairie AEA

13 Districts in Great Prairie Area Education Agency will participate in Virtual Reality Education Pathfinders (VREP), a student-led, competency-driven, producer-oriented, project-based approach to learning which utilizes cutting edge virtual reality and 3D tools. More simply put, “Students Leading & Learning in 3D.”

Students will be the presenters during a Virtual Reality Showcase planned at Great Prairie AEA in Burlington on Tuesday, November 8, from 3:00-4:30 p.m. and at Great Prairie AEA in Ottumwa on Tuesday, November 15, from 3:00-4:30 p.m.

Continue reading