I Have a Plan Iowa Workshops

Great Prairie AEA will be hosting a representative from I Have a Plan Iowa to lead workshops November 1st and 2nd.  These workshops are being offered at no cost.  However, you must register online through the GPAEA course catalog if you want to attend.  The direct links to the postings have been provided below.  You must register in advance to assure interest and attendance to prevent the workshops from being cancelled.

GPAEA Schools in the News – October 2012

Enjoy the October 2012 headlines from local media sources about districts in Great Prairie AEA:

October 2

October 4

October 8

October 10

October 12

October 15

October 16

October 18

October 23

October 24

October 25

October 30

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.

Our Special Kids Southeast Iowa – Thursday, October 11 at 6:30 PM

Our Special Kids Southeast Iowa, a support group for parents with special needs kids will hold its Fall Kick-Off meeting on Thursday, October 11th at 6:30 p.m. at the First United Methodist Church in Mt Pleasant.  This group meets monthly and features guest speakers and topics of interest to the group, as well as networking with other parents.  The group is open to any parents or family members with a special needs child, as well as the general public.   There are light refreshments served and child supervision provided.
Shawn Stringer, Regional Director of Great Prairie AEA will be the featured guest speaker.  Shawn will be discussing where Great Prairie AEA has been, how they are changing and where they are going. Shawn is new to the position this year and will be a great resource and source of information.
In addition to monthly meetings, Our Special Kids also has a FaceBook page at Our Special Kids – Southeast Iowa, as well as frequent emails with updates and information.  For more information, please call Melanie Patton at 319-931-5648 or email ourspecialkidsiowa@gmail.com.

The Cornerstone – October 2012

The October 2012 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!

Download a PDF copy of The Cornerstone: CS October 12

It’s a Your-Own-Device World!

Dr. Sally Lindgren, Coordinator of Technology

Yes, the 21st Century is really here, and the technology used to support 21st Century teaching and learning is beginning to impact some area schools. GPAEA District Technology Coordinators recently reported the status of their district’s implementation of what has been traditionally called a “1-to-1” Initiative.

A 1-to-1 initiative is a district-wide or school-wide or even a grade level specific program to provide each student with a mobile computing device. Sometimes the initiative might be referred to as a BYOD Initiative, that is to say, a “Bring Your Own Device” plan that allows students to use their own devices in the classroom. The device has traditionally been a computer laptop, or netbook. Over the past year or two, many school districts are now considering computer tablets as student learning devices. Tablets, such as the iPad or KUNO can potentially replace textbooks while maintaining the benefits of on-line digital resources, and learning specific interactivity through the use of many educational “apps” designed for use on tablet and other handheld technologies.

The GPAEA Instructional Technology Team includes two Instructional Technology Specialists, Lisa Jacobs and Seth Denney; one Assistive Technology Specialist, Marjorie Nash; and two Instructional Technology Coaches, Sue Kientz and Jane Trotter, that assist schools and work with teachers to integrate technology.

According to GPAEA District Technology Coordinators 10 GPAEA school districts are presently thinking about a 1-1 initiative, one district is planning for a 1-1 rollout next year, six school districts have or will be rolling out a 1-1 initiative this year, three districts are in the second year of a 1-1 initiative, and three districts have implemented a 1-1 initiative for three or more years. Some districts were not represented.

2012 Great Prairie AEA 1:1 Districts 

Year 1 Primary Device Grade Level
Albia KUNO 7-12
Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont PC laptop/tablet
Harmony PC laptop 7-12
New London MacBook 6-12
North Mahaska MacBook Pro 7-12
Winfield – Mt. Union iPads
PC mini tablet/laptop
Year 2 Primary Device Grade Level
Central Lee MacBook 9-12
Oskaloosa MacBook 9-12
Tri-County MacBook 4-12
Year 3 + Primary Device Grade Level
Cardinal (5) KUNO 6-12
Pekin (3) MacBook 6-12
Sigourney (4) MacBook 4-12

Apps for Educators

Seth Denney, Instructional Technology Specialist
Cost:  Free
For iPad, iPhone, iPod, and Android
Teachers, do you have dry content that you want your students to learn–maybe the 4th Amendment, or Spanish verb conjugations?  Have your students speak that content into AutoRap! AutoRap turns speech into rap, and corrects bad rapping.  Simply speak into your device, and AutoRap autotunes your voice and maps the syllables of your speech to match the beat.
Nearpod Teacher and Nearpod Student
Cost:  Free
For iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch
Nearpod enables teachers to use their iPads to manage content on students’ devices.  The teacher uses one iPad, but the students can use any iOS device (iPad, iPhone, or iPod Touch) running the Nearpod Student app.  Teachers share content with students, and students can participate in activities and submit responses.  Teachers can see detailed reports of their students’ activities.
APPitic.com is a directory of apps for education, rated and categorized by Apple Distinguished Educators.  Apps are categorized by subject area, multiple-intelligences, Bloom’s, and NETS (which is the source of Iowa’s Technology Literacy standards).  If you are looking for apps to use with your students, APPitic is a great place to start.

Transition Event Featuring 2012 Paralympics Silver Medalist Matt Stutzman

Great Prairie Area Education Agency’s Parent & Educator Connection presents a transition event featuring Silver Medalist in the 2012 U.S. Paralympics Matt Stutzman. Join us on November 5, 2012 at 7:00 PM in the Fairfield High School Auditorium, 605 Broadway Ave., Fairfield, IA.

Great Prairie AEA provides families information and resources that will help ensure a positive high school experience and successful transition. Transition is a process that helps students develop plans to prepare for life after graduation from high school in the areas of living, learning and working. Transition planning, which begins at age 14, might include preparing for post-secondary education, vocational training, supported employment, continuing and adult education, independent living and community participation.

About Matt. Inexplicably born without arms in December of 1982, Matt’s birthparents were soon overwhelmed with the obvious challenges that lay ahead. He was put up for adoption, and in January of 1983, Matt was welcomed into the home of Leon and Jean Stutzman. A remarkably patient, compassionate and strong willed couple, the Stutzman’s guided Matt through a youth of seemingly insurmountable obstacles of everyday living largely taken for granted in an able-bodied world. Their philosophy was simple; Matt was permitted to try almost anything…if he could do it on his own. Twenty-nine years later, the result is an extraordinary young man, a family man, who can do virtually anything with his feet.

Download and share the flier.

Lincoln Elementary (Mount Pleasant) Named National Blue Ribbon School

In early September, Lincoln Elementary School in Mount Pleasant, was one of five Iowa schools among 269 schools nationwide named 2012 National Blue Ribbon Schools for their overall academic excellence or for their progress in improving student academic achievement levels:

  • Carroll High School (Carroll Community School District)
  • Crescent Elementary School (Council Bluffs Community School District)
  • Lincoln Elementary School (Mount Pleasant Community School District)
  • Mitchellville Elementary School (Southeast Polk Community School District)
  • West Delaware High School (West Delaware County Community School District)

“This award reflects the extraordinary efforts of the students, staff, parents and community in receiving national recognition for its high levels of achievement,” commented Principal Pam Cushman. “We are extremely proud of our students for this honor and equally proud of our staff for their dedication to the success of our children.”

The U.S. Department of Education’s National Blue Ribbon Schools award honors public and private elementary, middle, and high schools where students perform at very high levels or where significant improvements are made in students’ levels of achievement. The U.S. Department of Education will honor 219 public and 50 private schools at a recognition ceremony on Nov. 12-13 in Washington, D.C.

Since 1982, nearly 7,000 schools in the U.S. have received the coveted award. Read more about the 2012 National Blue Ribbon Schools at http://www2.ed.gov/programs/nclbbrs/index.html.

Professional Development for Second Chance Reading Teachers

Fran McVeigh, Reading Specialist

There will be two sets of professional development for previously trained Middle School Tech SCR teachers this year.  Additional technology will be provided as the E2T2 grant sunsets.  PD sessions will also focus on incorporating the Iowa Core Standards across each week of instruction.  Come join us in either Burlington or Ottumwa!

Middle School

Sessions are from 9-3 at the AEA

Burlington Friday, Oct. 12 and Thursday, Jan. 31
Ottumwa Thursday, Oct. 18 and Friday, Feb. 8

Trained High School SCR teachers will be incorporating technology into their weekly lessons this year with training on Promethean or Smartboards and the integration of the Iowa Core Standards during instruction.  There will only be one session held in Ottumwa at the AEA from 9-3 on Thursday, October 25th and Thursday, February 21st.

Sign up on My Learning Plan now!

Celebrate Dr. Norman E. Borlaug – World Food Prize Day on October 16

Your school can help make Iowa the Food and Agriculture Capital of the World by observing Dr. Norman E. Borlaug – World Food Prize Day during the week of October 15-21. On October 16, we in Iowa will celebrate Dr. Borlaug’s contributions, and the significance of the World Food Prize. 

THE WORLD FOOD PRIZE is the foremost international award recognizing — without regard to race, religion, nationality, or political beliefs — the achievements of individuals who have advanced human development by improving the quality, quantity or availability of food in the world.

The Prize recognizes contributions in any field involved in the world food supply — food and agriculture science and technology, manufacturing, marketing, nutrition, economics, poverty alleviation, political leadership and the social sciences.

The World Food Prize emphasizes the importance of a nutritious and sustainable food supply for all people. By honoring those who have worked successfully toward this goal, The Prize calls attention to what has been done to improve global food security and to what can be accomplished in the future.

Dr. Norman E. Borlaug, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970 for his work in world agriculture, envisioned a prize that would honor those who have made significant and measurable contributions to improving the world’s food supply. Beyond recognizing these people for their personal accomplishments, Borlaug saw The Prize as a means of establishing role models who would inspire others. His vision was realized when The World Food Prize was created in 1986.

Learn more at http://www.worldfoodprize.org/.

Use Your Data: Contact a CSIS

Did you know your district has a Comprehensive School Improvement Specialist (CSIS)? When Great Prairie AEA reorganized into three regions, with two regional directors each, a comprehensive school improvement specialist (CSIS) was also added. The CSIS will assist Great Prairie AEA and local schools in using data for decision-making, in order to improve student achievement.

Contact your Comprehensive School Improvement Specialists (CSIS) for:

  • RTI (assessment literacy)
  • Data Teams: AEA and LEA
  • Problem-Solving (Systemic to Individual level)
  • Assessment Literacy: measures and analysis
  • School Improvement: data map, pd plan, attend leadership meetings (with regional)

In addition to supporting data teams, each CSIS has additional areas of expertise. Please see below for contact information and areas of focus:

East Region
Evan McCormick
800-382-7980 ext. 1298
EdInsight, Heart, & SINA/DINA

Central Region
Cory Johnson
800-382-8970 ext. 3035

West Region
Jennifer Adams
800-622-0027 ext. 5341
I-Star/Spec Ed Compliance (File reviews, Corrective Action Plans, Prong 2, Spec Ed procedures and law), Child Find, Curriculum based/functional assessment, DIBELS, AIMSweb, State Performance Plans

Stop Bullying Challenge

October is Bullying Prevention Month and www.stopbullying.gov is challenging your students to create a “Stop Bullying Video.” This challenge invites youth ages 13-18 to create a 30 to 60 second video that will inform and motivate youth to prevent bullying, and that promotes an environment where kindness and respect for others matters. Learn more at http://stopbullying.challenge.gov/.  

If your students participate in this challenge send us a copy of your video at jennifer.woodley@gpaea.org to be featured on our website and facebook page!

Resources for Districts:

  • www.stopbullying.gov  (managed by the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services – excellent source of information and resources.  Schools can send away for free resource kits).
  • www.olweus.org or www.clemson.edu/olweus (good information for schools thinking of bullying prevention programs)

Great Prairie AEA has two certified Olweus Bullying Prevention trainers available to districts: Mike Peters, mike.peters@gpaea.org, and Teran Buettell, teran.buettell@gpaea.org.


  • October 10 is Unity Day sponsored by PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center. Encourage your students to wear orange and send us pictures of your unity day at jennifer.woodley@gpaea.org. Learn more at http://www.pacer.org/bullying/nbpm/unity-day.asp.
  • Together let’s take a stand! Register for the Governor’s Bullying Prevention Summit on Tuesday, Nov. 27, in Des Moines. https://preventbullying.iowa.gov/

Speak Up At School

Changing values to promote respect and responsibility does not happen overnight. As educators model the response to biased language, the slurs, put-downs and negative labels will lessen.

How can we respond to everyday stereotypes and bias? SPEAK UP AT SCHOOL.

  1. INTERRUPT Speak up against biased remarks. “I don’t like words like that.” Or “That is hurtful.”
  2. QUESTION Find out why the speaker made the offensive comment.  ”What do you mean?”
  3. EDUCATE Explain why the term or phrase is offensive. “Do you know the history of that word?”
  4. ECHO If someone else speaks up against hate, thank and reiterate the anti-bias message. “Thanks for speaking up.”  

Resources from http://www.tolerance.org/

  • Civil Rights Activity Book, SPLC Civil Rights Memorial Center, Appropriate for Grades 3-6, tolerance.org 
  • A Guide for Administrators, Counselors and Teachers, RESPONDING TO HATE AND BIAS AT SCHOOL, tolerance.org

Resources from http://www.glsen.org/ and http://sports.glsen.org/

Save the Dates:

  • National Mix It Up Lunch Day – October 30, 2012: This Teaching Tolerance initiative, designed to reduce prejudice and improve intergroup relations, asks students to break out of their normal social circles and connect with someone new over lunch.  Add your school to the online map.  You may go online tolerance.org  to sign up your school or district. You will receive links to free online materials to help plan the day.
  • Governor’s Summit on Bullying – November 27, 2012: National and state speakers will gather at HyVee Hall in Des Moines.

Libby Laughlin

For information about any of these resources or other materials regarding equity please contact Libby Laughlin, Multicultural Gender Fair Specialist/Equity Specialist, at libby.laughlin@gpaea.org or 800-382-8970 Ext.1164.

From the Classroom…

We want your classroom success stories! We want to share these with area educators to  learn from other districts’ successes and challenges. Please send your short story to Jennifer Woodley, Communication Specialist, at jennifer.woodley@gpaea.org. Thanks!

Chariton Class Puts Economic Theory to Test!

In Mark Felderman’s economics class, lots of economic theories and practices are taught, examined, discussed and learned.  On September 17th one unusual one was put to the test.

The economic concept of “the wisdom of the crowd” was examined.  It is the process of taking into account the collective opinion of a group of individuals rather than a single expert to answer a question. After discussing the concept it was suggested that the class put this theory to the test. Students Ben Alfred and Phillip Masters came up with a great test.  How many windows (panes of glass) are visible from the outside of all the high school complex buildings?  Students from the economics class visited first period classroom and polled nearly 300 students for their guesses. Legitimate guesses (we threw out 5 guesses of “0” and two guesses over a million) from 7 to 80,000 were tallied and added up.  The total was then divided by the number of guesses, 293.

Phillip Masters, Skyler Ross, Quincy Swarthout, Nate Hoeger, completed the task of counting the panes. “That’s just crazy,” exclaimed junior Cole Graves, when he saw the results. There are 886 window panes visible from the outside of the buildings.  The average of 293 guess was 885.47!  The wisdom of the crowd missed the answer by 6/100s of 1%.  The wisdom of the crowd is an economic theory that the economic students at CHS and their teacher won’t soon forget.

Thank you Chariton teacher, Mark Felderman, for the great story!