GPAEA Schools receiving a 2013-2014 STEM Scale-Up Program Announced

In June the Governor’s STEM Advisory Council released the list of schools that will receive a STEM Scale-Up Programs in 2013-2014 including 34 schools in GPAEA. These schools join the 73 GPAEA schools that received a Scale-Up Program during the 2012-13 school year.

According to the Governor’s STEM Advisory Council, “This is the second year this ambitious scale-up model has been implemented in Iowa to disseminate STEM programs to all areas of the state. By researching numerous successful STEM programs, nine STEM education programs were selected by an expert review panel based on demonstrated success in increasing student interest and achievement in STEM and the flexibility to be implemented in any size community.”

We will be running articles to showcase all Scale-Up programs 2012/13 and 2013/14 in future Cornerstone Issues. If you have pictures and stories of your implementation of the programs, contact Rosemary Peck (

Congratulations to all GPAEA schools that received a Scale-Up Program.

A complete listing of schools receiving a Scale-Up Project for 2013-14 can be accessed at:

GPAEA STEM Scale-Up Programs – Corse Elementary

Linda McCartney, second grade teacher at Corse Elementary in Burlington, was one of 73 GPAEA teachers to receive a STEM Scale-Up Program as part of the Governor’s STEM Advisory Council initiative in 2012. Mrs. McCartney received A World In Motion-Rolling Things to implement with her second grade class.

A World In Motion uses the Engineering Design Experience curriculum, group work and problem solving to involve students in design challenges.  Mrs. McCartney’s student design teams were asked by a fictional toy company to report how ramp height and car weight affected toy car crashes and then design a car for their new toy set. The teams kept science notebooks recording data and drawing conclusions as well sharing ideas during class discussion after each round of activities.  There was a literacy piece that accompanied the kit and the two culminating activities before the student teams made their recommendations to the toy company related back to the literature piece. The student teams then submitted their design for the best toy set car, based on their testing data and analysis which included a writing piece giving reasons for the design features of their car.

IMG_1521Mrs. McCartney was impressed with the work done by the student teams. She heard students incorporating correct terminology and understandings of big concepts during team and class discussions. She was equally impressed by the depth of student explanations of their work to passing teachers and visitors as they worked on their ramps in the hallway. Mrs. McCartney found it was an excellent way to apply ELA and Math skills. ELA skills were used in the writing pieces in their science notebooks and team and class discussions. Math skills were put into practice during the investigations. The students were always engaged and excited to get to work each day and one student summed it up when they said, “Mrs. McCartney does the coolest things.”  Mrs. McCartney applied for and received another STEM Scale-Up Grant to be implemented during the 2013-14 school year.

Attention all Scale- Up recipients: We will be running articles to showcase the Scale-Up programs from 2012 and 2013 in future Cornerstone Issues. If you have pictures and stories of your implementation of the program, contact Rosemary Peck (

Next step – New Online Resources from your GPAEA Media

Last issue, we identified a few of the new online resources from GPAEA.  So, on a practical level, what does that mean for your teaching?

literary ref center1. In Literary Reference Center Plus, you will find Critical Insights for books including titles such as The Great Gatsby, Great Expectations as well as authors, Mark Twain, John Steinbeck, and Charles Dickens and hundreds more.  To accomplish the goals of Common Core, you need text.  You will find in this EBSCO subscription, sections for Most Studied Authors or Works and links to Full-Text Classics.

2. In Poetry & Short Story Reference Center you will find Most Studied Poems, Short Stories and Analyses, along with a section of Forms & Techniques. Searching for the poem, O Captain! My Captain! by Walt Whitman – you find not only analysis, but also the full-text.

O Captain! My Captain! By Walt Whitman – full-text

Select “Curriculum Standards” in Literary Reference Center Plus to find the Iowa Core CCSS Supplement for Literacy, 2010.   Example for grades 11-12, Literacy in History/Social Studies – Reading and Writing.  More details at the site.

Other features in EBSCO Literary Reference Center Plus include “Curriculum Standards” resources and links to the Iowa Core CCSS Supplement for Literacy, 2010. Here is an example for grades 11-12, Literacy in History/Social Studies – Reading and Writing.  There are more details at the site.

Under Reading:

  • Key Ideas and Details
  • Craft and Structure
  • Integration of Knowledge and Ideas
  • Range of Reading and Level of Text Complexity

Under Writing:

  • Text Types and Purposes
  • Production and Distribution of Writing
  • Research to Build and Present Knowledge
  • Range of Writing

Literary Reference Center Plus

Poetry & Short Story Reference Center

3. – new from Iowa AEA Online contains information about the authors and support for teaching the book or enjoying the reading.  It does not necessarily contain full text, although some titles do have reader’s theater scripts or readings from the book.

For the book, The Hunger Games, you will find 15 multi-media resources including

  • the author’s personal website and the author’s page on
  • a video recording of a reading from the book by Suzanne Collins as well as an excerpt read and produced by Scholastic
  • multiple lesson plans links
  • reader’s theater script for an excerpt of the book
  • interview with the author

Pair with the SNAP Media Catalog:
You will find that you not only have access to many copies of the book, but when searching a title and checking the boxes for the Media Types below, you also connect to the site.

Here are the directions for a sample Advanced Search and what you will find by selecting these Media Types in your search for the book.

First – Select Advanced Search
Second – Enter Search phrase:  Hunger Games
Third – Check the boxes for these Media Types

Media Types to check in an Advanced Search:

  • Under Books: Audio – we have Playaways and CD versions of the book.
  • Under Books: Trade/Library – we have 30 individual copies on the shelf.
  • Under Books: Boxed Books – we have 5 boxes.  Each box contains 10 copies of the book.
  • Under – you will be linked out to the website for their page on The Hunger Games

Another great example shared by Wapello Schools is this search for The Ugly Duckling by Jerry Pinkney.

  • Under Books: Trade/Library – we have 9 individual copies on the shelf.
  • Under – you will be linked out to the website for their page on the Ugly Duckling by Jerry Pinkney –
  • Available:  Full-length book reading / author pronunciation / author interview / lesson plans

There are many more ways you can use these new databases.  Try them out and see what you discover! Questions – contact us at

Kristin Steingreaber, GPAEA Media Specialist

Second Chance Reading 2013-2014

Trained Second Chance Reading teachers will have two days of collaborative learning to increase fidelity of implementation during this school year.  Second Chance ReadingMiddle and High School Teachers will increase their skill in quality lesson development and delivery as they continue to implement the Iowa Core ELA Standards in their SCR classrooms. These teachers will also work collaboratively to problem solve technology issues in 1:1 districts as they deepen their understanding and skill in delivering SCR lessons that engage struggling readers at the MS and HS levels.

 Please register on My Learning Plan for either the Burlington or Ottumwa sessions.

Burlington – MS and HS teachers together Ottumwa – MS and HS teachers together
Monday, October 14, 2013

Monday, February 24, 2014

Monday, October 21, 2013

Monday, March 3, 2014

9:00 am  – 3:00 pm 9:00 am  – 3:00 pm
Tech Center and Conference Room C Tech Center and Conference Room A

Great Prairie Area Education Agency Board Members Elected

Four Great Prairie Area Education Agency Board members were elected to new four-year terms of office in September, 2013.

Melissa Ballard, from Melrose, was re-elected to the Board, representing Director District #2: Albia, Chariton, Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont, Moravia and Wayne Community School Districts.

Margaret Kelly, from Fairfield, is a new Board member who was elected to replace John Adam, who retired after 23 years on the Board.  Ms. Kelly will represent Director District #6:  Fairfield, Pekin, WACO, Winfield-Mt. Union and a portion of the Ottumwa Community School Districts.

Director District #7 will continue to be represented by Dr. Lonny Morrow of Mount Pleasant, who represents:  Mediapolis, Morning Sun, Mount Pleasant, New London and Wapello Community School District.

Vicki Stephenson of Fort Madison, was re-elected to her position on the Board, representing Director District #9:  Danville, Fort Madison, West Burlington, and a portion of the Burlington School District.

Great Prairie AEA Board members are elected by the school boards of the districts they represent.  Board members will be officially sworn into office at the October 8, 2013 Board meeting to be held at the Fairfield Arts & Convention Center in Fairfield.  Board meetings are held in Fairfield on the second Tuesday each month throughout the year.

Great Prairie Area Education Agency, with main offices in Ottumwa and Burlington, and 6 satellite offices, is a regional education organization that provides school improvement services for students, teachers and administrators.  The Agency is an educational partner with 33 public school districts and 6 accredited, private schools in a 14-county area of southeast Iowa.  Great Prairie AEA staff, schools, and families work together to help all children reach their highest potential.

For more information, please contact Nancy Brown, Communication Specialist/Board Secretary, Ottumwa, at 800-622-0027, Ext. 5210/email:  or Jennifer Woodley, Communication Specialist/Administrative Assistant, Burlington, at 800-382-8970, Ext. 1232/email: .  More information about Great Prairie AEA is also available at the Agency’s website:

Substitute Authorization Course Available

Sub AuthSubstitute Authorization Course Available. This course will be held at the GPAEA office in Burlington.  The deadline for minimum enrollment is October 10th!
A substitute authorization allows an individual to substitute in grades 6-12 for no more than 5 consecutive days in 1 job assignment. An individual who holds a Para Educator certificate and completes the substitute authorization program is authorized to substitute only in the special education classroom in which the individual Para Educator is employed.

AEA PD Online & AEA K-12 Online Update

AEA PD Online and AEA K-12 Online’s Blog Update is now available. Go to or for updates or click on the direct article links below. For real time updates, follow AEA PD Online on Twitter @aeapdonline or on your mobile device by accessing our app at

Iowa's AEAs Create Blogs for Online Learning Updates

Iowa's AEAs Create Blogs for Online Learning Updates

For more information about AEA PD Online and AEA K-12 Online follow us on Twitter @aeapdonline.

Central Lee Principal Named ITAG Administrator of the Year

ITAG board member Doreen Underwood notifies Nicole Herdrich that she is ITAG’s 2013 Administrator of the Year.

ITAG board member Doreen Underwood notifies Nicole Herdrich that she is ITAG’s 2013 Administrator of the Year.

Every year the Iowa Talented and Gifted Association (ITAG) recognizes an Iowa administrator who supports and advances its mission throughout their district.  The mission of ITAG is to recognize, support, and respect the unique and diverse needs of talented and gifted learners through advocacy, education, and networking.   At the school board meeting on Monday, September 16, Nicole Herdrich, principal of Central Lee Elementary, was notified that she is this year’s recipient of the award. Hollie Weber, ELP Coordinator at Central Lee, nominated Nicole for this award.

In nominating Nicole, Hollie emphasized Nicole’s advocacy for quality instruction for students at their readiness level. This has resulted in all students experience new learning and growth in the classroom everyday.  Nicole’s advocacy and support of cluster grouping helps teachers target their instruction to the learning needs of the students in each elementary classroom again resulting in growth for all students.

Nicole has also worked to deepen teacher’s understanding of the needs of gifted learners through professional development.  The needs of TAG students are integrated in the building wide action plan and teachers are supported in meeting the advanced learning needs of those students with opportunities to collaborate with each other in Professional Learning Communities.  She finds ways to provide the resources needed to meet students’ needs whether that be curricular materials or time.  Nicole will be formally awarded the Administrator of the Year Award at the ITAG state conference on October 21, 2013 in Des Moines.  ITAG honors her with respect and gratitude for her support for high ability students.

AEI Fall Conference “Cirque D’Arte”

Save the Date!
October 11th-13th, 2013
Pre-Conference: October 10th
Hotel Kirkwood, Cedar Rapids, Iowa  

Flier for AEA and General MembershipSpecial event for retired art educators and others who would like to learn about AEI opportunities. 

Topics included in our learning/performance list: Art in Iowa Core, Curriculum and technology, Collaborations with artists and arts venues, hands-on experiences with content and lessons, sharing of ideas and successes, art history at various levels, standards based assessment and grading, portfolios, leadership, visual literacy, using themes to motivate students and integrate disciplines, advocacy . And many more general and level specific presentations.

Be a part of the Tiny Circus stop motion artist residency as well as keynote speeches from Jessica Balsley, David Law, the Visual Arts for All Students team, and others. An overview of the schedule is included in this Message and detailed schedule with more description is located on the website as well.

Download PDF: Flier for AEA and General Membership

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.

TASH National Conference

Fill That Bus Flier (1)

December 11-13, 2013 – Chicago, IL

The conference is loaded with valuable information through a series of workshops (topics include inclusive education, communication, advocacy, professional development, legal system and community living), speakers, and networking opportunities.

Download PDF: Fill That Bus Flier (1)

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.

New Area School Administrators

new-admin-2013-coverEach year we reach out to the new school administrators that come to our Great Prairie AEA service area inviting them to share a little about themselves and their plans for the year.  This year we have many new local district administrators who took the time to share their photos and plans for the year.  Please find the 2013-2014 edition of our New Administrators publication attached.

Attached: New Admin 2013

GPAEA Schools in the News – September 2013

A list of the September 2013 headlines featuring a Great Prairie AEA School District:

Did we miss something? Send your school news to

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.

GPAEA Launches New Website & Mobile Site

UPDATE – Website will go live tomorrow, Tuesday, September 24.

Great Prairie AEA is excited to announce the launch of a new website and mobile edition on Monday, September 23 Tuesday, September 24.

GPAEA WebsiteOver the past few months our communications department has been working with Global Reach, a web design company from Ames, to update and make the new site more user-friendly with improved navigation.

Main Navigation:

  • About Us
  • Services
  • Professional Development
  • Special Education
  • Schools

Quick Links (located at very top of page):

  • Calendar
  • Directory
  • Staff
  • Careers
  • Contact

Click here for a sneak peek of the new site:

Mobile Site

screenshotMobile sites are very similar to an “app.” The main difference being that a mobile site does not require a download onto a mobile device. When a user visits the website from a mobile device they are automatically directed to the mobile version.

Mobile sites offer users quick links to find information they may be looking for. They are meant to be a scaled down version of the full website. This allows users to more easily navigate the website on their mobile device. Users will still be able to access the full version of the website from a mobile device by clicking the “Exit Mobile” link at the bottom of their screen.

Great Prairie AEA’s Mobile Site includes the following:

  • Directory – Contact information for AEA Staff & local districts
  • Events – A calendar of events in AEA offices
  • News – Recent News in GPAEA & education
  • PD Catalog – Links to our catalog and Professional Development information
  • Media Library – Links to our digital databases and other media resources

Click here to see the Mobile Site on your Computer or device:

Download a GPAEA Website Cheat Sheet

GPAEA Website:

The Cornerstone – September 2013

CS HeaderThe September 2013 issue of The Cornerstone is now available! Scroll down to read articles or click on titles below. Enjoy!

Click here to download a PDF copy.