Conference: Impacting Learning in My Fourth and Fifth Grade Classroom

Attention Teachers of Fourth and Fifth Graders! Mark your calendars for a special conference, Impacting Learning in My Classroom, Just for you! 

December 4th, 2013 • Prairie Meadows Casino and Hotel 

2013 Iowa ASCD Grade-Levelflyer 101813Iowa ASCD (Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development) and ISEA (Iowa State Education Association) are collaborating to offer a hands-on day of learning.

Learn from Practitioners across the state and leave with information, ideas, tools, strategies, and networking opportunities with teachers from across the state.

Conference Strands 

  • Teaching for Understanding – Curriculum Strand: What do all students need to learn, know and be able to do? How do we in our building/grade level connect our teaching with the students’ learning expectations identified around “the core”?
  • Assessment for Learning – Assessment Strand: How do we know that students have learned? How do we use assessments to assess and diagnose our students’ progress in learning? How do we adjust our instruction based on the results of the formative assessments to implement the Iowa Core?
  • Teaching for Learner Differences – Instruction Strand: How do we plan and deliver instruction so that we meet the needs of all learners in our classroom? How do we respond if students struggle or don’t learn and how do we respond when students have already learned?

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19th Annual Search Under Way for Nation’s Top Youth Volunteers

awards_logo_largeAwards Program Honors Students in Grades 5-12 for Outstanding Volunteer Service

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Over the past 18 years, Prudential Spirit of Community Awards have been given to more than 100,000 middle and high school students across the country for helping the less fortunate, promoting health and safety, protecting the environment, and serving their communities through many other volunteer activities.

These awards, sponsored by Prudential Financial, Inc. in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP), honor outstanding community service by students in grades 5 through 12 at the local, state and national level.
“Prudential is proud to honor young people who contribute their time and talents to improving the communities around them,” said Prudential Chairman and CEO John Strangfeld. “We celebrate their service with hope that others will be inspired to follow their fine example.”

Young volunteers can apply online at or at

Applications must be completed by November 5, 2013, and then submitted to a middle or high school principal, Girl Scout council, county 4-H agent, American Red Cross chapter, YMCA or HandsOn Network affiliate. Paper versions of the application form are available by calling (877) 525-8491 toll-free.

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Bullying Prevention Video Entries from GPAEA Schools

Check out the entries from GPAEA Schools in the Governor’s Bullying Prevention Summit video contest.

Video deadline was October 10, 2013. The 1st place video will receive a $500 prize to be used for bullying prevention efforts at their school, along with a visit by the governor and lieutenant governor for an all-school assembly. 2nd place will receive a $350 prize and 3rd place will receive a $150 prize to be used for bullying prevention efforts. Learn more at

AEA PD Online & AEA K-12 Online Update – October 2013

The October AEA PD Online and AEA K-12 Online updates are now available. For real time updates, follow AEA PD Online on Twitter @aeapdonline or on your mobile device by access our app at

Iowa's AEAs Create Blogs for Online Learning Updates

Iowa's AEAs Create Blogs for Online Learning Updates

GPAEA Schools in the News – October 2013

A list of the October 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.

IEC partners with Vintage Tech to Offer FREE Electronics Recycling

IEC LogoVintage Tech is one of the leading electronics recycling and asset recovery companies in the industry.  As an e-Stewards, R2, and ISO 14001 certified electronics recycler, Vintage Tech guarantees the highest level of service and compliance. The IEC is pleased to partner with Vintage Tech to offer yet another useful service to Iowa schools.

Please use IEC Vintage Tech Pickup Sheet to list your equipment counts and arrange a recycling pickup. Completed sheets can be submitted to Brendan Wittry

Vintage Tech Recyclers will arrange a pickup at your facility so you don’t have to transport your recycled items.  This service is FREE unless you are requesting specialized audit or data destruction services.

Accepted items include: computers, wires and cables, scanners, laptops, computer parts, microwaves, CRTs and LCDs, battery back-ups, cell phones, monitors, computer mice, CD/VCR/DVD players, printers, keyboards, stereo equipment, televisions, MP3 players, fax machines, PDAs and video game consoles.

Follow the links below for more information:

The Iowa Educators Consortium is an independent nonprofit organization supporting the mission of the Iowa Area Education Agencies. We provide cooperative purchasing opportunities for Iowa K-12 schools, colleges, universities, public libraries and city/county/state government.

Have a question? Feel free to contact us at:

Iowa Educators Consortium
3712 Cedar Heights Drive
Cedar Falls, IA 50613

Sharing Strategies Workshop – Oct. 16 & 29

Sharing Strategies Workshop Flier Osky pdfIn this 3 hour class parents and caregivers will have the opportunity to learn a ways to identify problem behaviors, strategies for how to respond to those behaviors and ideas about how to share your knowledge with others who are working with your children. Knowing and sharing strategies that work for your children can help you respond to problem behavior in ways that support your children and help them feel successful. 

No Cost! Meal Provided! 

Presented by Julie Thomas, School Psychologist, Great Prairie AEA Behavior Specialist, Certified Nonviolent Crisis Intervention Trainer 

Wednesday, October 16th, 5:30 -8:30 p.m.
210 North I Street, Oskaloosa, IA 
ISU Extension Meeting Room
Please call Annette Clarahan at 641-672-2546 ext. 5517 or to register.
Tuesday, October 29th, 6:00-9:00 p.m.
307 E Monroe St, Mt. Pleasant, IA 
Meeting Room above the Public Library
Please call Kelly Wallace at 319-385-9005 ext. 3034 
or email to register.

Download a PDF Flyer:

The Cornerstone – October 2013

Click on a story below or begin scrolling to read all articles. Enjoy!

Early literacy efforts help all of our students become skilled readers

Schoolboy Studying In ClassroomGreat Prairie AEA is pleased to be part of a statewide effort designed to help ALL Iowa students read proficiently by the end of third grade – Response to Intervention (RtI).

RtI is a proven practice that helps schools to identify the sufficiency of their universal instruction for all students and to identify students who need more support in order to meet their specific needs.  This includes students who are struggling and students who are highly proficient.  RtI focuses on building the capacity for high quality implementation of the Iowa Early Learning Standards and the Iowa Core and building the capacity to provide additional intervention supports for students when needed.  About 10 percent of the state’s schools will begin to learn about and implement RtI this fall.

At a recent workshop, Iowa Department of Education Director Brad Buck, asked participants, “What would it mean for Iowa if every child finishing third grade could read at or above the third-grade level?” “We’re at a pivotal time. We agree we must dramatically improve. I say that Iowa’s education is good as it ever has been – it’s just that other states have passed us on some academic measures.”

Through the three-day workshop, participants learned more about RtI, the critical features of RtI, and the stages of development.  They also learned more about the Individual Growth and Dynamic Indicators assessments for preschool students, the FAST assessments for school age students, and the new TIER database.

Great Prairie AEA will continue to provide training and coaching to our phase one schools as we implement this process.

RtI is a statewide effort through Collaborating for Iowa’s Kids, a partnership among Iowa’s AEAs, school districts and the Iowa Department of Education.

Great Prairie AEA Earns Full Accreditation From State Board of Education

Children giving thumbs up signGreat Prairie AEA is pleased to announce that it has earned continued full accreditation from the Iowa State Board of Education.

At the Iowa Board of Education meeting on September 26, 2013, President Rosie Hussey stated, “we rely on the AEAs for helping to carry out our state priorities in education.” Board member Diane Crookham-Johnson added, “[AEAs] provide a very important safety net to young children and the families of young children in Iowa.”

Great Prairie AEA fully met all 9 standards for Iowa’s AEAs and received no non-compliance ratings. Iowa’s nine AEAs receive accreditation site visits every five years.

“Our staff members and school districts have a high level of commitment to achieving positive outcomes for students,” commented Dr. Jon Sheldahl, Chief Administrator. “It is evident in our accreditation report that through hard work and collaboration, we are meeting challenges and finding success.”

The Department’s report states, “Iowa’s AEAs are a critical part of the support structure for schools and ultimately for children. With so much at stake, maintaining high standards or quality in programs and services is a top priority.”

The accreditation team identified a number of strengths of the agency in its report, which included:

  • Unifying the Agency
  • Determining LEA Needs
  • Increased Use of Agency Services
  • Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading and Spelling (LETRS)

The overall report identifies strengths the agency has exhibited in each of the standards for which the AEA is evaluated. It also makes recommendations for possible improvements the agency may wish to implement. Click here to download the entire accreditation report.

Thank you to our district/school staff who provided feedback to the Department about our programs and services. We appreciate the time they took out of their busy schedules to assist us in our accreditation process. Also, thank you to our Board of Directors for their support: Dr. Joy Prothero, Board President, Victoria Stephenson, Vice President, Marge Wilhelm, Melissa Ballard, Matt Greiner, John Adam, Lonny Morrow, Joyce Wauters, and Himar Hernandez.

October is National Physical Therapy Month

baby walking closeup portrait on whiteGreat 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.

Thank you to our Physical Therapists (PT) and Physical Therapy Assistants (PTA):

  • Steve Bell (Ottumwa)
  • Janet Hurt (Keokuk)
  • Carol Kottenstette, PhD (Burlington)
  • Leah Piotrowski (Fairfield)
  • Betsy Schneider (Albia)
  • Clark Ullerich (Oskaloosa)
  • Heather Voyles (Ottumwa)
  • Amanda Walrath (Fairfield)
  • Kandys Dameron, PTA (Burlington)
  • Laura Farrington, PTA (Fairfield)
  • Melissa Grooms, PTA (Ottumwa)

Great Prairie AEA’s Physical Therapy program exists to provide therapeutic services to maximize children’s functional motor abilities through assessment, intervention, advocacy and education related to their unique needs within the educational atmosphere of mutual respect and cooperation. Physical therapists design interventions that improve a student’s physical ability to access and participate in their educational program. Physical Therapy services include: therapy services, consultation for teachers & parents, screening, IEP & Individualized Family Service Plans (IFSP) development, and strategies for students to be successful in all learning environments.

Physical Therapists examine each individual child and develop a plan and goals on an Individualized Education Programs (IEP) using treatment techniques to assist with mobility and enhance function. Some students also require assistance in kindergarten and beyond. Enabling children to become more mobile is one of the goals of the physical therapy teams at Iowa’s AEAs. Physical therapists provide therapeutic services to maximize children’s functional motor abilities through assessment, intervention, advocacy and education related to their unique needs within the school setting. They accomplish these tasks by collaborating with parents, home intervention and classroom teachers, occupational therapists, speech pathologists, social workers, psychologists and nurses. Physical Therapy Month is sponsored through the American Physical Therapy Association and is celebrated nationally.

Visit our website to learn more about Physical Therapy services.