AEA PD Online & AEA K-12 Online January Blog 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



GPAEA Schools in the News – January 2014

A list of the January 2014 headlines featuring a Great Prairie AEA School District:

  • Cardinal – Cardinal teachers discuss how to make students employable after graduation
  • Central Lee – Weber explains TAG selection process
  • IHCC – Indian Hills and Iowa Wesleyan announce educational partnership
  • Oskaloosa – School board approves $9,000 comprehensive school assessment
  • Ottumwa – Engineering the future
  • Ottumwa – Ottumwa School District conducting online survey
  • Van Buren – Test Scores up at Van Buren schools
  • Wapello – Share and share alike — and not liked

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.

The Cornerstone – January 2014

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

2014 Presents Opportunities for Meaningful School Reform in Iowa

Dr. Jon Sheldahl, Chief Administrator

Teacher and students in kindergarten classDuring 2014, Iowa educators will begin working with two key pieces of education reform policy for the first time.  Districts representing roughly one-third of Iowa’s public school students will begin developing new teacher leadership roles and re-examining teacher development models as they begin to implement the Teacher Leadership and Compensation (TLC) program.  Those districts will be receiving the Teacher Leadership Supplement (TLS) which was authorized during the last legislative session by HF215.  At the same time, all Iowa districts will begin planning to meet the new demands for literacy instruction found in chapter 62.  These require local districts to screen all students for potential reading problems beginning in kindergarten and to provide research based interventions and progress monitoring for all students experiencing difficulty in the area of reading.  Districts will be required to provide extended learning programs and consider retention for all students not proficient in reading by the end of 3rd grade.   Both of these new developments have the potential to substantially improve student learning outcomes in Iowa.  Unfortunately, they also have the potential to do for student learning what so many reform efforts have done before, which is little to nothing.  How can we assure that these reforms will result in real change and improved student learning?  Here are a few thoughts.

Continue reading on Dr. Sheldahl’s Blog

#IAedchat Celebrates a Year of Learning, Connections, and Collaboration

Aaron Becker, Principal, Fairfield High School

iaedchatWhat is #IAedchat?

#IAedchat (short for Iowa Education Chat, the # is what they call a hashtag) turned one year old on January 5th, 2014.  At this time last year, I connected with Jimmy Casas, Bettendorf High School Principal and Matt Degner, Southeast Junior High Principal, in Iowa City to create #IAedchat, a weekly, hour long educational chat on Twitter every Sunday night at 8 p.m. CST.  This idea originated when the three of us kept running into each other online when participating in education chats on Twitter. We were following hashtags or chats such as #satchat (Saturday chat), #edchatri (Education Chat Rhode Island), and #ptchat (Parent/Teacher Chat).  We reached out to one another on Twitter and wondered if we could and should create a chat for Iowa educators.  We enjoyed the chats, learning opportunities, and the collaboration that we wanted to share the experience with other Iowan educators since we weren’t seeing many on the chats at that time. We wanted to change this trend and create an opportunity for other educators in Iowa to discuss educational topics and experience the power of digitally connecting with educators in our state through #IAedchat.  One year later, here we are.

How does #IAedchat work?

Jimmy, Matt, and I co-moderate #IAedchat by developing and asking 6 to 8 reflective questions about various educational topics in which people from our state of Iowa but also people from all over the United States and even other countries such as Canada and Australia join in on the conversation.  The three of us collaborate during the week via Google Docs, Google Hangout, Skype, text messaging, or a phone call to decide on a topic of choice for the week.  Once a topic is decided on, we start working on sample questions that will create discussion during the hour.  We like to create questions that will be reflective and thought provoking for people that join the chat or for those that “lurk” (watch the chat but don’t post anything).  Jimmy will ask the questions in Q1,Q2, Q3…format (Q=Question) and the participants will answer in a A1, A2, A3 format (A=Answer) so everyone can keep track of the chat.  It is fast paced but once you get the hang of it, it is a great time!  During the chat you are able to give your own response, respond to someone elses response, retweet a response, or favorite a response from someone.  All you have to do is make sure you put #IAedchat somewhere in your tweet and everyone following that hashtag can see your response in the chat.  It may sound a little confusing at first, but all you have to do is give it a chance.  We are excited to welcome new people in each week.  Don’t miss the opportunity! Continue reading

Danville – Research / Postcard Project

Kristen Steingreaber, Media Specialist


Danville 8th (Kelly Henry, teacher) and 9th graders (Cassandra Macans, teacher) are involved in an ongoing Research and Postcard Project.

Starting with questions and discussion on what tolerance means, the 8th graders also created a timeline, posted around their classroom, of intolerance over centuries. The 9th graders collect postcards from around the world (see Dec. 2013 card below), based on local Danville history when in 1939, Anne Frank wrote a letter and postcard as a pen pal to one of Birdie Mathews’ students.

GPAEA Media resources and the school library provide background for research on survivors.

Find out More!

Download a PDF: danville-1pg

Choose your ebook option!

Kristen Steingreaber, Media Specialist

AEADigitalLibrary ‐ professional ebook!

Teacher and schoolgirl studying in front of a school computerADL is part of Iowa AEA Online and has recently added the ebook ‐


  • Teachers have individual account. Ask us –
  • Students use District username/password

More at‐ADL

Continue reading

Winfield-Mt. Union STEM Classes

by Rosemary Peck, Science Consultant

photoWhen entering Michele Robertson’s room at Winfield Mount Union Community School District you may see middle school or high school students playing games on the computer. However, the students using the STEM-Fuse Game:IT program created these games. During class, students become familiar not only with drag and drop programming but writing code using GML, use the engineering design cycle, collaborate with other students, use their knowledge of physics and math during game creation and become more aware of STEM career options.  The students said they have fun in class but liked the challenge of designing and figuring out how to program something new or fix a bug in a program. They talk about how they are learning to find their own answers either from the curriculum resources, resources on the Internet or each other. Of course, Mrs. Robertson is always there, waiting in the wings, a 17-year veteran of computer programing but she values the students collaborating and teaching each other. Junior Jordan and Freshman Gavin Bencze are working on a game to submit to a national contest on January 17, where the game, after an approval process, will be uploaded to an arcade site to be played and receive votes. Continue reading

Start Your Year Off with Professional Development

Businessman with four businesspeople at boardroom table in backgGPAEA has many professional development courses scheduled for January and February.  Some deadlines for minimum enrollment are this week, so register soon!  Courses include:

  • Social Media and You (evening class)
  • Nine Essential Skills for the Love & Logic Classroom BASIC (evening class)
  • Para Educator Courses I, II and III – for Generalist certification (evening classes)
  • Paraeducator Certification Level II Generalist with Area of Concentration: Special Needs (evenings and Saturdays)
  • Substitute Authorization (evening class)
  • Developing a Social Skills Tool Box
  • A Behavior Tool Box for Your Classroom
  • Creating a Functional Behavior Assessment Tool Box for Your Classroom
  • PBIS Strategies for PreK-2nd Grade Students
  • Teaching Strategies GOLD for Creative Curriculum: Beginning & Intermediate
  • ST-AT II Structured Teaching for Autism: Communication, Social and Leisure

Please visit our online course catalog to register.

Register Now for Statewide Education & Technology Events

Business teamworkEdCampIowa – Saturday, March 8, 2014

Registration for EdCampIowa ( is still open! Over half of all tickets are already gone! Five locations are planned for across the state for Saturday, March 8, making it the biggest EdCamp event in the country. They are encouraging teachers and administrators to also bring students, parents, board members, community leaders, legislators and anyone else who cares about P-12 education.

EdCampIowa is FREE and is an incredible day of learning. Register and learn more at

Iowa 1:1 Institute – Thursday, April 10, 2014

The fifth annual Iowa 1:1 Institute will be Thursday, April 10, in Des Moines. Over 1,200 attendees are again expected. This year there is also a special Leadership Day for administrators on April 9 with Patrick Larkin, one of NASSP’s first Digital Principal Award recipients.

Registration and other information is at

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.

Capitol Girls Event for Grades 9-12

CapitolGirlsFlyer_RegForm-2014 Greater IowaGirl Scouts is offering “Capitol Girls” event for girls in grades 9-12. Take an in-depth look at our state government by shadowing one of our lawmakers. You’ll be front and center as our state policymakers have lively debates on the House and Senate floors. You’ll be introduced during the General Assembly, then paired with a female legislator for an inside look at being a woman in politics. Capitol Girls is a great experience that will help you develop personal leadership skills while experiencing our government in action.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014
7 :30 am – 3:30 pm
Iowa State Capitol Building
East 12th and Grand Ave, Des Moines, IA 50316

Continue reading

Nominate a Teacher for the National History Teacher of the Year Award

The Gilder Lehrman Institute is now seeking nominations for a 7th-12th grade history/social studies teacher for the 2014 Iowa History Teacher of the Year award.  One teacher from each state will be named the state winner, awarded $1,000, and automatically entered into the National History Teacher of the Year selection process.  The National History Teacher of the Year receives $10,000 and is flown to New York City, along with two students, for an awards ceremony in the teacher’s honor.  Please go to  to learn more and to nominate a teacher.  The deadline to nominate someone is February 1, 2014. 

Questions?  Contact Stefanie Wager at 

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.

Upcoming Paraeducator Courses (Generalist and Level II)

Great Prairie AEA is offering two different Level II courses, Special Needs and Early Childhood.  These courses will give paraeducators who already have their generalist certificate the opportunity to add an area of concentration to their certificate.  These courses will count for recertification credits.

  • Paraeducator Courses I, II and III – offered in Burlington and Ottumwa

deadline for minimum registration:  January 7, 2014    (Burlington)
deadline for minimum registration:  January 27, 2014  (Ottumwa)

  • Paraeducator Level II/Area of Concentration:  Special Needs – (Burlington only)

deadline for minimum registration:  January 16, 2014

  • Paraeducator Level II/Area of Concentration:  Early Childhood – offered in Burlington and Ottumwa

deadline for minimum registration:  March 6, 2014  (Ottumwa)
deadline for minimum registration:  April 17, 2014    (Burlington)

Attached are flyers with more information for both the Generalist courses and the Level II/Generalist with Area of Concentration courses.