The Cornerstone – Summer 2014

A special summer edition of The Cornerstone includes:

Scroll down to begin reading or click on a story above. Enjoy!

Use TLC to Combat Avalanche Isolation

Use TLC to Combat Avalanche Isolation by Dr. Jon Sheldahl, Chief Administrator

Jon's Blog

This morning I read a blog in Edutopia (I highly recommend a twitter follow for Edutopia if you don’t already do so).  The piece was on teacher isolation and was written by Sean Glaze, a team building facilitator and leadership speaker.  In the piece, he talks about two types of teacher isolation, egg crate isolation and avalanche isolation.  Egg crate isolation is what we typically think of when we think about isolation.  For OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAthose of you who, like me, are too young to remember taking eggs to town, an egg crate is a wooden cube in which each egg is placed in its own cell, preventing it from touching any other egg in the crate either horizontally or vertically.  In a way it is like a school building for eggs.  Each egg has its own space on it’s own level.  (I actually have an egg crate, but no chickens thank…

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2014-15 Changes in GPAEA Media

Last van pickup is the week of Tuesday, May 27 – Friday, May 30.   Friday is the final pickup for Monday, due to the Memorial Day holiday on May 26th. Thank you!

The past couple of years, we have been trending towards having our media collection in a central location and this spring moved forward to make that happen. Starting in 2014-15, a more efficient system of delivery will provide media resources point to point from the Ottumwa AEA Office.  All media is located in Ottumwa with the exception of a few Science Kits and Star Lab.  These will still be checked out by phone or email contact: 800-622-0027 or 800-382-8970, ext. 1153 or

GPAEA Media provides print and digital content in an assortment of mediums, ranging from K-12 books, audio books (playaways), professional books and materials, journals and DVDs.  Using SNAP, our online reservation catalog, educators can reserve media items for delivery throughout the school year.  The SNAP catalog also links teachers and students to digital video, ebooks, primary source documents, images and two dozen online databases.

Media orders for the fall can be reserved starting in July.

The AEA provides weekly van delivery to public and accredited nonpublic schools.   Throughout the year, this new system will allow for a quicker turn-around between placing an order and delivery. All routes, except Mondays, can be ordered the day before your van stop. Monday routes need to have orders in by 9 AM on the previous Thursday. Changes regarding the day of the week for your van stop are listed below. Check with your van contact or teacher librarian for more information.

Educators are provided a member username/password by the Media Center. Contact us directly at with any questions.

2014-15 Van Routes

Monday – Route 4
(order by 9 AM Thursday for delivery on Monday)


Monday – Route 6
(order by 9 AM Thursday for delivery on Monday)

EBF – Fremont building only
Morning Sun
Winfield-Mt. Union

Tuesday – Route 2
(order by 9 AM Monday for delivery on Tuesday)
North Mahaska
Oskaloosa Christian
Tuesday – Route 8
(order by 9 AM Monday for delivery on Tuesday)

Notre Dame
West Burlington

Wednesday – Routes 7 & 9
(order by 9 AM Tuesday for delivery on Wednesday)


Wednesday – Route 1
(order by 9 AM Tuesday for delivery on Wednesday)

Mt. Pleasant
New London

Thursday – Route 3
(order by 9 AM Wednesday for delivery on Thursday)

Davis County
Van Buren

Thursday – Route 5
(order by 9 AM Wednesday for delivery on Thursday)

Central Lee
Fort Madison
Holy Trinity
Keokuk Catholic Schools

Summer Professional Development Opportunites

Business teamworkPlease visit our online course catalog to register.
  • Summer Institute II
  • Assessing Academic Rigor: Evaluator III
  • FIERCE Conversations
  • Substitute Authorization
  • ST-AT I Structured Teaching for Autism: BASIC Components
  • ST-AT II Structured Teaching for Autism: Communication, Social and Leisure
  • Social Skills for Autism
  • ABA Strategies and Curriculum: Using STAR Program to Support Students with Autism
Behavior/Classroom Management
  • Interventions: Evidence-Based Behavioral Strategies for Individual Students
  • Nine Essential Skills for the Love & Logic Classroom Basic
  • Nine Essential Skills for the Love and Logic Classroom Advanced
  • Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) Tier 2 Training
  • Nonviolent Crisis Intervention Training
  • CHAMPS: A Proactive and Positive Approach to Classroom Management
  • A Behavior Tool Box for Your Classroom
  • Restorative Discipline:  From a punitive to restorative framework
  • Introduction to Sheltered Instruction for Teachers of ELLs
Fine Arts
  • Wheel Thrown Pottery II (weekend and evening classes)
  • Plein Air: Outdoor Landscape
  • Painting Layering Up
General Interest & Culture
  • Current Research in Teaching and Learning: Schools that Make the Grade Book Study
  • Bringing History to Life through Primary Sources and Historical Fiction
  • Simon and Garfunkel: The Poet-Musicians of Folk Rock
  • Charlie Chaplin: Comic of the Human Spirit
  • James Dean: An American Cultural Icon
  • Creating Supportive School Cultures and Learning Environments
  • Decision Making For Results/Data Teams Experience
  • K-5 ELA Standards Based Unit
  • K-12 ELA Curriculum Design
  • Iowa Core 101: Literacy Standards for Elementary
  • Iowa Core 101: Literacy Standards for Secondary
  • LETRS 1-3
  • LETRS 4-6
  • LETRS 7-9
  • Second Chance Reading Academy 2014-2015
  • Interactive Vocabulary Lessons
  • Iowa Core and Revision of Writing K-12
  • Productive Group Work
  • Fun with Fractions: Strategies to teach fractions with deep understanding
  • Classroom Instructional Gaming Methods: Improving math achievement and motivation with Online EQUATIONS: The Game of Creative Mathematics
  • Integrating STEM in the Classroom
  • Iowa Core in the StarLab
  • Dinosaurs and the Geology of the Rocky Mountains  (held in Choteau, Montana)
  • Secondary Transition Planning for Educators and Families
  • Pushing the Boundaries Summer Academy
  • Assistive Technology Summer Institute
  • Social Media and You (evening class)
  • Google (various levels)
  • Mobile Devices in the Classroom: Practicing the 4Cs (Communication, Collaboration, Creativity, and Critical Thinking) – Level 1
  • Mobile Devices in the Classroom: Practicing the 4Cs (Communication, Collaboration, Creativity, and Critical Thinking) – Level 2
  • Communicating and Collaborating with Google Docs
  • Technology Integration Series: Instruction Through Interactive White Boards and ActivInspire Software – Level 1
  • Technology Integration Series: Instruction with Interactive White Boards and ActivInspire Software – Level 2
Workshops and Other Trainings:
  • Technology in Early Childhood
  • Boot Camp for Curricular Leaders
Please visit our online course catalog to register:

Register now for the Summer Institute 2014 – MTSS: Literacy & Transition

Summer Institute 2014 Postcard_Page_1

Join us for Great Prairie AEA’s 2nd Annual Summer Institute! Two outstanding keynote speakers will help educators review and plan for working in systems that involve multi-tier systems of support (MTSS) for students in the areas of early literacy and student engagement.

June 16 & June 17, 2014 • 8:00 AM – 4:30 PM

No cost. Recertification Credit available. Lunch included.


Mission Possible: Teaching Literacy to All Students
Shannon Harken, Professional Learning & Leadership Consultant, Heartland AEA

Literacy includes a skill set upon which all formal education depends. Students need to be taught in an organized, systematic, efficient way by knowledgeable teachers using a well-designed instructional approach.

Secondary Systems for All
Beth Steenwyk, System Design Facilitator & Implementation Consultant

High School graduation is a significant marker of achievement in a young person’s life and a critical factor for success in postsecondary life. The journey toward graduation begins long before a student even enters secondary school. This strand will explore the following topics; challenges and solutions to creating secondary school cultures that meaningfully engage and support ALL learners.

An opportunity you don’t want to miss! 

Download a PDF Flier

Stay Connected this Summer!

Interested in learning about latest educational news, best resources/tools for your classroom, professional development, and much more?

Get connected with GPAEA on your favorite social media tool:

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Use Twitter? Use #GPAEA to let us know about the great things happening in your district and classroom.

AEA PD Online & AEA K-12 Online Update – May 2014

The May blog updates for AEA PD Online and AEA K-12 Online are 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




Help AEA PD Online Prioritize YOUR Needs!

aeapdonlinelogo2013In order to best serve you, AEA PD Online needs your feedback! Please take 10 minutes to complete their​ prioritization survey, which asks you to prioritize a list of online training topics. You will be asked to choose 5 topics you feel are the most important to finish in the upcoming year and then rate the other topics on a strong-moderate-weak priority rating. 

By the fall of 2014, AEA PD Online will offer 50 online trainings on ​their training system. Your feedback will allow them to continue to expand their offerings in a way that is meaningful to you and your staff. You may also add suggestions about other trainings you would like to see developed. Please feel free to pass the survey on to other staff members who may have an interest in providing input on this topic.

Thanks for your feedback – we look forward to hearing from you!

Free Secondary Transition Planning Workshop – June 18 & 19

transition planning flyer 2014June 18 & 19, 2014 – 8:30 AM – 4:30 PM
Fairfield Arts & Convention Center
200 North Main, Fairfield, IA 52556

This two day workshop is intended to help teachers learn how to assist parents in their understanding of the special education transition process in Iowa and how to participate effectively.

This course will provide information, resources and a supportive environment for teachers to ask questions about the transition process. Participants will receive four parent transition planning modules, including all training materials and resources the Iowa Department of Education and PACER Center developed:

  • From Disability to Possibility : The Power of High Expectations in Transition Planning
  • Road to Discovery Transition to Adult Living, Learning and Working:
  • Taking the Next Step: Planning for Success in Postsecondary Education
  • Exploring and Preparing for Work as an Adult

$100 Stipend for educators who attend both days.

To register go to

Graduate credit and recertification credit is available.

Download a PDF Flier: transition planning flyer 2014

The Cornerstone – May 2014

Supporting Teacher Leadership Systems in GPAEA

by Dr. Jon Sheldahl, Chief Administrator

The flowers are in bloom and the Chicago Cubs are 9 games below .500 so it must be May Day in the Great State of Iowa.  This spring brings something new to Iowa’s educational landscape though, as the Iowa Teacher Leadership Supplement (TLS) program is officially off the ground.  Districts representing one-third of Iowa’s school aged students have been selected to begin implementing teacher leadership programs this coming school year.  Over the course of the following two school years (2015-16 and 2016-17), nearly all of Iowa’s school districts will be involved in the business of utilizing teacher leadership positions to improve student achievement through strengthening instruction and instructional leadership.  Most districts in Iowa are already well into implementing the foundational components that will help support TLS.  Implementing the Iowa Core Standards and Curriculum is helping Iowa schools address the “what” of continuous school improvement.  Using  RTI or Multi-Tiered Systems of Supports is addressing the “how” .  TLS will address the “who” of continuous improvement by creating a network of highly qualified teacher leaders able to provide instructional coaching and otherwise engage all of Iowa’s teachers in a model of collaborative inquiry.

Click here for the entire article.

STEM Scale-up in Stefany Well’s 2nd grade class at Van Buren

by Stefany Wells, Teacher, Van Buren & Rosemary Peck, GPAEA Science Specialist

Children are born engineers! From sandcastles and Legos to designing a more complex structure in science class, kids love to build, take apart, build and take apart again. The students in Mrs. Wells’ science class, Van Buren Community School District, are doing just that this year with the help from an Engineering in the Elementary grant through the Governor’s Scale Up program. Engineering in the elementary is a research-based, standards-driven, and classroom-tested curriculum that integrates engineering and technology concepts and skills with elementary science topics.

Air and Weather is currently a unit covered in second grade. The use of the engineering materials has taken the unit to a whole new level. The students used the engineering design process of ask, imagine, plan, create, and improve to design a sail for a boat and then later, a windmill. Some of the students soon found out there was much more to what an effective sail and blade design should consist of!Doc1

The students experimented with different materials such as wax paper, note cards, tissue paper and felt to determine which material had the best properties when effectively tested. They then had to think about the size and stability of their structures too. During the culminating activity of building the windmill, the students had to combine their knowledge and experiences in a team setting to create the most effective windmill. Working in a group can be very challenging for 7 and 8 year olds, but the ongoing engineering process teaches them collaborative skills and how to solve problems when dealing with real-world experiences.

Children pictured: Korbin Camp, Susanella Daugherty, Landon Harward, Bree Kirkhart, Jakob Mott, Emma Price-Burton, Kasey Stocker-Houston