GPAEA History Day Contest Results – April 14, 2015


Congratulations to Mt. Pleasant Middle School National Qualifying Team!
Shaleen Thiengmany, Erin Zihlman, and Abby Ryon

Eunice Kennedy Shriver’s Leadership and Legacy:
Changing the World’s View on the Mentally Disabled

Teacher: Jennifer Stater

Great Prairie AEA hosted a district History Day on April 14, 2015 in Fairfield. Congratulations to the following Junior & Senior division winners who will advance to State on Monday, May 4th at the Iowa Events Center. Learn more at


Junior Paper

  • Katherine McLaughlin, The Grimm Legacy: Lessons, Adventures, and Magic,
    Sigourney Elementary School
  • Maddie Bemis, The Legacy of FDR, Pekin Community Schools

Junior Individual Exhibit

  • Jaden Davis, Dan Gable, Mt. Pleasant Middle School
  • Subrahmanyam Mullangi, Steve Jobs’ Vision and Passion, Aldo Leopold Middle School
  • Kjierstin Ridgway, The Greensboro Sit-in, Evans Middle School
  • Faith Roberts, The Mother of the Holocaust Children, Eddyville Elementary
  • Wyatt Brinegar, The Man Who Opened the Prairie, Eddyville Elementary

Junior Group Exhibit Continue reading

This is Eli…

Jennifer Woodley, Communication Specialist

A little over a week ago, I visited Jamie Reifsteck’s first grade classroom in the Fairfield Community School District to participate in an Autism Awareness activity. I was welcomed by a group of smiling faces and blue shirts! “We are all wearing blue today – for Eli!” they told me, “Eli has Autism.”

Eli’s family (mom, dad, and sister) visit the class a couple of times a year to share information, lead awareness activities, and encourage the kids to ask questions about Eli and Autism. “All this is to help build a community around Eli. We don’t want the kids scared or confused, and we want them to be comfortable interacting with Eli anywhere at any time,” explained Eli’s dad and Great Prairie AEA School Improvement Specialist, Mike Stiemsma. “It’s great when they see him at Hy-Vee, they run up and give him a high 5 and say “hi” even if he doesn’t say “hi” back.” Continue reading

Local students compete at Tater Toss Catapult Competition

Originally shared in Lee County Economic Development Group Newsletter - April 2015

Originally shared in Lee County Economic Development Group Newsletter – April 2015

The competition was flying at the first Tater Toss Catapult Competition Wednesday, April 8th in the SCC gym. Thirtythree students from schools throughout Southeast Iowa designed and built working catapults to compete. Catapults earned points for accuracy, distance and design. SCC Work-Based Learning Specialist, Leanne Krogmeier, says the event is a fun way for students to showcase their imagination and represent their schools. “There’s a lot of talented kids out there who were busy building some pretty clever contraptions.” Krogmeier says the event allows students to learn more about the fields of science, architecture, construction and engineering.

Accuracy of the catapults was tested as the teams aimed for targets at 15 and 30 feet. New London High School placed 1stat the 15-foot distance and WACO Middle School placed 1st at the 30-foot distance. Keokuk High School focused their efforts on the longest distance, winning first place in this category. Team coach Matt Hodges stated their practice shots were in the 170 ft. range. The WACO Middle School 7th grade team placed first overall and there was a tie for 2nd place overall between WACO Middle School 8th grade and Wapello High School. Continue reading

UbD = Increasing Implementation of Quality Iowa Core

UbD June 15 (1)If you are looking to increase the effectiveness of unit planning by using a process that can be used in any content area or if you have already begun using UbD and would like more time to collaborate and continue learning this workshop is for you. Collaborate among content areas and across districts.

Who should attend?  PK-12 Teachers (all content areas), Teacher Leaders, Coaches,Curriculum Directors, and/or Principals

8:30 AM – 4:30 PM
Lunch on your own

One recertification credit $50

GPAEA Schools in the News – April 2015

Post updated throughout the month. 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.

Iowa’s Next Big Thing to Spark Youth Entrepreneurship

Happy studentsSoutheast Iowa high school juniors and seniors will have the opportunity to learn what it takes to be an entrepreneur during the 1st Iowa’s Next BIG Thing Youth Entrepreneur Challenge. This new initiative will be hosted by the Entrepreneurship committee of the Greater Burlington Partnership in coordination with Iowa Workforce Development and Southeastern Community College and the University of Iowa Jacobson Institute for Youth Entrepreneurship

The event will be held April 30th, 8:30-2:30 PM at the Middletown, Iowa Armed Forces Reserve Center. During the course of the day the students will receive instruction on idea creation, marketing, and finances that will prepare them to develop a basic business plan. At the end of the day students will pitch their product and business plan to a panel of judges (similar to a mini Shark Tank). The judges will choose winning teams who, in addition to being named one of “Iowa’s Next Big Things”, will receive gift cards.

The keynote address will be given by Tana Goertz, an internationally-recognized TV personality, motivational speaker, business coach, reality TV casting call coach, radio talk show host and author. Goertz is also known for her appearance on NBC’s “The Apprentice” with Donald Trump.

Register for Iowa’s Next Big Thing at Each student must register separately. Space is first come, first serve.  Students are encouraged to bring laptops.

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.

Celebrate the Week of the Young Child, April 12-18

The Week of the Young Child™ is an annual celebration sponsored by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) celebrating early learning, young children, their teachers and families. More info can be found at

The local chapter of IAEYC-The Rolling Prairie Chapter- will be displaying the Artwork of young children around the squares of the county seats in our local 9 county area – April 12-18-this includes, Appanoose, Monroe, Mahaska, Wapello, Jefferson, Keokuk, Davis, Van Buren and Washington Counties.  Also, join the group for a Literacy event on Tuesday, April 28 from 6-7:30 PM in Fairfield. See flyer below.

Rolling Prairie Literacy Night-1

Here are some ideas to assist you in your daily planning. Please send us pictures of your WOYC events to

April 13: Music Monday!
Don’t forget to share your own version of our Music Monday song and share it on NAEYC’s Facebook page or post to Twitter using the hashtag #woycmusic. Here are music resources for families and teachers Continue reading

The Cornerstone – April 2015

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40 Year Anniversary of AEAs Marks Improved Standards for Student Support

Brent Siegrist, Executive Director, Iowa’s Area Education Agencies

Brent SiegristA fortieth birthday is an important milestone in a person’s life. Amid the joke about approaching middle age is the comfort of being a little wiser than a person was just a decade ago. As Iowa’s Area Education Agencies reach this celebrated milestone we have the opportunity to reflect on the past four decades of service to Iowans.

Regional education in Iowa took a giant step forward in the spring of 1974 when Senate File 1163 transformed the jigsaw maze of 52 county or joint county school systems into 15 area education agencies with the same service areas as community colleges.  The AEAs, as they came to be called, began operating July 1, 1975.

This legislation erased the division and eased the discrepancies that existed between Iowa schools. Iowa’s AEAs collaborated to improve the education opportunities for our most valuable asset: our young people. Prior to that time, only about seven to eight percent of the handicapped children in the state had educational opportunities in their home communities. Similar discrepancies existed in general education classrooms: only 30% of the children in the state had access to current media materials, and the availability of resources varied greatly between Iowa’s schools urban, rural, large and small.

Continue reading