GPAEA Schools in the News – May 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.

PD Opportunities – Summer 2015

Looking to update your professional development resume?  Check out classes coming this summer to an AEA office near you!  Course Catalog Link can be found at or by clicking HERE!  Start date is listed in parentheses.

This list is not all inclusive, but highlights some courses for the summer. Classes are being added on a daily basis! Please visit the course catalog for details!

Climate, Culture and Behavior

  • Check and Connect  (June 3)
  • Bullying Investigation Round 2 (June 1)
  • Human Relations (June 18)
  • A Behavior Tool Box for Your Classroom (June 18, July15)
  • Nonviolent Crisis Intervention Training (start dates vary)

Early Childhood Highlights

  • Getting Started with Project Work “A Day of Learning and Observation” (June 5)
  • Re-Use it! Creating Art with Natural and Recycled Materials (June 15)

Iowa Core Highlights (Literacy, Math, Science, Writing)

  • UbD = Increasing Implementation of Quality Iowa Core (June 4 and June 11)
  • Building a Writing Toolkit (June 10, July 27, Aug. 3)
  • NGSS Science, Reading, Writing Integration for varying levels (start dates vary)
  • Iowa LETRS-  a variety of modules (start dates vary)
  • Science Fiction in the Classroom (June 22)
  • K-2 Counting and Cardinality/Operations and Algebraic Thinking (June 22)

Technology Highlights

  • Assistive Technology Summer Institute (June 2)
  • Communicating and Collaborating with Google Docs (June 4)
  • Self-Directed Professional Learning in Online Communities (June 9, June 24)
  • Pushing the Boundaries (July 6)
  • Mobile Devices in the Classroom:  Practicing the 4Cs (June 10, July 17, July 20)
  • Excel for Educators (June 29)
  • Google Training Levels 1-5 (start dates vary)
  • Tri-State Technology Boot Camp (July 30)

Vocational Education Highlights

  • Educators in the Workplace (June 22)
  • Teacher in the Workplace XVII (June 22)

The Cornerstone – May 2015

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Also, check out PD Opportunities for the Summer!

Hitting, Kicking and Screaming… Now What?

Dr. Angelisa Fynaardt, Associate Administrator

Elementary school teacher holding file

Learn to think like a Behavior Detective!

Hitting, kicking, swearing, throwing chairs and refusing to work are examples of problem behaviors in schools. These occur in general and special education, across locations, and with a wide variety of adults and peers. Is it happening in your classroom?

We have seen an increase of calls and emails about students with problem behaviors, the need for more professional development and on-site support, and contacts from lawyers and advocacy agencies about services for students with challenging behaviors. Great Prairie AEA is here to help you become a “Behavior Detective” and learn more about strategies that you can use in your classroom/school to address behavior problems.

Learn how to think like a Behavior Detective!

We know that we can change students’ demonstration of problem behaviors by impacting what we do before or after a problem behavior occurs. We also know that behavior occurs in a context.   It does not occur in isolation. Behaviors occur in response to what is happening in the context of the situation. It is often helpful to think about “The 5 W’s.” Knowing information about who, what, when, and where of the problem behavior helps us to figure out the why for the behavior. As a behavior detective, ask yourself the following questions: Continue reading

Early ACCESS – Family Guided Routines Based Intervention and Caregiver Coaching

Linda Boshart, Early ACCESS Regional Liaison 

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Early ACCESS Vision: Every infant and toddler with or at risk for a developmental delay and their families will be supported and included in their communities so that the child will be healthy and successful.

Early ACCESS Mission: Early ACCESS builds upon and provides supports and resources to assist family members and caregivers to enhance children’s learning and development through everyday learning opportunities

Early ACCESS is Iowa’s system for children and families from birth to age three years who have some kind of special concern. Services are provided in the child’s natural environment, which means that providers go where the child is, such as the home, childcare center, or grandparent’s home. Early ACCESS service providers have training in various professions – early childhood education, speech-language pathology, occupational therapy, physical therapy, nursing, social work, psychology, and others. Continue reading

Summer Institute Series: Thinking Functionally About Behavior, June 15 & 16

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Are behaviors in your building causing you and your staff to have high levels of stress? Do you want to know more about how to manage those behaviors? How can we see the behaviors we want to see from our students?

Join us on June 15 & 16 to learn how to think functionally about the behaviors you encounter on a daily basis so you can match your interventions and strategies effectively. Throughout the two days, we will talk about behavior assessment and behavior intervention. We will share content and strategies to support your work with students who demonstrate problem behaviors in your schools.

Download a PDF: Behavior SI 2015 Postcard

Summer Institute Series: Leading and Sustaining the Work of the Collaborative Team Process, June 8 & 9

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Join Solution Tree Consultant, Tim Brown in learning how to lead the work of collaborative teams.

Tim Brown will guide your teams in answering the following questions:

  • How will you establish common understandings and expectations for collaboration across your system (district, school, & teacher teams)?
  • How will you train collaborative team leaders?
  • What does the work of a collaborative team look like?
  • What is the role of common assessments in the work of the collaborative team?
  • What is your long-range plan for implementing a collaborative system?
  • How will you monitor, support, and evaluate the effectiveness of the collaborative process?

Register at

Download a PDF: STPLC SI 2015 Postcard

Wrapping Up w/ GPAEA Media!

Kristin Steingreaber, GPAEA Media Specialist

Here are a few Media year-end reminders and an invitation to stay connected with GPAEA Media!

  • May 11-14 is the last week of Media van delivery to schools
  • May 18-21 – last week for van pickup
  • Calendars will open by June 1st for using the Reorder Past Order feature
  • Media Clerks last day – June 2
  • Media Specialist last day – June 18

Summer access to the library is online only!
Over the past 15 years, it’s been great to work together with schools to transform classrooms and libraries with Media Resources. There is a terrific Media staff that will be back in August to assist you.  As I am retiring this year, I encourage you to stay connected and watch for news about Media in the future! If you have questions about the library, please contact us at  or contact me directly at Thank you!

Check out the newest resources: Continue reading

Graduate Credit Changes for July 1, 2015

GPAEA has been a proud, longstanding partner with Drake University, Morningside College, and Viterbo University to offer graduate credit so that educators in our area can advance their careers, increase pay levels, and offer deeper learning and support!

Effective July 1, 2015, the Professional Development office will implement the full definition of college/university accreditation standards by requiring all graduate level work through the course catalog to have a minimum of 2 hours of homework for every hour spent in class. Classes that are offered for two consecutive days will not be available for graduate credit; renewal credit will still be an option to meet your relicensure needs.

Implications for those who are taking classes are deeper connection to the learning, implementation opportunities over time, and increased feedback from instructors. Implications for instructors will be to offer varied learning opportunities outside of class. Thank you for your continued support and we appreciate partnering with you to meet your professional development needs.

Please contact me with any questions at or visit our website at

The 8th grade AWIM STEM Scale-Up program at Seymour Community School District

 Rosemary Peck, GPAEA Science Specialist

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“Do we need to change the angle of the wing?”  “It nose‐dived…there is too much weight on the nose.” “ That’s it‐it worked perfectly!”  Conversations in Mrs.Lukavsky’s 8th grade science class, Seymour Community School District, revolve around asking questions, planning and testing designs, analyzing data to look for patterns and brainstorming solutions. The students are building and testing gliders with specific constraints and group goals, as part of the A World In Motion (AWIM) STEM Scale‐Up program, Mrs. Lukavsky received for the 2014‐15 school year.

To launch the unit, each group built and tested a standard glider to test variables and further their understandings of the science concepts involved. Students explored the relationship between force and motion and the effects of weight and lift on a glider. In the next phase of the unit, students learned the relationships between data analysis and variable manipulations, and the importance of understanding consumer demands. The class was presented with survey results concerning what criteria would be most desirable in marketing the gliders. Based on the data in the survey, each group chose a goal and had certain constraints and criteria for their new glider design. That’s when the real challenges began. Continue reading

Straight Talk About Literacy Leadership

Dr. Susan Hall Flyer - 1 Column Flyer-BlueTuesday, August 18, 2015 – Fairfield Arts & Convention Center
8:30 AM – 3:30 PM

Featuring Dr. Susan Hall, Consultant, 95% Group Inc.

The workshop is designed to support instructional leadership. Topics include:

  • Building intervention blocks into the master schedule
  • Approaches to promote and provide time for grade-level team collaboration
  • Ways to support teachers as they learn these new instructional strategies with small groups
  • Hallmarks of effective reading instruction
  • Maximizing core reading instruction
  • How to conduct a walk-through and observation visit

Register at:

Download Dr. Susan Hall Flyer