March PEC Workshop on Guardianship & Conservatorship

Who Needs a Guardian or Conservator?

GUARDIAN WORKSHOP March 2016-2Families are often challenged with how much support their child may need after becoming an adult. It will depend on the person’s ability to make reasonable decisions about health, safety, and personal needs.

Those who may need a guardian or conservator include many different types of people such as:

  • a person with a developmental disability
  • a person who is mentally ill
  • a person who has experienced a stroke or a head injury which may have resulted in a mental disability
  • a person who has a disease such as Alzheimer’s which affects decision making ability

Want to learn more?   Please see the GUARDIAN WORKSHOP March 2016 for more information.

12th Annual Diversity Conference – March 18

diversity posterYou are invited to the 12th Annual Diversity Conference on Friday, March 18, 2016, from 8:45 AM – 4 PM at Indian Hills Community College Main Campus (Ottumwa).


Julissa Arce – “My (Underground) American Dream”

Julissa Arce is a writer, immigrant rights advocate, and author. At the age of 11, Julissa immigrated to America from Mexico and was undocumented for almost 15 years. Prior to becoming an advocate, she built a successful career on Wall Street, and made national and international headlines when she revealed that she had achieved the American Dream of wealth and status while undocumented. Having seemingly achieved the American Dream at that time, yet was not legally defined as an American, Julissa now shares her story about what it was like climbing the corporate ladder as both a Hispanic woman and an undocumented American. Through Julissa’s personal stories, the audience will gain a new perspective on what it means to achieve the “American dream.”

Clemencia Spizzirri, 2015 Iowa Teacher of the Year – “Creating a Culture of Achievement For All”

A native of Quito, the capital city of Ecuador, Clemencia Spizzirri began her teaching career in her home country before moving to the United States in 2003. As the 2015 Iowa Teacher of the Year, Clemencia was the first Latina to receive the Teacher of the Year honor in all of the United States. She now serves as an Ambassador of Education for the State of Iowa, and works on many educational initiatives across the state and the country. During Clemencia’s keynote, she will address the importance of creating a sustainable culture of achievement and understanding for all, inside and outside of the classroom.

You can register for the conference at The normal conference fee is $35 for all online registrations through 3/15/16; and $40 for registrations after 3/15/16. Student registration is $10. Lunch is also included, and is being catered by Market On Main.

Download a PDF copy: diversity poster

Governor’s 2016 Future Ready Iowa Summit – April 19

futureGov. Terry Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds recently announced that the Governor’s 2016 Future Ready Iowa Summit will be held on Tuesday, April 19, from 9:30 a.m. to 3:45 p.m., at Hy-Vee Hall in Des Moines:

The purpose of the summit is to elevate the statewide conversation about how to build on the work underway to close the skills gap. It’s critical to assure that more students and workers have the career opportunities they deserve, and that business and industry can hire the skilled employees they need. The keynote speaker for the summit is Andreas Schleicher, a global expert on education and skills at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Other featured speakers include Jamie Merisotis, president of the Lumina Foundation, Mary Andringa, chair of the board of Vermeer Corporation, and Byron Auguste, co-founder of Opportunity@Work. Students, educators, and business and labor leaders from across the state are among those who will serve on panels at the summit.

Video Contest
How could we encourage more young people to launch their careers in Iowa? That’s the question we’re asking students to answer in the Governor’s 2016 Future Ready Iowa Summit video contest. Prizes range from $1,000 for first place to $250 for fourth place. Learn more at

You can find the full agenda, the registration link, video contest rules and other information on the summit website: Registration is required for attendance.

GPAEA Schools in the News – February 2016

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.

The Cornerstone – February, 2016

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New Year – New Ideas! Join us February 18 for The Behavior Doctor

2016_Feb_behavior_doctor_flyer_jpeg_32836547A437FAre you working with parents who are struggling with their child’s behavior who could use new strategies to help at home?  We have just the workshop they may be looking for.

The Behavior Doctor is coming back!

GPAEA Parent Educator Connection will be hosting an evening for parents.  Educators are Community Service Providers are also welcome.

Thursday, February, 18, 2015
6:00 – 8:00 PM
with Question/Answer session to follow
Fairfield Arts & Convention Center, 200 N Main St, Fairfield, IA 52556

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Communicating and Collaborating With Feedback

Sue Kientz, GPAEA Instructional Technology Coach

I recently saw a summary of results from a survey McGraw-Hill Education conducted with college students. The report highlight:

The survey of more than 2,600 U.S. college students shows that students are embracing technology for its ability to help them learn more effectively through continual feedback”

digital-study-trends_infographic-fall-2015-final See full size image

This shouldn’t really be a surprise to educators.  We know students learn more when they are given feedback.  Within this article Peter Cohen, McGraw-Hill Education’s group president of U.S. Education, commented:

  • “Students today have an almost insatiable hunger for instant and continual feedback. By using technology to deliver learning experiences that leverage those motivations, we can capitalize on an enormous opportunity to improve learning outcomes.”
  • “Adaptive learning technology provides just that kind of actionable, real-time feedback, and does so in a way that’s incredibly personalized. It’s gratifying to see these technologies align so perfectly with college students’ own motivations.”

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Scale-Up with Spatial-Temporal Math

Lynn Selking, GPAEA Math Specialist

According to the STEM Scale-Up Program Menu for 2016-2017, “ST Math is game-based instructional software designed to boost math comprehension and proficiency through visual learning. Integrating with classroom instruction, ST Math incorporates the latest research in learning and the brain and promotes mastery-based learning and mathematical understanding. The ST Math software games use interactive, graphically-rich animations that visually represent mathematical concepts to improve conceptual understanding and problem-solving skills.”

What does it look like to do math through “visual learning?”  What does “graphically-rich” mean?  Does this mean a video game format with a lot colors and shapes moving about on the screen?  No.  In ST Math, there is a quite engaging penguin fellow named Ji Ji who is always trying to get somewhere.  The task of the student is to help JiJi get to where he needs to go.  The software uses no language to introduce or teach concepts. Instead, the game responds to user actions with instant feedback that is linked to both the mathematical concepts in mind and the mathematical implications  of the choice of the student.  Connected mathematical representations are what make learning visual and the graphics rich.


The image shows JiJi moving to where the student placed the balloon gondola.  If the gondola is placed correctly, JiJi will climb on board and sail up with the balloons.  If the gondola is not placed correctly, JiJi returns to zero and waits for the next attempt.

ST Math has been used in the Danville Community School District in Great Prairie AEA during the 2015-2016 school year. The students are enjoying the program.

2016-17 STEM Scale-Up Program Application Due March 1

Tami Plein and Rosemary Peck, GPAEA Science Specialists

Iowa STEM logoThe 2016-17 STEM Scale-Up Program Application is now open – deadline is March 1 at 5 PM.

As you consider applying for a Scale-Up program, remember Iowa has adopted NGSS Performance Expectations as grade specific K-8 and grade banded High School standards. While there are alignment documents that each program has submitted, you need to always be a critical consumer of all curricular materials. Our new Iowa Science Standards (NGSS) as still very new. Achieve and NSTA have said that nothing is 100% aligned with NGSS at this point in time.

Please spend some time familiarizing yourself with the conceptual and instructional shifts of the NGSS standards. Utilize the teachers/coaches in your district that have completed the State Science Standards Overview module and leverage their learning to help you determine the Scale-Up program’s alignment to our new state standards. Each program’s alignment document can be accessed by clicking on the Scale-Up program’s title from the Scale-Up Program Menu A one-page summary will open for that program and on that page will be a link to their alignment document.

A focus of state professional development next year will be the Science EQuIP rubric. This is a tool that will help educators evaluate lesson and unit alignment to our new standards. GPAEA Science Network 3 teachers have had some experience using the Science EQuIP rubric and can help guide alignment decisions. Curriculum work is always a work in progress and continued learning is needed for us to be able to implement these new standards.

’16-’17 Scale-Up Flyer

Lakeview Elementary Closes the Gap for Students in Special Education

Featured on – Centerville’s Lakeview Elementary has seen tremendous success in closing the Literacy achievement gap for all students, but especially those in special education. “When I think about where we were six years ago when we were first reviewing data in the SINA process and where we are now, I attribute that to support from the AEA and our staff’s willingness to redesign instruction,” says Principal Terri Schofield.

A suggestion from the AEA to include special education students into general classroom instruction and a change in grade-level team structure set the foundation for achievement. “With C4K and MTSS, we began to develop our tiers. Special education students have 90 minutes of reading instruction, Title 1 intervention (students recognized as scoring below FAST benchmark), and specially designed instruction,” she explains, “Teachers have changed teaching to meet the needs of the way kids learn!” Continue reading