We couldn’t let Social Work Month squeak past without a shout out to our school social workers who confront some of the most challenging issues facing students and their families. March is National Social Work Month and we wish to acknowledge and thank our team of dedicated school social workers! Learn more at http://www.gpaea.org/en/services/school_social_work/.
Inside Lindsay Miller’s North Mahaska classroom students receive small group specially designed instruction (SDI) tailored to the unique needs of each child. “We’ve noticed an increase in student achievement and also in student’s rate of progress since we started the SDI project,” Miller comments. “Its nice to see some of our students actually make that ambitious growth!”
Iowa’s SDI program works for learners of all kinds by focusing on literacy in five strands of work: Pre-K, K-6, Learners with Significant Disabilities, Assistive Technology, Family School Partnerships. The framework is the result of multiple years of work from the Area Education Agency Directors of Special Education, the Iowa Department of Education, and 150 other members of the Iowa educational system.
“We’ve had a lot of support from the AEA throughout the SDI project.” Great Prairie AEA staff provide large group professional development to teachers of students with IEPs in Grades 3-5, as well as on-site support which includes demonstration of lessons, observation of teachers, coaching, data collection and data analysis of Universal Screening, Progress Monitoring, and Iowa Assessments.
Special thanks and shoutout to the following GPAEA Staff who have helped North Mahaska find success with SDI:
- Lynn Hodgeman, Special Education Consultant
- Jaci Jarmes, Special Education Consultant
- Jim Cope, Regional Director
- Dr. Angelisa Fynaardt, Associate Administrator
- Mike Stiemsma, School Improvement Consultant
Also, thank you to Lindsay Miller and North Mahaska for your leadership and all that you do to help students achieve.
Iowa’s Deafblind Services Project will host a summer workshop at the Radisson Hotel and Conference Center in Coralville, Iowa on June 8-9, 2017. Topics include transition for youth to adult programs, early childhood, deafblind basics and communication. The workshop will include a family and youth panel to discuss successes and challenges in school, home and community. Learn more at http://www.iowadeafblind.org/summer/
Download PDF: DB Summer Workshop Flyer (2)
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.
- Danville & New London – Danville, New London will offer initiative-based learning program
- Fort Madison – New STEM BEST Partners Awarded in SE Iowa
- Centerville – Game-Changer: Successfully Ramping Up Literacy Efforts
- Davis County – When children don’t look forward to the summer break…
- Keokuk – Engaging creative minds
- Keokuk Catholic – Longtime Keokuk Catholic School Teacher Awarded Golden Apple
- Keokuk – A ‘growing’ opportunity in Keokuk
- Davis County & Keokuk – School Leader Update
Post updated throughout the month. Did we miss something? Send your school news to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
GPAEA Instructional Technology Specialist Lisa Jacobs collaborated with Ottumwa Math Teacher Brooke Gevock to create a Geometry Breakout for a group of 9th and 10th graders. In Breakout games, players work collaboratively to solve a series of critical thinking puzzles in order to open a locked box. Students appreciated the fact that they used multiple resources to solve the clues and that team member was able to contribute and participate.
The “Building Bridges: Assistive Technology Conference” will provide an opportunity to see first-hand the latest in assistive technologies (AT), practices, and services for school-age students with disabilities. This AT conference will serve as a unique opportunity for area professionals, parents, administrators and service providers to exchange and gather information on the current status and consideration of assistive technology tools.
The sessions presented at the “Building Bridges” Assistive Technology Conference are divided into three main focus areas, which include:
- Accessible Content & Technologies
- Augmentative and Alternative Communication
- AT & Mobile Devices
Board President Vicki Stephenson said the board’s support of “The Promise of Iowa” campaign is an important step in raising awareness statewide about the value of public education in shaping the next generation of Iowa leaders, workers, and citizens.
The “Promise” campaign is being coordinated statewide by the Iowa Association of School Boards, a nonprofit organization representing the more than 1900 Iowa citizens serving on locally elected school boards. For more information, visit “The Promise of Iowa”
There is no Van Delivery this week, March 20-24, due to Spring Break. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
There will also be no service:
- Easter Monday – April 17, 2017
- Memorial Day – May 29, 2017
Last Delivery for Schools: the week of May 15-18, 2017
Last Pickup for Schools: the week of May 22-25, 2017
Check our Course Catalog for updates and more PD opportunities at http://www.gpaea.org/en/professional_development/gpaea_pd_course_catalog/.
- Iowa Alternate Assessment: Dynamic Learning Maps (3rd-11th grade) Specially Designed Instructional Techniques – Ottumwa
- Iowa Alternate Assessment: Dynamic Learning Maps (3rd-11th grade) Specially Designed Instructional Techniques -Burlington
- Iowa Alternate Assessment: Early Literacy Alternate Assessment (Grade Kindergarten-3rd Grade) Evidence and Scale Support Workshop – Burlington
- Iowa Alternate Assessment: Early Literacy Alternate Assessment (Grade Kindergarten-3rd Grade) Evidence and Scale Support Workshop – Ottumwa
- Focus on Teaching: Using Video for High Impact Instruction – FAIRFIELD
- Youth Mental Health First Aid (YMHFA) – OTTUMWA
A huge thank you to everyone who helped make the Assistive Technology a success in both Burlington & Ottumwa! Learn more about AT services from GPAEA at http://www.gpaea.org/en/services/assistive_technology/.
Click here to view original release from the Iowa Department of Education.
New brief shows more students on track to be proficient readers by the end of third grade
DES MOINES – A statewide effort by Iowa schools to catch and correct reading problems in students early on is showing progress, according to a new policy brief released today by the Iowa Department of Education.
Nearly 9,000 students in kindergarten through third grade who had fallen short of benchmarks in reading in the fall of 2015 met or surpassed benchmarks by the spring of 2016, an increase of 4.2 percentage points. Increases in the highest-growth school districts ranged from 19.5 to 32.2 percentage points.
Iowa Department of Education leaders today announced the results of the policy brief and celebrated the growth and progress in early literacy statewide. They were joined by Jane Lindaman, superintendent of the Waterloo Community School District, Tynne Sulser, a third-grade teacher in the Centerville Community School District, and Mark Crady, who represented Iowa’s area education agencies.
“Iowa’s schools are focused on preparing students for success in high school and beyond, and that success begins with developing strong reading skills,” Iowa Department of Education Director Ryan Wise said. “These findings show Iowa schools are making strides in their work to ensure all students are proficient readers by the end of third grade. This type of steady growth over time will translate into thousands of students getting on track in reading.”
While the ability to read is important at all levels, research shows third grade is an important gateway grade, when children transition from “learning to read” and begin “reading to learn.” Early reading difficulties have been linked to long-term consequences, such as dropping out of school.
Iowa’s reading scores on state and national assessments have stagnated for years, and nearly one in four third-grade students is not proficient in reading.
The Iowa Legislature passed a law in 2012 that focuses on making sure all students are reading at grade level by the end of third grade. A key part of the law is an early warning system to help educators identify and intervene with students in kindergarten through third grade who are at risk for reading failure. Through the system, schools screen students in kindergarten through third grade three times a year – fall, winter and spring – to identify children at risk, to provide additional reading instruction and to monitor their progress.
Iowa’s early warning system was implemented through a partnership between the Iowa Department of Education, area education agencies, and school districts.
Of 398 public school districts and nonpublic schools using the early warning system, 60.8 percent (242) saw an increase in the percentage of students in kindergarten through third grade at or above benchmark from fall 2015 to spring 2016. Fifty-three school districts showed double-digit percentage increases in results from fall to spring.
Of Iowa’s urban school districts, the Waterloo Community School District demonstrated the largest growth, with a 14.6 percentage-point increase from fall 2015 to spring 2016.
“We are now better equipped than at any point in time to identify which students are on track and which ones aren’t, and we have tools to spring into action with instruction that works,” Lindaman said. “Knowledge is power, and when we know what students need, we are much more effective at providing the right interventions.”
The growth and progress from Iowa’s screening assessments are expected to translate to large-scale standardized tests in reading, such as the state assessment or the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), once all students have taken them.
Only about a quarter of students who have been screened through the early warning system have also taken the state assessment, which is administered to students for the first time in third grade. NAEP is taken for the first time in fourth grade.
For more information about Iowa’s early literacy law, visit the Iowa Department of Education’s website.
Ellie Hamilton, Assistive Technology Specialist
Wendy is a third grader at Davis County Elementary school in Bloomfield Iowa. Wendy is Amish. She has Cerebral Palsy (CP) and is in a wheelchair. Cerebral Palsy is a disorder of movement, muscle tone or posture that is caused by damage that occurs to the immature, developing brain, most often before birth (Mayo Clinic, 2016).
What AT Equipment is being used:
Wendy is using a clock communicator where words are attached and Wendy can choose a word using the Gooseneck wobble switch. The Davis County team completed the SETT (student, environment, tasks, & tools) form. Next, they did a trial with the the clock communicator and gooseneck wobble switch by borrowing the items from the AEA Media Center. The team took data and determined the items were a good fit for Wendy.
After documenting the assistive technology items for Wendy on the IEP (individualized education plan) on tab B and tab F (AT IEP Guidance from the procedures manual ), the Davis County School District purchased two clock communicators and one wobble switch for her. One clock communicator stays downstairs in the special education setting and the other stays upstairs in the general education setting. Wendy uses both her hand and her head to activate the wobble switch. She decides which works best for her when she is using the clock communicator and wobble switch.
Wendy is also using the Alternative pencil. Her special education teacher uses this resource to complete the requirements for ELI (Early Literacy Implementation). Wendy needed a tool with access to all twenty-six letters of the alphabet and for alternate assessment. The Alternative pencil assists Wendy to have access to the letters to begin spelling and writing words. She can identify her written name and knows all of her letters and letter sounds.
What was she doing before?
Wendy was using an informal eye gaze with two choices before trying new assistive technology tools. Her paraeducator and teachers held up two cards and she would make a choice with her eyes. The team notes this method was faster than waiting for her to activate her switch.
When she uses the switch Wendy is more motivated, independent, and has more than two choices. Only having two choices limited Wendy academically and with her peers.
Now Wendy can sequence, make more than one choice at a time, participate, and interact with her peers. Wendy has demonstrated her assistive technology tools for her classmates so they know how to communicate with her.
Thank you to Wendy’s dedicated team!
- Mrs. Charlotte Followwill, Special Educator
- Mrs. Taylor and Mrs. Thompson, Regular Education Teachers
Support Staff: Therese Sharp, para-educator
- Joe Hudson, Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant
- Marty Hudson, Occupational Therapist
- Christine Reigel, Speech-Language Pathologist
Tammy Greiner, Speech-Language Pathology Assistant
- Amanda Steinbach, Physical Therapist
- Melissa Grooms, Physical Therapy Assistant
- Robin Larrington, Special Education Consultant
- Kibben Rumohr, School Social Worker
Register now for one of the many Professional Development Opportunities from GPAEA. View all in our Course Catalog.
- Opening Doors for All Students – BURLINGTON
- Nonviolent Crisis Intervention Training – OTTUMWA
- Nonviolent Crisis Intervention Training – BURLINGTON
- Teaching with Chromebooks – Blended Model – NEW LONDON
- Youth Mental Health First Aid (YMHFA) – OTTUMWA
- PBIS SAIG Workshop – Burlington
- Wheel Thrown Pottery I – BENTONSPORT
- Check & Connect 1 Day Mentoring Workshop – FAIRFIELD
- Check and Connect: A Comprehensive Student Engagement Intervention – BURLINGTON
- Social Media and You – BURLINGTON
- Mathematical Fluency for Elementary Teachers – KEOKUK
- Teaching Students with Dyslexia and Dysgraphia – BURLINGTON
- Teaching Students with Dyslexia and Dysgraphia – OTTUMWA
Download PDF: Save the Date SI 2017 – Steve C