Register for Para Educator Course I beginning April 5 in Burlington

Para Educator Course I: Facing New Challenges, Communication, Ethics, and Confidentiality 
This para educator course is the first in a series of three that will allow a person to become a certified classroom para-educator. The participant will need this course as a prerequisite to enroll in Para-Educator Course II.

Participants will develop skills and strategies to enhance communication and examine situations where professionalism, ethical standards, and confidentiality will guide the correct course of action when working with colleagues, students, parents, and others.

The course will look at stages of development, core curriculum, beliefs, biases and will have an online computer component.

Start Date: 4-5-18
Registration Link:
Please contact Michelle Dickey for more information at

GPAEA Earns 2017 Constant Contact All Star Award

All_Star_Winner_2017Great Prairie AEA has been named a 2017 All Star Award winner by Constant Contact, an Endurance International Group company and a leader in email marketing solutions. The annual award recognizes the most successful 10 percent of Constant Contact’s customer base, based on their significant achievements using email marketing to engage their customer base and drive results for their organization during the prior year.

Small businesses and nonprofits using Constant Contact’s email marketing tools are eligible for this award. Criteria used to select this year’s All Stars included the following during 2017:

  • Level of engagement with email campaigns
  • Open, bounce, and click-through rates
  • Use of social sharing features
  • Use of mailing list sign-up tools
  • Use of reporting tools

GPAEA uses Constant Contact to connect teachers, administrators, community leaders, and staff with educational news and updates via The Cornerstone, a monthly e-newsletter. Join the list at

The Cornerstone – March 2018


Enjoy this issue of The Cornerstone by clicking on an article below or scroll down to get started!

PBIS-IA Announces 2016-17 Recognition Awards

Untitled design (1)Congratulations to the 39 schools in Great Prairie AEA being honored for their PBIS implementation efforts for the 2016-17 school year (107 across the State)! 

To qualify for one of the six levels of recognition, schools were provided the opportunity to complete an application and submit evidence from May 15, 2017, through December 31, 2017. As part of the review process, PBIS Coordinators approve the award level based upon submitted products, student outcome data, and implementation fidelity data. The criteria for each level aligns with a stage of implementation, with criteria building from the planning stage of Emerging level through full implementation and sustaining, or the Paramount level.

Emerging Level
These schools completed training during 2016-17 school year and developed all of the products needed to begin implementation. They were ready to roll out their PBIS plan in the fall of 2017. The following Great Prairie AEA schools met criteria for the Emerging level:

  • Albia Middle (Albia)
  • Lincoln Center Elementary (Albia)
  • Centerville High School (Centerville)
  • Seymour Elementary (Seymour)
  • Tri-County Elementary (Tri-County)
  • Tri-County Jr/Sr HS (Tri-County)
  • Van Buren Jr/Sr HS (Van Buren)
  • Waco Elementary (Waco)
  • West Burlington Elementary (West Burlington)

Honor Level
Schools that earned the Honor level award have rolled out their PBIS plan to students, staff, and families. They have identified and taught behavioral expectations and implemented systems to develop a consistent response to appropriate and problem behaviors. The building team meets regularly and is using data to inform decisions. The following Great Prairie AEA schools met criteria for the Honor Level:

  • Central Lee Elementary (Central Lee)
  • Central Lee High (Central Lee)
  • Columbus Elementary (Chariton)
  • Clark Elementary (New London)
  • Douds Elementary (Van Buren)
  • Douma Elementary (Ottumwa)
  • Eisenhower Elementary (Ottumwa)
  • Horace Mann Elementary (Ottumwa)
  • Wilson Elementary (Ottumwa)
  • Grant Center Elementary (Albia)
  • Keokuk High (Keokuk)
  • Keota Elementary (Keota)
  • Harlan Elementary (Mt. Pleasant)
  • Mt. Pleasant Middle (Mt. Pleasant)
  • Mt. Pleasant High (Mt. Pleasant)
  • Salem Elementary (Mt. Pleasant)
  • Oskaloosa Middle (Oskaloosa)
  • Wapello Jr/Sr HS (Wapello)

Honor Plus Level
Honor Plus is awarded to schools that are implementing universal features with fidelity. Additionally, classroom systems and family/community involvement are included in their plan. These schools are developing Tier 2 systems and have defined a decision rule to identify students who may benefit from additional supports. The following Great Prairie AEA schools met criteria for the Honor Plus Level:

  • Central Lee Middle (Central Lee)
  • Danville Elementary (Danville)
  • Hawthorne Elementary (Keokuk)
  • Oskaloosa Elementary (Oskaloosa)
  • West Burlington Jr/Sr HS (West Burlington)

Banner Level
Banner schools are sustaining universal systems and practices. Students are accessing interventions such as Check in/Check out and 50% are responding positively to the support. The Tier 2 team engages families and staff; and uses a daily progress report to progress monitor student response to additional supports. The following Great Prairie AEA schools met criteria for the Banner Level:

  • Corse Elementary (Burlington)
  • James Wilson Grimes Elementary (Burlington)
  • North Mahaska Elementary (North Mahaska)
  • Pence Elementary (Fairfield)
  • Van Allen Elementary (Mount Pleasant)
  • Wapello Elementary (Wapello)
  • Washington Elementary (Fairfield)

Schools will receive banners and a letter of recognition in the van mail later this month. Congratulations – GPAEA is proud of you!

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Photos of Districts who have received their banner. Please send all photos to to be featured.

Building Bridges Assistive Technology Conference in Cedar Rapids – April 19

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.

Learn more and register at


Download PDF: BuildingBridges2018

Renewal Credit Opportunity: The Domino Effect Program – April 18


You are cordially invited to attend The Domino Effect Program on Wednesday, April 18, 2018. This program is brought to you via a partnership between the Iowa State Penitentiary for Men in Fort Madison, IA and Drake University. This NEW powerful program is designed to provide insight to those who serve at-risk populations.

Participants will explore risk factors and statistics around at-risk youth. Furthermore, participants will have the opportunity to hear first-hand from incarcerated men who can testify to successful and unsuccessful interventions adults attempted while they were in school. Participants will also identify data related to their own school or organization around college readiness and post-graduate success.

There is a non-refundable $35 fee to register for this course. The deadline to register is April 9.

Register by clicking on the below link:

Offered by a partnership with Drake University.

Substitute Authorization Course Offered in Centerville – Begins March 26

sub auth pic

Register today for the Substitute Authorization (PK-12) class starting in Centerville on March 26 at

A substitute authorization allows an individual who holds a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited institution to substitute in an elementary, middle school, junior high school, or high school (grades PK -12) for no more than five consecutive days in one job assignment. An individual who holds a Para educator certificate and completes the substitute authorization program is authorized to substitute only in the special education classroom in which the individual Para educator is employed.

The course is designed to enable participants to become competent in the skills necessary to successfully substitute in Iowa’s secondary classrooms. These skills include classroom management, strategies for learning, diversity, and ethics. 14.143(3) The substitute authorization must be renewed every 5 years. Renewal requirements for the substitute authorization consist of a minimum of two renewal units equivalent to 30 clock hours and completion of an approved child and dependent adult abuse training program approved by the state abuse education review panel. Please refer to the requirements for Substitute Authorization from Iowa Code: 282_14.143(1)-(3) for the complete explanation of the requirements for substitute authorization.

Payment of $130.00 is due 1 week prior to course start date. And must be sent to: Shannon Johnson at 3601 West Avenue, Burlington IA 52601. Background check fee of $75.00 and a $85 licensure fee (good for 5 years) is due when you have completed and is to be sent with application to the BOEE. $25 fee for Mandatory Reporter training certificate.

Applications sought for the next Iowa Teacher of the Year

iowa de logoDES MOINES – Applications are being accepted for the 2019 Iowa Teacher of the Year. The deadline to nominate is April 27.

The award is an opportunity to recognize an exceptional Iowa teacher who is helping to redefine education. Nominations will be accepted from anyone, including students, parents, school administrators, colleagues, college faculty members, and associations.

The Iowa Teacher of the Year award was established in 1958. The annual program is sponsored by the Iowa Department of Education through an appropriation from the Iowa Legislature. Winners are chosen by a committee that includes representatives of the Iowa Department of Education, the Iowa State Education Association, the School Administrators of Iowa, the Parent Teachers Association, the Area Education Agencies, the Iowa Association of School Boards, the Iowa Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, and the current Iowa Teacher of the Year.

The Teacher of the Year serves as an ambassador to education and as a liaison to primary and secondary schools, higher education, and organizations across the state.

Aileen Sullivan of the Ames Community School District was named the 2018 Teacher of the Year.

Celebrate National School Social Work Week – March 4 – 10

486e55_cd6a067713bf41ff973c1bf683c9abab_mv2School social workers confront some of the most challenging issues facing students and their families. National School Social Work Week is always celebrated the first full week in March, and we wish to acknowledge and thank our team of dedicated school social workers! Thank you for all that you do for GPAEA and area students and families!