Four GPAEA Districts Awarded STEM BEST®: Burlington, Central Lee, Fort Madison, & Keokuk

Congratulations to these STEM BEST® GPAEA Districts: BCSD Burlington Community School District, Central Lee Community School District, Fort Madison Community School District, & Keokuk Community School District

Release from Southeast Iowa STEM Region on 2-24-22:

Congratulations to these 10 school districts and their business/community partners in the SE Iowa STEM Region that received an award for the STEM BEST® H.D. (High Demand) Program! 🎉

The STEM BEST® H.D. Program is the result of a special appropriation from the Iowa legislature to expand the STEM BEST® (Businesses Engaging Student and Teachers) Program to focus efforts on job sectors that are in high demand (computer science/information technology, healthcare professions, and advanced manufacturing). It will help build partnerships between schools and businesses, allowing educators and industry professionals to work together to develop curriculum and projects that prepare students for careers in these high-demand fields.

🌟BCSD Burlington Community School District

🌟Bettendorf Community School District

🌟Central Lee Community School District

🌟Davenport Community Schools – Davenport Central

🌟 Davenport Community Schools – Davenport North High School

🌟 Davenport Community Schools – Davenport West High School

🌟Fort Madison Community School District

🌟Keokuk Community School District

🌟Linn-Mar Community Schools

🌟 Mount Vernon Community School District

🌟 Northeast Community School District

🌟Pleasant Valley Community School District

For more information about the STEM BEST® H.D. Program, please visit:

NEW Summer Courses Released for CTE Teachers

We are excited to announce that Southeastern Community College is hosting blended, renewal credit courses for CTE teachers this summer at the West Burlington campus.

#202666 GP – Transportation for CTE Teachers 2022: Geared specifically for junior high and high school CTE teachers, this course contains 1 module of Auto Technology (Advanced Driving Assistance Systems), one module of Auto Collision (Water Paint) and one module of Welding (TBD). Each module consists of 5 hours: 1 hour online and 4 hours in the classroom on SCC’s West Burlington campus.

In Person Meeting Times

Monday, June 06, 202208:00:00 AM – 12:00:00 PM
Tuesday, June 07, 202208:00:00 AM – 12:00:00 PM
Wednesday, June 08, 202208:00:00 AM – 12:00:00 PM

#203191 GP – Applied Science Tech for CTE Teachers 2022: Geared specifically for junior high and high school CTE teachers, this course contains 1 module of Precision Machining (Machining Set Up), one module of CAD (Geometric Dimensioning and Tolerancing) and one module of Electrical (TBD). Each module consists of 5 hours: 1 hour online and 4 hours in the classroom on SCC’s West Burlington campus.

In Person Meeting Times

Monday, June 06, 202208:00:00 AM – 12:00:00 PM
Tuesday, June 07, 202208:00:00 AM – 12:00:00 PM
Wednesday, June 08, 202208:00:00 AM – 12:00:00 PM

#203190 GP – Construction/Carpentry for CTE Teachers 2022: Geared specifically for junior high and high school CTE teachers, this course contains 1 module of Construction (Heavy Equipment), one module of CAD (Geometric Dimensioning and Tolerancing) and one module of Welding (TBD). Each module consists of 5 hours: 1 hour online and 4 hours in the classroom on SCC’s West Burlington campus.

In Person Meeting Times

Monday, June 06, 202208:00:00 AM – 12:00:00 PM
Tuesday, June 07, 202208:00:00 AM – 12:00:00 PM
Wednesday, June 08, 202208:00:00 AM – 12:00:00 PM

FY21 Child Development Coordinating Council Annual Legislative Report

The FY21 Child Development Coordinating Council Annual Legislative Report is now available on the Iowa Department of Education’s website. This report offers an overview of Shared Visions Programming in FY21 (2020-2021) and outlines the future recommendations of the Child Development Coordinating Council (Council). 

As required by Iowa Code section 256A, the Council was established to advise the Department of Education regarding the administration and implementation of state-funded programs serving children ages birth to five and their families who meet identified risk factors. Funding appropriated per Iowa Code section 279.51 must be used by the Council to award grants for programs that provide services to families and children meeting the identified risk factors. The impact of these grants in FY21 has been summarized in the above report.

Register for Substitute Authorization beginning March 4 in Keokuk

Click here to Register

Face-To-Face Substitute Authorization Starting March 4th in Keokuk!

#160422 GP – Substitute Authorization Grades Pk-12

This face-to-face 20-hour course is designed to enable participants to become competent in the skills necessary to successfully substitute in Iowa’s elementary and secondary classrooms. These skills include classroom management, strategies for learning, diversity, and ethics. 14.143(3) The substitute authorization certification must be renewed every five years.

Face to Face Meeting Times

Friday, March 04, 202204:00:00 PM – 09:00:00 PM
Friday, March 18, 202204:00:00 PM – 09:00:00 PM
Saturday, March 19, 202212:30:00 PM – 05:30:00 PM
Sunday, March 20, 202212:30:00 PM – 05:30:00 PM

Free 1-hour Dyslexia Training for Teachers & Preservice Candidates on March 31

J O I N U S F O R S E S S I O N # 2 

Register at

The SE Iowa Dyslexia Teacher/Preservice Group will be hosting a FREE 1-hour learning opportunity for teachers and preservice candidates on Thursday, March 31st, 2022. We will be meeting via Zoom in order to share information, serve as a resource, and support fellow educators. The field of education is ever-evolving. We want to provide you with updated information, opportunities to increase understanding, and strategies you can take back to the classroom.

Date: Thursday, March 31st
Time: 4:00 – 5:00PM

A zoom link will be sent to the email address you provide below prior to March 31st.

The Cornerstone – February 2022

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In honor of Random Acts of Kindness Week, consider spotlighting your students giving back! Email for more information.

WMU Students Create “Caring Baskets” for local Nursing & Rehabilitation Center

Mrs. Millers 4/5 Class

Mrs. Miller’s 4/5 class heard that the Sunrise Terrace Nursing and Rehabilitation Center was going through some hard times. The students brainstormed some ideas to help the residents get through this time of year and the current struggles they face. They decided to create “Caring Baskets”!

Students created paper flowers and cards of encouragement (enough for each resident) and put them with the other items. Some of the items include post-it notes, writing utensils, tissues, and lotions. Parents, teachers, and Mrs. Miller came up with supplies and the students put the care packages together.

Empathy, kindness, and community support are a few of the words that explain the actions of this WMU class. Thank you for caring for others.

Email for more information.

New 2022-2023 Scale-Up Application OPEN!

Since 2011, the Iowa STEM Council has vetted high-quality STEM programs available to Iowa educators in formal and informal education settings. The 2022-23 Scale-Up Program menu has been released, and educators can apply now thru February 28. The Scale-Up Program menu ranges from coding programs to integrated mathematics, agriculture projects, STEM career exploration, and more.

Common Questions:

Who can apply?

PreK-12 cross-curricular educators, both in and out of the classroom, are eligible to apply. Eligible applicant(s) include public and private school PreK-12 teachers, youth organization leaders, informal education professionals, home school associations, and others who deliver STEM education programming. The lead applicant may also be an administrator applying on behalf of an educator or a group of educators.

Can multiple educators be listed in an application?

Yes. For example, if three fourth-grade teachers from the same building are interested in applying for a program, all of the educators can be listed within one application.

I would like to apply, but we have not hired an educator who would teach the program.

No worries. The application allows you to put a “placeholder” in your application. Before implementing the program, however, the placeholder will need to be replaced with an actual educator.

Can I apply for multiple school buildings in one application?

For districts interested in applying for multiple buildings, each building will need to have its own application, but within the application portal, applications can be copied to make the process of applying for buildings across a district easier.  

I work with children in an afterschool program. Can I apply?

Yes, educators from out-of-school programs benefit greatly from these programs. The summaries listed below identify which programs are best suited for an out-of-school setting.

What do the programs provide?

Each program provides professional development and materials to implement the program. Some programs also provide an educator stipend, lodging, and/or meals. More information about what is provided for each program can be found by clicking on the program title.

For more information about the process or the program menu, contact Matt Stier


Gov. Reynolds, Iowa DE Award Over $150,000 to School Districts to Explore Expansion of Blending Child Care, Early Learning Programs

Congratulations to the following GPAEA Districts: Centerville, Fort Madison, & Keokuk!

Iowa DE logo

Last week Gov. Kim Reynolds and the Iowa Department of Education awarded 16 competitive planning grants, up to $10,000 each, to public school districts to explore the development of blending child care and quality early learning programs in their communities. 

The Blended Early Learning in Educational Foundations (BELIEF) grants will support school districts working with community partners in developing plans to start evidence-based, customized early child care and preschool programs for children under the age of five. The grants can be used to cover costs associated with training and planning, such as travel expenses, communication and outreach services, transportation costs associated with multiple service locations as well as the cost of substitute teachers, so team members can attend training and planning sessions.

“Introducing our children to innovative early learning opportunities will better prepare them for the transition to school while providing the support their parents need to enter and remain in the workforce,” said Gov. Reynolds. “Expanding child care access and quality is one of my top priorities and I commend these school districts for working together with the private sector to pursue it in their communities.” 

The 16 districts awarded a one-time BELIEF grant include:

  • Centerville Community School District
  • College Community School District
  • Davenport Community School District
  • Dubuque Community School District
  • Essex Community School District
  • Fort Madison Community School District
  • GMG Community School District
  • Hamburg Community School District
  • Keokuk Community School District
  • Marcus-Meriden-Cleghorn Community School District
  • Pleasantville Community School District
  • Prairie City Monroe Community School District
  • Rudd-Rockford-Marble Rock Community School District
  • Shenandoah Community School District
  • Union Community School District
  • Woodbine Community School District

“High-quality child care and preschool programs help our youngest learners develop learning and social-emotional competencies that prepare them for success as they continue in school,” said Ann Lebo, director of the Iowa Department of Education. “I commend these schools and their community partners for working together to grow and strengthen blended child care and early learning opportunities to support the needs of Iowa families.”

The BELIEF grants are supported by the Iowa Department of Education’s portion of funds received through the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act of 2021’s Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER III or ARP ESSER). State education agencies were granted a share of discretionary dollars to address critical needs resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. 

In determining awards, priority consideration was given to applicant districts that provided clear evidence to plan and partner with one or more private partners on a model tailored to meet the needs of their communities and youngest learners.  

Applications for a second round of awards will open later this spring. More information is available on the Iowa Department of Education’s website.

Register now for the GPAEA Regional Counselor Conference on March 3 at IHCC


This Conference provides opportunities for networking and professional development
for K-12 counselors and interested administrators in the Great Prairie AEA region.

Registration is FREE and lunch will be provided.

The deadline for registration is Monday, February 28, 2022
Register at (#310346 Indian Hills Comm College Mar 3 2022)

Click here to download PDF.

Future Ready Spotlight (February): Jill Thompson, Business Educator, Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont

Laura Williams, 21C Consultant, & Amanda Brink, Instructional Technology & Future Ready Consultant

This month’s Future Ready Spotlight, lands on Jill Thompson, a business educator at Eddyville-Blakesburg- Fremont Jr/Sr High School. We visited with Jill to learn firsthand about an incredibly authentic learning experience for students with the launch of their new Rocket Fuel Cafe! Check out this totally student-run business via their Facebook page: Students are having fun coming up with social media and marketing, as well as learning how to be real baristas! Not to mention, the business principles that go hand in hand with running your own business, from inventory to pricing, supply, and demand! Students even had to figure out logistics in accessing their inventory from a local distributor here in Iowa.  Currently, there are over 20 students involved (and more signing up every day) in operating the coffee shop. To include baristas, social media manager, marketing manager, inventory manager, students that stock, clean, and prep after each shift. We even have a student that created a book that included the recipe of each drink and its nutritional values. 

Indeed students are developing skills that will last them beyond school while running and managing a cafe that’s located in Jill’s classroom. Imagine having a real-life “business laboratory” right there in your classroom. It’s hard to get more authentic than that! Jill is very passionate about making learning authentic and relevant for students and she is not afraid to jump in and build the airplane as they fly it. It is clear that it takes passion and enthusiasm to help facilitate these kinds of experiences for students. In visiting with Jill, you couldn’t help but feel inspired as you immediately feel like you want to be part of the excitement. 

Students are looking towards expanding and incorporating a website and online ordering system to build on this student-led business! Currently, they run a square purchasing system and are looking into drive-up orders and catering to the elementary school. This opportunity reaps other authentic experiences for students as the FCCLA students are preparing foods to be sold at the cafe. Also, connections to the school’s shop class can be seen in the image below as the coffee shop station was built in collaboration by repurposing an old table and lining it with tin. Very cool!

For all these reasons and more, Jill Thompson is our February Future Ready Spotlight! To learn more or connect with Jill, email her at

Students reflecting on their experience at the rocket fuel cafe! 

Want to share your future-ready story? Connect with or Amanda Brink

Onward: Cultivating Emotional Resilience In Educators! Register now for this virtual conference held on February 19 & March 5

#201503 GP – Onward: Cultivating Emotional Resilience In Educators (Blazic)

Learners will collaborate with peers, reflect on current practices, and add strategies to boost their emotional resiliency.  This course will give learners the opportunity to also reflect on system-wide practices and utilize strategies to cultivate emotional resilience and build students’ social and emotional skills. 

Register for the Domino Effect Course! March 28-April 24

The Domino Effect online course provides intervention strategies and understanding to those who work with at-risk youth. Course participants will hear first-hand accounts from a mental health expert about supporting students with mental and emotional health concerns. Course participants will also listen to previously incarcerated men and women who speak to their experiences in school and what led them to prison.

Spring Offering Information

Course Dates: March 28 – April 24, 2022
Registration Deadline: March 28, 2022
Graduate Credit: One semester hour
Cost: $220.00 
Professor: Dr. Trent Grundmeyer, Drake University
Click Here to Register!
Drake University School of Education 2507 University Avenue, Des Moines, Iowa 50311
T 1-800-76-TEACH    W

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.