Activities to Gain Independence

Thank you to everyone who attended and participated in Activities to Gain Independence at Van Allen Elementary school in Mount Pleasant presented by Kim Karwal from Easter Seals of Iowa on May 2.

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Do you like what you see? All of the items in the virtual tour and more are available through Easter Seals Iowa Assistive Technology Center. Easter Seals has an Assistive Technology lending library and a demonstration center.

Contact: Kim Karwal
Rural Solutiona and At Center Coordinator
Easter Seals Iowa | 401 NE 66th Avenue | Des Moines, Iowa 50313
P: 515.309.2394 | TTY: 515.289.4069 |  F: 515.289.1281
kkarwal@eastersealsia.org | www.eastersealsia.org

May is School Board Recognition Month

Our Agency Board of Directors and the Board members of the local school districts in our Area volunteer countless hours of their time each year to serve their communities and schools. Please consider thanking the school and AEA Board members that you know throughout our Area. Click here to learn more about the Great Prairie AEA Board.

A special THANK YOU to our Great Prairie AEA Board of Directors:

GPAEA Students have Success at State STEM Competitions

Tami Plein, Science Specialist

Every year, students from southeast Iowa demonstrate high levels of achievement at state and regional STEM competitions! These competitions provide students with the opportunity to experience an authentic problem-solving situation while applying skills and concepts from multiple disciplines; science, engineering, ELA and math. For example, in a science fair project, students demonstrate and practice the ELA standards related to writing a literature review, preparing a research paper, designing the display board and orally presenting their findings to various judges and audiences. They also create spreadsheets and analyze data using algebra and statistics. All use technology to gather, organize, analyze, design, and/or present their findings. For more information contact Tami Plein at GPAEA or use the links after each section below.

Iowa Physics Competition

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Congratulations to our GPAEA schools Moravia, Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont, and Ottumwa on their successes at the State Physics Competition at UNI on April 11!

Moravia placed 5th overall in the teams.  The Soda Straw Arm team of Colton R and Zane B brought home the first place medal.  Zane also teamed with Tyler F and placed 3rd in the Catapult.  Moravia is coached by Jewell Rockhold and her school team placed first overall in the GPAEA Regional Competition held last month.

The Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont Mousetrap car team of Claire Jager and Haegen Boyer placed 3rd. EBF is coached by Kristen Birchard and her school team placed second overall in the regional competition. Ottumwa’s Jade Turner placed 3rd in Soda Straw Arm.  Jade and Saelim Butler placed 1st in this event at the regional competition.  They are coached by Theodore Westhues.

https://www.physics.uni.edu/outreach/uni-physics-olympics

State and Regional Science Fairs
Every year SE Iowa is heavily represented at these competitions. Over 200 students from Burlington, Central Lee, Danville, Fort Madison, Holy Trinity, Keota, Keokuk, Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont, Maharishi SAE, Pekin, Van Buren, and Winfield-Mount Union participated in these fairs, earning thousands of dollars in scholarships, trips, awards and prizes. This year seven GPAEA students representing four districts will be heading to Los Angles for the International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) in May!

Aaron W, Central Lee High School, is one of the Eastern Iowa Science and Engineering Senior Champions. This is a regional fair held in Cedar Rapids every April. His research, “Engineered Environmental Containment: Using Lemna minor L. to Reduce Nitrate Levels in Aquatic Environments” focused on engineering an aquatic containment system that is able to contain a duckweed. He then investigated using the duckweed to reduce the nitrate and phosphate levels in aquatic environments. Aaron and his adult sponsor, Alicia Schiller-Haynes won all-expense paid trips to Los Angeles to compete at ISEF along with scholarships and awards.

EISEF Junior Champions Serenity H and Claire W, Central Lee Middle School, will also travel to Los Angeles as observers along their adult sponsor, Nadine Weirather. While student observers do not present their research at the international fair, they have the opportunity to participate in hands-on STEM challenges, as well as participate in activities that help them to better communicate and expand on their research, and volunteer for the Education Outreach Program.

Two Burlington High School students and their sponsor, Elizabeth S, also earned all-expense paid trips to ISEF from the State Science and Technology Fair of Iowa (SSTFI) held in Ames. Vidya M, State Champion, presentedA Novel 3-D Engineered Solution for Congenital Microtia of the Ear”. Vidya’s project involved using 3-D engineering to form an artificial ear and canal and then testing the ability of it to transmit sound using a sound probe to detect the sound.

Alexandra Z(Grand Honorable Mention winner) researched how to increase the efficiency of a nasal epinephrine delivery system through the usage of pretreatments such as ethanol or propylene glycol in her project “Increasing the Efficiency of a Nasal Epinephrine Delivery System”.

SSTFI also sends student observers to ISEF in Los Angeles. Joining the Iowa contingent listed above are Kamryn B, Van Buren High School (Amanda Schiller, sponsor) and Jarrod K, Keota High School (Jenny Hobbs, sponsor).

Eastern Iowa Science and Engineering Fair: http://www.eisef.org/
State Science and Technology Fair of Iowa: http://www.extension.iastate.edu/sstfi/

The World Food Prize Competition

Over 300 Iowa students attended the sixth annual World Food Prize Iowa Youth Institute held at Iowa State University on April 24th. For this competition, students write a 3 to 5 page paper about an area of the world, what’s happening in the area of the world, and a solution to that problem. Students from Burlington, Cardinal, Chariton, Danville, Davis County, Fairfield, Keokuk, Keota, Mediapolis, Mt Pleasant, Oskaloosa, and Wayne attended the Youth Institute.  Students spent the day networking with peers, research and industry experts to discuss solutions to global hunger and poverty. They also participated in interactive activities on the ISU campus to explore research and work currently taking place in Iowa to address global challenges.  In May, seventy-five students will be selected to attend the Global Institute to be held in the fall. These students will have the opportunity to interact with Nobel and World Food Prize Laureates and discuss pressing food security and agricultural issues with international experts during the 3-day event in October.  The institute emphasizes the importance and opportunities in STEM careers

https://www.worldfoodprize.org/en/youth_programs/global_youth_institute/iowa/?nodeID=87662&

Celebrate Better Hearing and Speech Month!

May is “Better Hearing and Speech Month” and we invite you to learn more about services and supports available from Great Prairie AEA.

HEARING/AUDIOLOGY SERVICES
Hearing services at Great Prairie AEA include screenings for young children and direct services for students who have been identified as deaf or hard of hearing. Learn more at http://goo.gl/4bnNxK.

Shoutout to GPAEA’s Hearing/Audiology Team! Thank you for all that you do for the children and families of southeast Iowa.

GPAEA Audiologists

  • Joe Hanks
  • Sandy Lee
  • Sarah Titman
  • Susan Pickford

GPAEA Audiometrists

  • Lorie Baker
  • Kari Reichter
  • Debbie Reiter
  • Melissa Stringer

GPAEA Teachers of the Deaf & Hard of Hearing

  • Marcy Clausen
  • Michelle Mathews
  • Toni Welch
  • Mary Witting

SPEECH-LANGUAGE PATHOLOGY SERVICES
Great Prairie AEA Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs) work with children, birth to 21, who have a variety of communication needs. Most of these needs fall into the areas of articulation, language, voice, fluency, and early literacy. Learn more at http://goo.gl/cKPW33.

Shoutout to GPAEA’s Speech-Language Team! Thank you for all that you do for the children and families of southeast Iowa.

GPAEA Speech-Language Pathologists

  • Kelly Asperheim
  • Verla Barker
  • Christine Bergan
  • Emily Borrison
  • Stephanie Chalupa
  • Erin Crawford
  • Abby Denning
  • Sydney Dick
  • Morgan Dickey
  • Holly Drury
  • Sandra Durand
  • Lora Eddleman
  • Erika Freeman
  • Dee Gerot
  • Marilyn Goertel-Breen
  • Abby Golden
  • Mallory Gould
  • Teresa Halstead
  • Jennifer Hammel
  • Tiffany Hansen
  • Emily Hollingsworth
  • Diane John
  • Brenda Johnson
  • Jackie Lowe
  • Angie Maher
  • Kari Matthias
  • Dana McIntire
  • Laura B. Miller
  • Ann Millikin
  • Heather Muir
  • Jennifer Norgaila
  • Gina Rappenecker
  • Megan Reeves
  • Christine Riegel
  • Lindsey Rump
  • Melissa Sadler
  • Ferra Schinstock
  • Elise Sidles
  • Katy Smith
  • Kristin Sparbel
  • Rebecca Tallman
  • Virginia Van Auken
  • Jaime Vandehaar
  • Susan Wetrich
  • Rowene White
  • Donna Winegarden

GPAEA Speech-Language Assistants

  • Jill Baker
  • Kathleen Bullard
  • Rachael Butler
  • Kimberly Cobler
  • Kelley Gray
  • Tammy Greiner
  • Karen Hartl
  • Konnie Milder
  • Elaine Niggemeyer
  • Barb Winans

Code.Org’s Code Studio Workshop on January 10 for Elementary & Middle School Teachers

code_logo_cmykCode.Org’s Code Studio Workshop will be held at GPAEA, Burlington Room 21C on January 10, 2017

This is a great opportunity to learn to teach coding to elementary and middle school students! This training and curriculum resources are provided by Code.org and a grant through the University of Northern Iowa.

There is no cost to attend. Teachers will need to provide their own laptop.

Register at 
https://code.org/professional-development-workshops/5687893

Register for Understanding Dyslexia on November 29 – Parent Session Added

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November 29, 2016
8:00 am – 3:30 pm
Fairfield Arts & Convention Center
Register: http://bit.ly/2d0wgka

Keynote Speakers:

John Alexander, M.Ed.
GrovesAcademy, Head of School
Head of School of Groves Academy, a private school for students from second through twelfth grades diagnosed with dyslexia and attention deficit disorder.

Dr . Deborah K. Reed
Iowa ReadingResearch Center
Director of the Iowa Reading Research Center and an Associate Professor in the College of Education at the University of Iowa.

Participants will:

  • gain a greater understanding of what dyslexia is and isn’t
  • identify the characteristics of good reading and spelling instruction for students with dyslexia
  • use data from oral reading fluency measures, such as FAST CBM-R, to plan high quality reading instruction
  • review additional assessments and how they might contribute to the overall picture of students’ reading abilities

Download: understanding-dyslexia-fairfield-1


Parent Session: 4:30 – 6:30 PM
Magnificent, Multi-sensory Activities that Make Learning Last!

No Cost – No Registration 

Presenter: Elizabeth Hoksbergen, MSEd, Executive Director of Instruction Services at Apples of Gold Center for Learning, Inc., Decoding Dyslexia Iowa Board Member

Have you every wondered how to help your child become a fluent reader, master math facts, comprehend complex text, or build a bigger vocabulary? Simultaneous, multi-sensory strategies will help you help your child develop skills while cultivating confidence. During this session we will explore how to stimulate the brain through visual-auditory-tactile-kinesthetic activities that you can do right at home. We will learn seven specific learning activities you may do with your child without purchasing expensive resources or online subscriptions. Come and learn how to help your child fall in love with learning! Location: Cambridge Room

Download: parent-session-november-29-2016

American Education Week – November 14-18, 2016

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Mark Your Calendars for American Education Week—November 14-18, 2016!

NEA’s 2016 theme, “Great Public Schools: A Basic Right and Our Responsibility,” was reflected in special observances each day of the 2016 weeklong celebration:

  • Monday, November 14, 2016: Kickoff Day
  • Tuesday, November 15, 2016: Parents Day
  • Wednesday, November 16, 2016: Education Support Professionals Day
  • Thursday, November 17, 2016: Educator for a Day
  • Friday, November 18, 2016: Substitute Educators Day

Read more about the history of American Education Week.

Lakeview Elementary Student Wins Humble & Kind Poetry Contest

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Peg Kauzlarich, Centerville Teacher

Lakeview student Ava Stober, was chosen as one of 10 winners from the United States in the Scholastic Reading Club’s “Humble and Kind Poetry Contest.”

The contest was held during April, which is Poetry Month. Students were not required to participate, but Ava chose to. Entrants were asked to write poems inspired by the Tim McGraw song, “Humble and Kind.” According to the letter telling Ava she was a winner, the contest received thousands of entries.

As a winner, she received a signed guitar and autographed pictured with a special message from Tim McGraw to hang in her classroom.

Ava was a sixth grade student in Peggy Kauzlarich’s classroom this past year at Lakeview Elementary, Centerville.

Congratulations Ava – GPAEA is very proud of you!

Gradual Release of Responsibility Workshop

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TARGET AUDIENCE: K-12 Teachers, Instructional Coaches, and Administrators who are new to the GRR Model or those who would like a refresher

Workshop #1 (beginners) will be on December 12, 2016 will provide participants with the basics of what and how to implement Doug Fisher and Nancy Frey’s Gradual Release of Responsibility instructional model. Participants will learn of the four model components: focus lesson, guided instruction, productive group work, and independent work. Aida Allan, a long-time associate of Doug Fisher, will be the presenter.

Workshop # 2 (advanced) is scheduled for Monday, February 13, 2017 also at the Fairfield Arts & Convention Center. More info to come.

Register at http://bit.ly/2cQWtSu

Gradual Release of Responsibility flyer

New Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act

Kathy Achenbach, Kate Cole, & Michelle Ryan, Transition Coordinators

President Barack Obama signed WIOA into law on July 22, 2014. WIOA is landmark legislation that is designed to strengthen and improve our nation’s public workforce system and help get Americans, including youth and those with significant barriers to employment, into high-quality jobs and careers and help employers hire and retain skilled workers (US Dept. of Labor). This law mandates that schools and Iowa Vocational Rehabilitation Services (IVRS) jointly develop a system of supports so that students achieve competitive integrated employment and do not work for a Community Rehabilitation Program (CRP) at sub-minimum wage.

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Congratulations Sixth Grade Math Bee Winners!

Lori Mueller, Math Consultant

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The Great Prairie AEA Sixth Grade Math Bee was held on May 3, 2016 at the Fairfield Arts and Convention Center. Twenty-one schools districts sent a total of fifty teams of sixths graders to participate in the event.

This year’s winners:
First Place
: Daniel Wilkerson – Central Lee Middle School
Second Place: Macy Watkins – Central Lee Middle School
Second Place: Andrew Drost – Oskaloosa Middle School
There was a tie for second place that we couldn’t seem to break so we awarded two second places.
Third Place: Michael Hellman – Holy Trinity Catholic

These students placed in the top ten:
Allison Dowd – Danville Elementary School
Thomas Spoelstra – North Mahaska Elementary School
Autumn McMahan – North Mahaska Elementary School
Bella Steffensmeier – Central Lee Middle School
Miles Breon – Eddyville-Blakesburg-Freemont Community School District
Tyler Garnder – Mt Pleasant Middle School
Hayley Chase – Danville Elementary School
Cale Leonard – Evans Middle School
Eden Svoboda – Danville Elementary School
Spencer Hilger – Fairfield Middle School

GPAEA Sixth Grade Math Bee 2016 Top Ten Medalists
Allison Dowd – Danville Elementary School
Thomas Spoelstra – North Mahaska Elementary School
Autumn McMahan – North Mahaska Elementary School
Bella Steffensmeier – Central Lee Middle School
Miles Breon – Eddyville-Blakesburg-Freemont Community School District
Tyler Garnder – Mt Pleasant Middle School
Hayley Chase – Danville Elementary School
Cale Leonard – Evans Middle School
Eden Svoboda – Danville Elementary School
Spencer Hilger – Fairfield Middle School

Top Six Teams for the GPAEA Sixth Grade Math Bee 2016

First Place Team – Central Lee Middle School: Xandra Abel, Sydney Jones, Macy Watkins, Daniel Wilkerson

Second Place Team – Oskaloosa Middle School: Andrew Drost, Ella Roach, Shannon Linder, Charlie North

Third Place Team – Danville Elementary School: Elizabeth Smith, Eden Svoboda, Allison Dowd, Hayley Chase

Fourth Place Team – North Mahaska Elementary: Thomas Spoelstra, Sam Terpstra, Sean Knockel, Garrett Lamb

Fifth Place Team – Central Lee Middle School: Drew Conlee, Emmy Liu, Bella Steffensmeier, Emma Youngbeck

Sixth Place Team – Eddyville-Blakesburg- Fremont School District: Ethan Davis, Lauren Wells, Miles Breon, Katie Fairfield

National History Day Regional Winners

Great Prairie AEA hosted a district History Day on April 14, 2015 in Fairfield. Congratulations to the following Junior & Senior division winners who participated in the State competition on Monday, April 25th at the Iowa Events Center. Learn more at http://ia.nhd.org/index.htm.

Congratulations also goes out to Mt. Pleasant Middle School National Qualifying Team of Aurora Vansickel and Claire Holtkamp for their Jr Group Exhibit. Jennifer Stater is the teacher that has been facilitating their work. Good luck in Washington DC this summer!

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JUNIOR DIVISION Continue reading

Keokuk Places in Iowa High School Battle of the Books Contest

Martha Marsot, Keokuk High School Teacher, Keokuk, IA

Helena Snyder, Samantha West, Rachal Starr, Madeline Berner

Keokuk HS Students: Helena Snyder, Samantha West, Rachal Starr, Madeline Berner

“What item did Evie first use her powers on?” “No, it wasn’t a belt buckle! It was a shoe buckle!”*

“Which one of these steps in preparing mushrooms is incorrect?” Washing them.*

A trivia contest? Well, sort of. These questions were a part of the Iowa High School Battle of the Books contest, which is sponsored annually by two Marshalltown, Iowa high school educators, teacher librarian Sue Inhelder, and TAG teacher Susan Fritzell. For the first time ever, Keokuk High School sponsored a team who participated in this contest.

The mission of the IHSBOB is to introduce Iowa students, grades 9-12, to award-winning literature. The list of 28 books is comprised of national award-winning books of multiple reading and interest levels, as well as the Iowa High School Book Award nominees. Senior Madeline Berner has wanted to “battle” ever since she learned about the contest, and she finally persuaded a few other bibliophiles to join her. Team members Madeline, Rachal Starr, Helena Snyder, and Samantha West had to read 28 novels, memorize authors and titles, and remember myriad details from the books. That might sound like a lot of work, but according to Madeline, “It was super fun to get together and do something that we all love!”

A preliminary online battle, which was a multiple choice and author name test, determined the top 16 teams in the state, who then travelled to Marshalltown, Iowa on April 26 to compete in a quiz-bowl type contest. “We had never done this before, and honestly didn’t expect to make it to the finals, so we were really excited to find out we made the top 16 for the final battle!” commented sponsor Barb Edler.

The final battle was held in the high school library at Marshalltown, with about 70 students and their sponsors. There were four rounds of oral questions, and teams had 10 seconds to come up with correct answers. Keokuk placed 7th in State! A great extra of the day was a Skype session with Mike Mullin, author of the popular book, Ashfall. Mike answered questions about his research process, and gave advice to aspiring writers. “Read a lot. And, marry someone with good health insurance.”

Keokuk’s good showing has energized the team for next year’s “battle.” The team met regularly during this school year to discuss their books, and started strategizing on the way home from Marshalltown about next year. The 2017 list is already out, and in their hands! High schools can have more than one team, and teams can have up to 6 members, so anyone interested in participating in this fun reading event should contact Mrs. Edler or Mrs. Marsot at the high school. More information about the IHSBOB is available at the official website.

*The Diviners by Libba Bray

*Relish: My life in the kitchen by Lucy Knisley

Fairfield Middle School: How Much Will We Read, How Far Will We Go?

Dee Ann Lantz, FMS Teacher Librarian

pict 1During the month of March, students and staff at the Fairfield Middle School set a goal to read around the school in honor of Dr. Seuss’s birthday. Beginning March 1, every time someone completed a book, a book slip was filled out and hung along the hallway. The goal was to read enough books to reach the end of the hallway. When we accomplished that goal in only one week, we realized that we could set a much higher goal – to read completely around our building. Students and staff took this goal to heart. By the end of the month, we had collectively read 1,696 books!! The best part was that we exactly made it around the school and ended right where we began. We DID read around FMS!

pic 2How much did we read, how far did we go?

The students and staff of FMS read 1,696 books that reached all the way around the school during the month of March, 2016!

May is School Board Recognition Month

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May is School Board Recognition Month. Our Agency Board of Directors and the Board members of the local school districts in our Area volunteer countless hours of their time each year to serve their communities and schools. Please consider thanking the school and AEA Board members that you know throughout our Area.

A special THANK YOU to our Great Prairie AEA Board of Directors:

Download: GPAEA Board Recognition 2016

Learn more: http://www.gpaea.org/en/about_us/board_of_directors/