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!


Girls Go CyberStart – Register beginning January 29

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A new, innovative cybersecurity training program offered by the SANS Institute offers young women in high school the opportunity to learn basic cybersecurity skills through a no-cost online game of discovery called Girls Go CyberStart.

Participating students do not need prior cybersecurity knowledge or programming experience. All that is required is a computer and an internet connection.

Young women in high school in Iowa who excel in the Girls Go CyberStart game will have the opportunity to win computers and other prizes as well as a trip, with a parent, to the 2018 Women in CyberSecurity Conference.

Registration begins on January 29th and ends on February 16, 2018.  The first 10,000 young women who have registered may play the game online from February 20th through 25th.

For information about Girls Go CyberStart visit:

Workshop on Twice Exceptionality in Cedar Falls – April 2018

Workshop on Twice Exceptionality
Central Rivers AEA, Cedar Falls
Friday, April 13–Saturday April 14

Register now at

Training educators to meet the academic and affective needs of twice exceptional students is a critical need in Iowa. ITAG’s spring workshop for gifted and special needs educators and administrators will assist district teams in developing plans to address these challenges and to learn instructional approaches that emphasize rigor. Teachers and all educational personnel can benefit from professional development on the characteristics and performance of twice exceptional students, which will increase the probability that these students will be identified and appropriately served with both gifted and special education services. Each team attending will leave with a district plan draft for serving twice exceptional students as well as strategies designed to provide appropriate classroom instruction.

Presenters include Megan Foley-Nicpon from the University of Iowa and Rebecca Lopez and Julie MacKissock from Cherry Creek School District, Greenwood Village, Colorado. Iowa educators will share their approaches in breakout sessions.

Each team attending will leave with a district plan draft for serving twice exceptional students as well as strategies designed to provide appropriate classroom instruction. Register four people from your district and ITAG will waive the registration fee for one administrator from your district! Contact for more information.

Registration is limited to 200 attendees.

A block of hotel rooms have been reserved at Best Western Plus, 1614 Technology Parkway, 319-277-2400, and at the AmericInn, 5818 Nordic Dr., 319-277-6166. The conference rate is $91 plus 12% tax per night. Call the hotel directly for reservations by March 12, 2018.The Best Western Plus is across the street from the Central Rivers AEA. Individuals need to cancel 48 hours in advance to avoid charges.

All workshop sessions will be held at the Central Rivers AEA1521 Technology Pkwy, Cedar Falls, IA 50613.

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.

October is Physical Therapy Month

October is National Physical Therapy Month, and an opportunity for Great Prairie AEA to celebrate and recognize our six physical therapists and three physical therapy assistants for the work they do with children birth to 21 in our area.

Great Prairie AEA’s Physical Therapy program provides therapeutic services to maximize children’s functional motor abilities through assessment, intervention, advocacy and education related to their unique needs with the educational atmosphere of mutual respect and cooperation. Physical therapists design interventions that improve a student’s physical ability to access and participate in their educational program.

Physical Therapy Month is sponsored through the American Physical Therapy Association and is celebrated nationally. For more information see

Thank you to our Physical Therapists (PT) and Physical Therapy Assistants (PTA):

2017 Global Education Institute for Teachers

The 2017 Global Education Institute for Teachers will be held on the University of Iowa campus on December 2-3, 2017.  The institute is sponsored by the Stanley Foundation and UI International Programs.

K-12 teachers of all disciplines are invited to attend this year’s institute, a two-day, one license renewal credit experience taught by University of Iowa professors Greg Hamot and Jason Harshman.

FREE tuition! The first 20 teachers to register who live outside a 25-mile radius of Iowa City will also receive FREE housing at the Iowa House Hotel.

Registration deadline is November 8, 2017.

More information may be found on our website at

Please contact Amy Green at or 319-335-1433 with any questions.

click here for 2 page flyer Global Education Institute 2017

Assistive Technology Expo 2017

Ellie Hamilton, Assistive Technology Specialist, and Teresa Miller, Assistive Technology/Media Clerk from Great Prairie AEA welcomed Educators, Parents & Staff to discover new tools and resources for students and experience them hands-on on September 12 at GPAEA Ottumwa and September 19 at GPAEA Burlington. Learn more about Assistive Technology at

Join us for an Assistive Technology Expo – September 12 & 19

September 12, 2017 – Assistive Tech Expo
1:00 – 4:30 PM
Ottumwa AEA Office

September 19, 2017 – Assistive Tech Expo
1:00 – 4:30 PM
Burlington AEA Office

Join us at our annual AT Expo. Try assistive technology tools and learn about the resources available through our AEA Media Center.
Download Flyer: AT Expo September 2017
No Registration
Cost/Lunch This is a FREE event
Contact: Ellie Hamilton,

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 |

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.

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:
State Science and Technology Fair of Iowa:

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

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 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

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

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

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 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

Register for Understanding Dyslexia on November 29 – Parent Session Added

November 29, 2016
8:00 am – 3:30 pm
Fairfield Arts & Convention Center

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


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.