Wishing you a successful 2017-18 school year!

Dr. Cindy Yelick

Welcome to the 2017-18 school year! I hope everyone is off to a great start and would like to thank you for making me feel so welcome to Great Prairie AEA. I am excited to work with the quality staff and leadership at Great Prairie AEA who continue the course for improvement and enhanced learning outcomes for all children throughout southeast Iowa. I look forward to meeting and learning from each of your districts as we partner to improve student achievement for southeast Iowa students.

Dr. Cindy Yelick, Chief Administrator

To learn more about Great Prairie AEA’s new Chief Administrator visit: Yelick Selected as the Next Chief Administrator for Great Prairie AEA

Instructional Services Professional Learning Opportunities

GPAEA 2017_18 Dates of Networks & PD Events

FAST Bridge

Please register for FAST Bridge Training. This training is intended to demonstrate how to utilize the many reports available in FAST after the screening is completed. This is open to a district and/or school teams of 3 to 5 administrators and coaches.

FastBridge Training Description: Training will focus on use and interpretation of FAST data collected during the fall screening period. Participants will be introduced to features of the various reporting options available and learn how to interpret the data displayed. Data will be analyzed on both the system and student level. The training will also present intervention assignments and progress monitoring functionality and walk participants through the process of setting up groups and administering progress monitoring tools.

Kuder Navigation System Training  

Math Network

  • September 11 at FACC

504 Planning

  • September 13 – 8:00 – 11:00 AM at Burlington AEA OR  12:30 to 3:30 PM at Fairfield
  • September 14 – 8:00 – 11:00 AM at Ottumwa AEA OR 12:30 to 3:30 PM at Albia AEA

GPAEA has set aside two days to work with local district to help create or refine your 504 process. Fred Kinne from the Iowa Dept of Ed will be there to help your team solidify a meaningful process to work with identification and monitoring of 504 plans. Please fill out this form in order to help GPAEA plan for space and resources for the 504 planning dates.

Curriculum Network

  • September 18 at Ottumwa AEA – Room 21C
  • September 19 at Burlington AEA – Room 21C


Iowa Testing Program Presentations at Great Prairie AEA

September 18, 2017
12:30 – 4:00 PM
Ottumwa GPAEA

September 19, 2017
12:30 – 4:00 PM
Burlington GPAEA

Following the September Curriculum Network meetings in Ottumwa and Burlington, Great Prairie AEA will host Iowa Testing Programs (ITP) for a 3-hour informational session. The first 45 to 60 minutes of each session will be a presentation of the tests they offer (Iowa Assessments, the Iowa Algebra Readiness Assessment, Iowa End-Of-Course) and how to register for them (registration, barcodes, accepting tryouts).

ITP will also highlight test security, caution about test preparation, and review accommodations. The rest of the session (approximately 90 minutes) will focus on the outputs of the tests, with fairly specific “how to’s” on the various reports ITP offers: how and when to access them and recommended audience(s).

A key element of the session will be a leave-behind packet with an example of each report and the URL path to follow to access it.


GPAEA Science Support for 2017-18

Science Update

Links to register for this year’s Iowa Science Standards Professional Development Offerings are now available for most sessions! For those with new teachers, or ones who haven’t had Modules 1 & 2 training- please note that some of these sessions start Sept 1!

We will be offering “Supporting Iowa Science Standards for Administrators and Instructional Coaches with Modules 1 & 2” again this year. Module 3 support for Administrators and Coaches will be offered in 2018.

Here is the Google doc that contains all available sessions with links to register. There is also a link to the statewide spreadsheet listing Science Standards PD in other AEAs: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1rLWkJaw-SlO82HVVJ68NJ0qmNmas3kN4ifvL0SjwDvo/edit


Craig Leager
Science Specialist
641-682-8591 Ext. 5219 Ottumwa Office

Tami Plein
Science Specialist
319-753-6561 Ext. 1162 Burlington Office

GPAEA Sunsets Eduvision Portal

GPAEA will no longer be supporting a shared Eduvision video portal. GPAEA will sunset the video portal on October 30, 2017, which means it will no longer be accessible from the GPAEA Web Site.  In order to keep the videos that have been uploaded by you or members of your district, the videos will need to be downloaded (unless you kept a copy, of course!) before the sunset date or if your district would like to pursue your own Portal, we have been working with Eduvision to offer a transition plan for those GPAEA school districts that would like to retain their videos and have a portal of their own for an annual price of $997.  Eduvision will also move your content that is currently in the GPAEA Eduvision video portal for you.

Eduvision assures that a district portal will be:

  • Safe, Secure & Managed – Content is safe with the ability to password protect, make videos private… and more.
  • Enterprise ready – Unlimited channels, channel managers, live events, and users.
  • No Advertisements  – Never any ads.
  • No Questionable Content – Never any questionable content displayed with your videos. Your content, image, and brand are never compromised.
  • In-Video Interaction – Quickly add polls/questions and gather feedback RIGHT FROM YOUR VIDEO
  • Committed to Compliance – Enabling Schools to be Quickly WCAG Compliant for live streaming and on-demand video delivery through automatic Closed Captions.
  • Affordable Annual Subscription –  We can create an offering to meet any budget.

So, the only action you need to take is to download your videos before the sunset date or contact JDL about moving them to a portal of your own.

Contact JDL: Thomas Lapping <tlapping@jdlhorizons.com952-697-0555

To learn more please visit: www.jdlhorizons.com

Special Education Professional Learning Opportunities


Upcoming Special Education Professional Learning Opportunities

Alternate Assessment




Non-Violent Crisis Prevention and Intervention (aka CPI)

Special Education Concepts

Foundations of Special Education

Great Prairie will offer Foundations of Special Education course this fall.  This course will provide principals and other district administrators an opportunity to gain knowledge and skills in the supervision and administration of special education services.  Sessions will be held in Ottumwa on October 10 and 24 from 8:30 – 4:00.  Sessions will be held in Burlington on October 11 and 25 from 8:30 – 4:00.  Registration links are below:

Heads up: Web Accessibility continues to be a hot issue

Schools in Iowa and across the country are receiving website accessibility complaints from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR). The complaints are filed to ensure website accessibility for individuals with disabilities.
The following resources are available to you in reviewing your website for accessibility:

Please feel free to share these resources with your technology director or other individuals who help you manage your website. You may also refer to this tip sheet for more information or contact Jennifer Woodley.

Join us for a Blended Learning Coaching Academy 


GPAEA will be hosting a Blended Learning Coaching Academy with Marci Kish for Instruction Coaches on September 21January 9, & April 6

Participants will learn about what is needed to build a blended learning environment from the ground up including constructing an understanding of the blended learning rotation model; designing a framework and competencies that coaches can use to move towards the blended learning model in a classroom, school, or district; develop a data rich culture within the classroom to monitor student progress and advance students at their own pace; as well as construct unit plans that can be used with teachers to create multiple paths for the students to take while mastering learning objectives.

Location: Fairfield Arts and Convention Center, 200 North Main, Fairfield, IA

Audience: All TLC coaches, model teachers, and administrators

Registration link

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, ellie.hamilton@gpaea.org

Opportunity for High School Juniors and Seniors – United State Senate Youth Program

Application process:

High School Juniors or Seniors students MUST be serving in some sort of elected capacity within their school, community, state etc in order to qualify for the USSYP.  Qualified students are encouraged to access the link below to download.

If selected, the student receives a $10,000 scholarship and attendance at the Washington Week program, March 3-10, 2018.  Please review rules and requirements.

USSYP Brochure, Student Application and Information and Timeline:


Students must complete the application process and submit the materials to the attention: Shannon Johnson, Great Prairie AEA, 3601 West Ave, Burlington, IA 52601 NO LATER than Monday, October 2nd.  

Then, between October 3rd and October 30th the applicant arrange two hours to complete the “qualifying test” and essay at the GPAEA office in Ottumwa or Burlington with  Shannon Johnson, shannon.johnson@gpaea.org by October 4th.

STEM Council, Kemin Industries Open Call for Nominations

2018 I.O.W.A. STEM Teacher Award accepting nominations of Iowa teachers

STEM_LogoDES MOINES, IOWA – (Monday, August 21, 2017) – The Governor’s STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Advisory Council, in partnership with Kemin Industries, has launched the fourth year of the I.O.W.A. STEM Teacher Award and will be accepting nominations through Friday, October 6, 2017.

The award recognizes one full-time, licensed K-12 teacher from each of the six STEM regions across the state for their passion in motivating their students to develop a lasting interest in STEM, both in and out of the classroom. The six teachers selected will each receive an award of $1,500 with an additional $1,500 for their classroom.

“It’s truly inspirational to meet and read about Iowa’s many STEM educators,” Gov. Kim Reynolds, STEM Council co-chair, said. “Today’s students are our future workforce. I’m thankful our STEM educators are dedicated to ensuring our students are well-prepared for the jobs of tomorrow. That’s why it’s so important for us to support our educators in every way possible.”

Anyone can nominate a teacher via stemaward.fluidreview.com through the deadline of Friday, October 6, 2017. Once nominated, teachers will fill out an application to be assessed by a panel of judges who will select the six award recipients. Honorees will be announced in January 2018.

“It is truly an honor to be able to recognize Iowa’s STEM teachers for the outstanding work they’re doing with Iowa students of all ages,” said Dr. Chris Nelson, Kemin Industries president and CEO and immediate past co-chair of the STEM Council. “STEM is a large economic driver for our state, and we appreciate every effort STEM teachers make to convey the endless opportunities that are available in these industries across Iowa.”

# # #

Governor’s STEM Advisory Council
Established in July 2011 via Governor’s Executive Order, the Iowa Governor’s STEM Advisory Council is a public-private partnership of educators, companies, and Iowa students and families addressing policies and programs designed to improve Iowa’s educational system focused on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). The STEM Council works to engage and prepare students for a career-ready workforce path, regain our State’s historic leadership position in education, and provide a vital competitive economic advantage now, and for the future, to ensure that every Iowa student has access to world-class STEM education opportunities. The 47-member Council is chaired by Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds and Kemin Industries president and CEO Dr. Chris Nelson. For more information, visit www.IowaSTEM.gov.

Kemin – Inspired Molecular Solutions™

Kemin (www.kemin.com) provides “inspired molecular solutions” specifically developed to provide nutrition and health benefits for humans and animals. Committed to feed and food safety, Kemin maintains top-of-the-line manufacturing facilities where approximately 500 specialty ingredients are made for the global feed and food industries as well as the health, nutrition and beauty markets. A privately held, family-owned and operated company, Kemin has nearly 2,000 employees and operates in more than 90 countries with manufacturing facilities in Belgium, Brazil, China, India, Italy, Singapore, South Africa and the United States.

Get Ready for a New Name: AEA Learning Online

aea learning onlineA new name, a new look, and the same great services and products for Iowa educators and students.

On Oct. 1, 2017, AEA PD Online will transition to the new name: AEA Learning Online. This new name better reflects all of the products and services provided to Iowa educators and K-12 students.

The transition to AEA Learning Online begins in August with updated banners and brochures. Emails, websites, and social media accounts (FacebookTwitter) will follow in October with the current links automatically redirecting users.

As the transition moves forward, watch for details to the current and new social media accounts as well as website updates.

If you have questions about the transition, contact Evan Abbey, eabbey@aeapdonline.org or Deborah Cleveland, dcleveland@aeapdonline.org.

Burlington Autism Classroom Receives Support from GPAEA

Jennifer Woodley, Public Relations Coordinator

Inside Sarah Maher’s 3rd, 4th, & 5th Grade Autism classroom at Corse Elementary in Burlington, students experience a colorful rich environment where they have the freedom to learn and experience success daily.

Great Prairie Area Education Agency’s Challenging Behavior & Autism Team have supported Ms. Maher and her students the past year in a variety of capacities. From professional development and training to observations and consultation on a case-by-case basis. “I guess the most important thing to me is that it’s a group effort,” Maher said. “It’s good staff, good leadership and a lot of other support staff outside of this room that has helped a lot.”

Learn more about supports and services from GPAEA at http://www.gpaea.org/en/services/autism/.


Yelick Selected as the Next Chief Administrator for Great Prairie AEA

Dr. Cindy Yelick

The Great Prairie AEA Board of Directors is pleased to announce the selection of a new chief administrator for the Agency. Dr. Cindy Yelick, who is currently the deputy chief administrator at Heartland AEA, will succeed Dr. Jon Sheldahl.

“Dr. Cindy Yelick will be a great addition to Great Prairie AEA team,” said Vicki Stephenson, president of the Great Prairie AEA board of directors. “She brings a wide range of experiences and leadership in her work with Iowa’s AEAs and the State of Iowa.”

As the chief administrator of Great Prairie AEA, Dr. Yelick will oversee over 270 full and part-time staff members who provide special education services, instructional services, professional learning, library and digital resources, technology support and more to over 36,000 students and 2,700 educators throughout the 14 southeast Iowa counties the Agency serves.

Dr. Yelick has previously held positions as executive director of instructional services, administrator for Iowa Core Curriculum, executive director of teaching and learning, and a regional coordinator at Heartland AEA; director of early childhood, assessment, and special education and elementary principal at Ames Community Schools; elementary principal at Des Moines Public Schools; director of McPrep Middle School Academy at Drake University; and assistant administrator at Spring Branch ISD in Houston, Texas. She received a doctorate in educational leadership from Drake University, master’s in curriculum and instruction, second language education from the University of Houston and bachelor’s in elementary education from the University of Northern Iowa.

“My career has centered around ensuring that all students have the opportunity to thrive,” Yelick said. “I am excited to work with the quality staff and leadership at Great Prairie AEA who continue the course for improvement and enhanced learning outcomes for all children throughout southeast Iowa.”

Yelick was selected for the position after the search firm G. Tryon & Associates conducted a nationwide search. She will assume the responsibilities of chief administrator contingent upon release from her current contract in July 2017.

GPAEA Schools Recognized for PBIS Efforts

Congratulations to the schools who attended the state Learning Supports Conference on May 8 & 9 and were recognized in person by the DE for their implementation efforts in PBIS. 17 schools from Great Prairie AEA were recognized, although not all were able to attend to receive their award.