STEM BEST Partners – Congratulations Albia & Chariton!

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STEM BEST (Businesses Engaging Students and Teachers) focuses on teachers and industry professionals working side-by-side to craft curriculum and projects that prepare students for exciting STEM careers local to their community in manufacturing, information technology, bioscience (agriculture and medicine), finance and more.

The STEM Council Executive Committee voted unanimously in October 2017 to disburse $475,000 in cost-shared funds to 19 competitively-selected school partnerships, bringing to the table a total cost-share commitment of $2,880,481. The 2017 STEM BEST partners are:

  • Albia Community Schools in the South Central STEM Region. The Albia community school district was awarded the STEM RLE in the 2015-2016 school year to create a redesigned learning environment which was named “4C” to promote the use of the 4C’s (Collaboration, Communication, Critical Thinking, and Creativity). Local businesses have partnered with the district to create lessons and authentic learning opportunities for students and to engage them with local businesses in various ways including projects and site visits. The Albia CSD Financial Model includes the cost of the redesigned classroom and various conferences and visits to work-based learning locations for a grand total of $51,595, with the school district covering the $26,595 not covered by the STEM BEST Grant.
  • Chariton Community Schools of the South Central STEM Region. The Chariton community school district is developing their REAL (Relevant – Engaged – Applied – Learning) program for implementation in the 2018-2019 school year to provide seniors with work-based learning opportunities in STEM fields. So far 9 local businesses have partnered with the district to provide career awareness, exploration, and preparation/training opportunities for students through tours, speakers, career course development committees, and hosting students in the workplace. Their proposed financial model indicates in-kind, partnerships, and district funding would provide $31,700 towards the cost of professional development and work-based learning experiences, while the STEM BEST Grant would primarily fund curriculum development, site visit mileage, and coordinator an business development support.


GPAEA Board Member Election Results – October 2017

In October, Great Prairie AEA held Board Elections in four of their nine Director Districts. Congratulations to the following elected Board Members:

  • Melissa Ballard – Director District #2, which includes Albia, Chariton, Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont, Moravia & Wayne
  • Margaret Kelly – Director District #6, which includes Fairfield, Pekin, WACO, Winfield-Mt. Union & a portion of the Ottumwa School District
  • Janet Smith – Director District #7, which includes Mediapolis, Morning Sun, Mount Pleasant, New London & Wapello
  • Victoria Stephenson – Director District #9, which includes Danville, Fort Madison, West Burlington, and a portion of the Burlington School District

About Elections: School Board Members from the districts listed above choose the Great Prairie Area Education Agency representative for a four-year term.  Under Iowa law, anyone who is a resident and elector of the Director District indicated may seek election to the AEA Board, except local school employees or members of the Community College Boards of Directors.

Learn more about GPAEA Board of Directors at

Professional Development Opportunities – November/December 2017

Check the GPAEA PD Course Catalog for up-to-date information at

Iowa Core Parent Guides

Here is a great resource to share with parents at Parent-Teacher Conferences! The Iowa Core Parent Guides, in English and Spanish, were developed to provide an overview of what students will learn by the end of each grade level as directed by the Iowa Core, our statewide academic standards in Math, Science, and ELA.

There is a guide for each grade level kindergarten through grade 8 and one for high school students. Guides include a brief overview of what will be learned in each subject area of the Iowa Core, examples of what students’ work at school may look like, and examples of how parents can help their child at home.  Check it out and share with your teachers!

GPAEA Schools in the News – October 2017

Post updated throughout the month. Did we miss something? Send your school news to

Note: The articles compiled in this list come from independent media sources who are solely responsible for their content. GPAEA staff did not participate in writing any of these articles and GPAEA does not necessarily endorse the content of the articles. Some articles may be available only by subscription.

GPAEA Hosts Battle of the Books – April 26, 2018


Great Prairie AEA will again be hosting a Battle of the Books competition this year on April 26, 2018, at the Fairfield Arts & Convention Center. Registration is now open. Visit the BOB website for more information and to register. If you have questions, contact

Battle of the Books is a collaborative reading competition for readers at the upper elementary and middle school levels. It is designed to enhance student commitment, team building, reading comprehension, and study skills in a fun, informative manner. Teams of up to six students read from a pre-selected list of books. Competition includes written and oral responses.

Learn more at

Book Lists

Math Course for Educators: Rational Numbers and Number Talks: Fractions, Decimals and Percents

Teachers will increase content knowledge in the area of rational numbers, learn how to facilitate classroom discussions, and improve rational number fluency, specifically using strategies from Number Talks: Fractions, Decimals, Percentages by Sherry Parrish and Ann Dominick.

This class can be taken for recertification or graduate credit. Participants enrolled for graduate credit will be required to complete implementation work between November and February. All credit will be awarded at the end of February when the class closes.

Purchase of the book by Parrish and Dominick is required for all participants.

Learn more at

Click here to register.

The Cornerstone – October 2017

Click on a post title below or scroll down to view all.

GPAEA Celebrates White Cane Day with Area Students

On Friday, October 13, Ottumwa Mayor Lazio recognized the Great Prairie AEA and Iowa Educational Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired partnership, as part of a White Cane Day Celebration. Area students, parents, and teachers from Ottumwa, Cardinal, Burlington, Fairfield, Oskaloosa, & Eddyville Blakesburg Fremont participated in fun activities to create awareness of White Cane Day on October 15.

Great Prairie AEA provides visual impairment support to students and families in two areas by specifically trained educators:

  • Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments – provides instruction in support of the academic and extra-curricular needs of students
  • Orientation and Mobility Specialist – provides instruction in techniques of safe and efficient travel addressing the implications of a visual impairment on independence

Learn more at

White Cane Safety Day is a national observance in the United States, celebrated on October 15 of each year since 1964. The date is set aside to celebrate the achievements of people who are blind or visually impaired and the important symbol of blindness and tool of independence, the white cane.

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

Iowa Family & Educator Partnership at Great Prairie AEA Newsletter – October 2017

Click here to view the October newsletter.

Iowa Family & Educator Partnership/FEP works to develop and sustain effective partnerships between families, educators, and community providers to promote the success for all children and youth with disabilities.

Learn more at