Welcome to Northwest AEA’s monthly newsletter and education blogs, resources and forums called, “Connections.”

As many of you know, Northwest AEA is in its first phase this year of a three-phase project to implement the instructional coaching model into schools. With this model, an instructional coach and a special education strategist will be available more often to assist educators. The intent is to partner with teachers and support them so that new teaching practices can be utilized with a higher degree of quality.

To learn more about this model, you can go to <www.instructionalcoach.org>. Jim Knight is the author of Instructional Coaching: A Partnership Approach to Improving Instruction and is one of the country’s leading experts regarding this teaching method. He recently spoke at a Northwest Iowa Leadership Academy meeting in Cherokee to explain how the model works in schools.

By “connecting” with each other, Knight’s premise for instructional coaching can be achieved. He calls these items “The Big Four”:

  1. Instruction
  2. Content Planning
  3. Assessment for Learning
  4. Classroom Management

Watch for more details to follow in your schools and as always, please feel free to ask Northwest AEA staff questions.

In the meantime, we have updated our blogs, forums and resources to help guide you in your quest to help students achieve. The purpose of the Northwest AEA Connections newsletter, blogs, forums and resources is to connect educators, parents and school administrators with one another by sharing news, best practices, resources, professional development opportunities and success stories. A two-way dialogue is encouraged so that, together, we can help students reach their potential and achieve in the classroom and in life. Take advantage of the resources at your fingertips by having discussions with other like educators—make it your own Professional Learning Community (PLC)!

Here is a list of the blogs we update regularly. Please link (or directly access from the Northwest AEA Web site) to the blogs that are most relevant to you:
    •    Career Tech 
    •    Early Childhood Educators
    •    Elementary Educators
    •    English Language Learners
    •    Fine Arts
    •    Instructional Coach 
    •    Instructional Technology
    •    Iowa Core Curriculum
    •    Math
    •    Paraeducators                              
    •    Parents/Learning Supports 
    •    Physical Education/Health   
    •    Reading                                               
    •    School Administrators
    •    Science                                                                                                     
    •    Social Studies
    •    Special Education                                
    •    Student Support Services
    •    TAG                                                                                
    •    Teacher Librarians                                                                                                                                                                                     

In addition to each blog, we have a forum feature that allows online conversations about topics and a resources area to post articles, links and documents. This will all be open for anyone to view: We did not password-protect any areas so that it will be easy to access and is user-friendly.

Please give us your feedback on these new tools and please be flexible with these technologies because they will continually evolve. We will bring you current and relevant information to assist you in educating your students. Most importantly, we hope you will participate in the conversations. Content and ideas will only be valuable if we build them together, side-by-side.

Please don’t hesitate to contact me or any Northwest AEA employee for assistance.

Educationally yours,
Dr. Tim Grieves
Chief Administrator

P.S. Click here to go to all the blogs located on the Northwest AEA Web site. Be sure to sign up for blog updates by clicking on the RSS Feed button, too!