Opportunities for 2014
As the New Year approaches, 2014 will be a year of opportunities for educators in Iowa. For the first time in five years, we will receive four percent Allowable Growth for our next school year. This will bolster the three main initiatives that come under the reform effort by the Governor and the legislature.

Northwest AEA will provide infrastructure support and help implement the three main initiatives by the Department of Education and the Governor’s office. These initiatives include:

1.    Response to Intervention (RtI)/Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) –
2.    Teacher Leadership & Compensation – TLC
3.    Iowa Core Implementation

Response to Intervention (RtI)/Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) –
In the Response to Intervention effort, the AEA system has provided training for leadership teams to help implement a Universal Screener with interventions. We started out across the state with 10 percent of the elementary schools; however, Northwest AEA had over 20 percent of its elementary schools in this process. The RtI system has come through collaborative efforts of Collaborating for Iowa Kids with the Department of Education, AEA system and local schools working together. External coaches for the leadership teams have been provided by the AEA system. This effort will be the first time that the same common formative assessment will be used in every elementary classroom in the state of Iowa. The RtI effort will also be called Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS).

Teacher Leadership & Compensation – TLC
Processional development will be a key for the leadership teams identified in March, during the first round for implementation of teacher leaders. The AEA has numerous professional development offerings and will be working with other educational entities across the state to provide a statewide approach. Leadership teams from Northwest AEA will have the following professional development opportunities this spring and summer:
•    Instructional Coach training by Jim Knight on April 9-11, 2014;
•    APL – June 23-27, 2014;
•    Data Team Analysis Training – Aug. 2014;
•    Mentor training for new teachers continues and will continue into next year;
•    Fierce Conversations will be offered Jan. 13 and 14 and Feb. 10 and 11, 2014;
•    Iowa Principal Leadership Academy – a two-year program sponsored by Northwest AEA and Prairie Lakes AEA for teacher leaders that want to become administrators. Learn more here; and
•    Authentic Intellectual Work (AIW) supports teacher collaboration and fits perfectly as a peer collaboration effort.

These PD opportunities fit nicely and can be options for your leadership team if you are chosen for the first phase.  Please choose what best fits the needs of your schools. Please sign up soon, as these classes may meet their maximum capacity more quickly than usual.

Iowa Core Implementation
Northwest AEA is offering Iowa Core Deeper Investigations training in both Math and Language Arts. To view the approximately 30 classes offered, click here.

Our Iowa Core network team members have attended the state trainings and can help teacher leaders provide support to classrooms.

AEAs Provide Educational Infrastructure
The AEA system across the state is truly the infrastructure for educational initiatives. Many times, the AEAs are quietly leading from behind the scenes, but you can depend on us being there up front to help provide structure and support. AEA employees are extremely well-trained and willing to help your school district implement these new state initiatives.

PLCs at Northwest AEA
On another note, I would like to thank all of the employees at Northwest AEA who share their knowledge through their own Professional Learning Communities (PLCs). Last month, we highlighted curriculum-based measures (CBM). This month, we explore "It's All About the Sounds" with AEA employees Amanda Bengston, Lynn Cole, Amy Gathercole, Karen Mueting, Janys Schroeder, Dianna Stallman and Trish Tisthammer.

To learn more, see the Northwest AEA PLC work here: https://sites.google.com/a/nwaea.org/northwest-aea-plcs---2012-13---public/

We work to supplement our service delivery with informational blogs that we hope will inform, inspire and guide your daily work. Please check them out here:

For a complete listing of all blogs, please go to the Northwest AEA website. You can also sign up for an RSS feed to automatically receive blog updates (instructions provided on the Northwest AEA website).

Educationally yours,

Dr. Tim Grieves
Chief Administrator