Last month I shared the results of the customer satisfaction survey that was conducted by Hanover Research a couple of months ago.  The two areas of growth for our agency were in how we support mental health services and behavioral services to our LEAs (local education agencies).  When you return for the 2019-20 school year in August, you will see changes in how we deliver services in both of these areas.

The Iowa Legislature recently sent a bill to Governor Reynolds that allocates $1.2 million dollars to the Iowa AEA system “to provide mental health awareness training for educators and schools.”  If she signs the bill into law, staff at Northwest AEA will arrange to provide opportunities for you and your colleagues to take part in Youth Mental Health First Aid trainings over the course of the 2019-20 school year.  We will be working with building principals and school superintendents on the logistics of when and how to get all 5000 educators trained. The Legislature also included an appropriation of $750,000 to be used “to identify a range of approaches to best meet the mental health needs of students and to strength community support for students.”  Finally, educators will have access to a clearinghouse of mental health resources for use by school staff and community providers.

In addition, we are expanding our mental health and behavioral support across Northwest AEA by adding 2.4 FTE.  We will have the equivalent of 8 FTE next year, with five staff working full-time in behavior and mental health and seven more staff working split assignments between behavior/mental health and their roles as Strategists, SLPs, etc.  The 12 NWAEA employees are spread out across our 10-county region so that they can be accessible and responsive to LEA needs.

We also are making changes internally to be more efficient in our print and media operations.  Last month, the Northwest AEA board approved the consolidation of the print and media centers in Sioux City and Sioux Center to the Sioux City building effective this summer.  Most of you will not experience any difference in service. All print orders will continue to be done online and we will continue to offer twice a week delivery of print and media materials to every building in the agency.  

In addition, be sure to check out our blogs, which we hope will inform, inspire and guide your daily work:

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).

Have a great summer!

Dr. Dan Cox
Chief Administrator