Welcome to Northwest AEA’s new monthly newsletter and education blogs, resources and forums called “Connections.”
The purpose of the Northwest AEA Connections blogs, along with the 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.
Why did we transition to this format? Last spring, Northwest AEA sent a survey about the agency’s monthly newsletter, “Compass,” to over 6,000 educators and school administrators. We wanted to know what kind of information we could provide to educators in their quest to help students achieve. We also wanted to know delivery preferences and how often information should be sent. Here’s what we learned:
- 81 percent want to receive relevant information from Northwest AEA;
- The majority of respondents would like information to be sent monthly;
- 59 percent want information to be sent electronically, as opposed to hard copy;
- The top requested items for communication included: 1) professional development opportunities, 2) trends in the classroom, 3) classroom management tips, and 4) new media resources.
We listened to your requests and have some additional ideas to bring relevant ideas to you. We also know we are not always the experts. We need your input, too. That’s why we’ve selected blogs, resources and forums to distribute information. This technology allows for two-way conversations and sharing. For example, if you have a tip, resource or idea about something that works for you in the classroom, with a family or in the school, we highly encourage you to share that with your colleagues across Northwest AEA.
We have created this monthly e-newsletter to replace Compass, which we will send to you each month highlighting articles from several of the niche blogs. We will have links in each newsletter to take you directly to the blog of your choice so that information is relevant to you. Here is a list of the blogs we will update regularly:
- Career Tech
- Early Childhood Educators
- Elementary Educators
- English Language Learners
- Fine Arts
- Instructional Coach
- Instructional Technology
- Iowa Core Curriculum
- Parents/Learning Supports
- Physical Education/Health
- School Administrators
- Social Studies
- Special Education
- Student Support Services
- Teacher Librarians
In addition to each blog, we have a forum feature to have 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. All posts will be approved by Northwest AEA before being published. We do not intend to post any confidential information in the newsletter, blogs, forums or resources areas.
With technology changing everyday, we wanted to model the use of these tools, including social media technology. This is something our students do, or will, use extensively to communicate globally. We must use what they are using and pull ahead of the curve to give them 21st Century skills.
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.
We look forward to serving you this new school year. Please don’t hesitate to contact me or any Northwest AEA employee for assistance.
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!