Scrolling through social media platforms, there were numerous pictures of beaming smiles as kids, parents, and teachers headed off to their first day of the 2020-21 school year. COVID-19 may have brought us masks, six feet (or more) of physical distancing, and varying levels of F2F and virtual instruction, but it can’t take away the joy of new beginnings. As we navigate the unpredictable waters ahead, remember that joy that you saw and felt.

Even though the educational landscape has shifted this year due to COVID, our mission of providing visionary leadership and quality, student-centered services to the educators and families that we serve remains the same. Distilled to four words, the staff at Northwest AEA is focused on Inspiring Learning and Changing Lives.  

One of the ways that we are helping you inspire learning in the classroom is by offering the app Pear Deck to all of our schools for free in 2020-21. Pear Deck enhances presentations in Google Slides by making them interactive. Your principal has more information about Pear Deck, training, and the Northwest AEA contact information.

A year ago we increased our staffing in the area of behavior supports in response to the growing need expressed by teachers and administrators. We also were able to expand our Youth Mental Health First Aid training, thanks to the Iowa Legislature, bringing YMHFA to educators at local public and non-public schools alike. YMHFA will continue throughout this year as well. Furthermore, we added three social workers in partnership with three clusters of school districts as another layer of support for mental and behavioral health concerns.

If you are a new teacher or administrator in Northwest AEA, this short video showcases the services we provide to teachers and schools. From professional learning to job-embedded support, Northwest AEA is here to inspire learning and change lives in the students, staff, and families we serve.

Have a great school year!

Dr. Dan Cox
Chief Administrator