July 2018 School Leader Update

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school leader update - a monthly journal for iowa educators

July 2018

Happy Anniversary!

director ryan wise

This summer, I’ll celebrate 20 years as an educator, 18 years of marriage and three years as director of the Iowa Department of Education. Anniversaries are cause for gratitude, reflection and aspiration. Many of you are celebrating similar personal and professional milestones, and to you I say, “Happy anniversary!” 

As I think about anniversaries and reflect on my career, I’ll always remember Landon, Milton, Antonio and McKinley – the first four students to walk into my classroom at Rosa Fort High School in Tunica, Miss.  I can still feel the excitement (“Wow, I’m really a teacher with my own classroom!”), the butterflies (“How am I going to make it through the next 52 minutes without sweating through my shirt?”), and the hope (“My students need a great teacher and I’m going to deliver.”) of that first day. 

Iowa license types and information

Teacher working with two young students.

The Iowa Board of Educational Examiners (BoEE) has created a new licensure information document which will assist educators to easily navigate and understand Iowa license and authorization types, terms of validity, renewal or extension options, and other important information. This document will support districts as vacancies continue to be filled and as educators prepare for the upcoming school year. The Iowa BoEE appreciates the value that Iowa educators give to licensure, and hopes this additional tool will provide needed information in a user-friendly format, which synthesizes information into one document.

Bookmark this shared document for easy reference, and distribute the link to educators, human resource directors, and any other staff member that may find it useful.

Iowa License Types and Information

For questions, contact Joanne Tubbs at 515-281-3611 or joanne.tubbs@iowa.gov.

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New English language proficiency screening assessment for all Iowa schools

ELPA21 logo with text English Language Proficiency Assessment for the 21st Century

Beginning Aug. 1, all Iowa schools will be required to implement the new ELPA21 Dynamic Screening Assessment for decisions regarding possible student placement in English language instructional programs. A webinar posted on the ELPA21 page of the Iowa Department of Education website provides an overview of the screener and the process for online administration. More details, including administration certification, are now available in online training courses found at AEA Learning Online.

  • Administering the ELPA21 Dynamic Screening Assessment – Required for all school district staff members who will administer the screening assessment (consists of two modules).
  • Gearing up for ELPA21 Assessment – Highly recommended for any school district staff member new to the online ELPA21 Assessment System.




For assistance, contact the Jennifer Riedemann at 515-661-7066 or jennifer.riedemann@iowa.gov.

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Iowa Learning Online fall and spring enrollment open now

Female African American high school student working at a computer

Iowa Learning Online is accepting enrollments for the fall 2018 and spring 2019 semesters. With more than 70 course segments available, including five world languages, there is something for everyone. View the ILO website to see our fall and spring offerings or sign up.

For each term, after the three week grace period, the local school will be billed a $260 fee per enrollment. To better meet individual student needs and diverse schedules of Iowa schools, ILO will provide two separate cohorts.  


ILO is also offering Branch Out, an exciting service designed to help schools take the first step to offering their own online service to meet local district needs. ILO provides the infrastructure and high school courses, and the local school provides the teacher. For questions, contact Cale Roe at 515-782-7680 or cale.roe@iowa.gov.

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After the observation of the mathematics lesson conversation

Teacher instructing elementary students in math, geometry.

Beyond the Lesson Guide discussion questions are designed for one-to-one conversation following a classroom observation using the Instructional Practice Guide Coaching Tool.

  1. The questions put the content of the lesson in the context of the broader instructional plan for the unit or year.
  2. The conversation should first reflect on the evidence collected during the observation to consider what worked, what could improve, and what resources are available to support improvement.
  3. During the discussion, refer to the information from the Lesson Planning Tool.
  4. After discussing the observed lesson, use the “Beyond the Lesson” questions to help clearly delineate what practices are in place, what has already occurred, and what opportunities might exist in another lesson, further in the unit, or over the course of the year to incorporate the Shifts into the classroom.

For questions, contact April Pforts at (515) 314-6243 or april.pforts@iowa.gov.

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Community partnerships to provide the Statewide Voluntary Preschool Program

Preschool children at large tables finger painting

School districts are encouraged to maintain and expand community partnerships to address collaboration requirements in Iowa Code 256C for the Statewide Voluntary Preschool Program (SWVPP).

Considerations for districts with existing or developing community partnerships include the following:

  • A district may partner with a licensed child care center or an existing private or public preschool program to provide the SWVPP, subject to implementation of a chapter 28E agreement between the district and the partner.

  • The district has oversight of the delivery of the SWVPP and appropriate use of funds by all locations, including community partners.

  •  It is expected that districts maintain community partnerships established at the time of the original SWVPP application. If a partnership is unable to be maintained, the district should document the multiple attempts made to maintain the relationship.


See also the SWVPP FAQ for Implementation or the Finance FAQs for the SWVPP, or contact Jennifer Adkins at jennifer.adkins@iowa.gov.

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School Food Service Procurement Reviews for school year 2018-19

School cafeteria staff preparing vegetable salads for students

Procurement procedures and processes is a key focus for the United States Department of Agriculture. The procurement review will be conducted during the National School Lunch Program Administrative Review (AR) in school year 2018-19. 

Individual(s) responsible for school food service purchases should plan to attend regional procurement training concerning the tool. Trainings are scheduled in August, September and October. Each training will be about three hours long. Members of a Group Purchasing Organization (GPO) remain responsible that the GPO meets procurement requirements and attendance at this training is appropriate. The regional trainings are open to all districts, Residential Child Care Institutions and non-public schools. If a training site is over-capacity, priority will be given to those with an AR scheduled in the upcoming school year. 

To register, visit the IDOE calendar. For questions, contact Keerti Patel at (515) 681-2300 or keerti.patel@iowa.gov.

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Emergency operations planning workshops

Save the date for your school emergency management personnel. The Iowa Department of Education has booked the following dates for training on creating High Quality Emergency Operations Plans at the following Area Education Agencies (AEAs). Stay tuned for more dates confirmed with the other AEAs.  This training is for both school districts and non-public schools. More information on how to sign up will come out soon.

  • Sept. 5 - Prairie Lakes AEA - Pocahontas
  • Sept. 6 - Northwest AEA – Sioux City
  • Sept. 11 - Grant Wood AEA – Cedar Rapids
  • Sept. 13 - Central Rivers AEA – Cedar Falls
  • Sept. 17 - Keystone AEA - Elkader
  • Sept 19  - Green Hills AEA – Avoca
  • Sept. 24 - Heartland AEA - Johnston 
  • Sept. 26 - Mississippi Bend AEA - Bettendorf
  • Oct. 11 - Great Prairie AEA - Ottumwa

For questions, contact Nicole Proesch at 515-281-8661 or nicole.proesch@iowa.gov.

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  Children exiting on sidewalk, police officer nearby

Legal Lessons

attorney nicole proesch

Summer is officially in full swing. While your students are enjoying their summer breaks at the pool, I know administrators are starting to gear up for another school year, and we are here to help. One of our priorities this year will be helping schools write and implement their Emergency Operations Plans, so be sure to SAVE the Date (see article above). This is just one of the many efforts we are working on. We are also looking at other grant opportunities that address mental health and community policing efforts. There will be plenty more to come this year to help you gear up for a safe school year. 


Now, in this edition of Legal Lessons, I bring to you reminders on Emails and Iowa Open Records Law

Contact Nicole Proesch for all Legal Lessons items - nicole.proesch@iowa.gov or 515-281-8661.

For questions regarding students with disabilities please contact Thomas Mayes at 515-242-5614 or thomas.mayes@iowa.gov.

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Iowa Department of Education
400 E 14th Street
Grimes State Office Building
Des Moines, Iowa 50319
Ph: 515-281-5294