September 2018 School Leader Update

school leader update - a monthly journal for iowa educators

September 2018

What you need to do now for the new state assessment

director ryan wise

I mentioned in my welcome back message to kick off the 2018-19 school year, new years bring new opportunities. This is especially true for education in Iowa in the year ahead.

One of the most anticipated opportunities is the development and implementation of a new statewide assessment, the Iowa Statewide Assessment of Student Progress (ISASP). This new suite of summative assessments in reading, language and writing, and math in grades 3-11 and in science in grades 5, 8, and 10 are created by Iowa Testing Programs (ITP) at the University of Iowa and will be delivered and supported by Pearson. The Iowa Department of Education will be a collaborative partner by helping to identify and address the needs of education stakeholders as Iowa implements this new assessment.

As we gear up for the launch of the ISASP in March, there are a few things schools can do now to prepare:

Complete the Tech Readiness Survey: This survey is intended to help ITP and Pearson anticipate schools’ needs and potential technology barriers as they prepare to deliver the new assessments. Technology coordinators in all public school districts and accredited non-public schools should have received this survey on August 15. If you haven’t completed it already, I encourage you to do so as information from this survey is critical for ITP and Pearson to ensure testing goes smoothly. If you did not receive it, please email Catherine Welch at ITP. 

Designate a Point Person: Each school district and accredited non-public school should select a point of contact to receive communications from ITP, Pearson and the Department on the new assessment. You will receive an email from the Department requesting the name of your ISASP lead by September 10.

Become Familiar with the Online Testing Readiness Timeline and the New Platform: You can view both the timeline and download the TestNav8 App to get a sense of the look and feel of the new assessment here.

Equitable Service Procedures

As part of providing appropriate equitable services, the Iowa Department of Education established and trained the field on systematic procedures to ensure nonpublic school students, teachers, and families received the needed Title program services required under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

These procedures provide a framework to enable all participants in the process to understand what is expected and what their respective responsibilities are within the system. Recently, challenges have arisen in implementing the established protocols our state has undertaken to execute the requirements of ESSA. For this reason, it may be beneficial to reacquaint yourself with the expected procedures. Complete guidance on equitable services consultation and complaint procedures can be found on the Department ESSA Guidance webpage.

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Fall BEDS and Fall BEDS Staff data collections for 2018-19

Aerial photo of group of four adults sitting at table with computer analyzing data

Important dates for Fall BEDS and Fall BEDS Staff data collections for 2018-19:

  • Sept. 10 (tentative) - Fall BEDS & Fall BEDS Staff opens
  • Oct. 15 - Fall BEDS & Fall BEDS Staff deadline
  • Oct. 16 - Operational Sharing opens
  • Oct. 31 - Operational Sharing deadline

Fall BEDS is undergoing programming changes to have a similar user experience as Spring BEDS and will contain the same forms as last year’s collection. Fall BEDS Staff will be similar to last year’s collection. Information and reference materials will be available soon on the Fall BEDS and Fall BEDS Staff web pages.

For information about these collections, contact Shelly Neese at 515-281-3111 or

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Fall Student Reporting in Iowa reminders

Pencil making check marks in boxes

As we gear up for Fall Student Reporting in Iowa (SRI), just a few reminders and highlights:

  • Districts should have received an email in mid-late August highlighting upcoming training opportunities, deadlines, and requirements for the Gold Star list this fall. If you did not receive this email, contact an SRI consultant. 
  • On Sept. 20, there will be a Certified Enrollment webinar to walk users through the Certified Enrollment application. This session will be very helpful to those new to Certified Enrollment and for those that need a refresher on a process that occurs only once a year.
  • The SRI website is a tremendous resource for dates to remember, training opportunities this fall, recorded webinars of past trainings, and 2018-19 documentation – including the 2018-19 SRI Data Dictionary and updated addendum. Share this SRI website with all staff working on student reporting through the year and/or certified enrollment this fall. 

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E-rate update

Rows of money bills in 100 dollar denominations

EducationSuperHighway (ESH) released an analysis of E-rate funding applications to determine which Iowa districts have utilized E-rate Category 2 funding opportunities and which districts have funds remaining to be requested.

List of Iowa Districts with E-rate Category 2 Funds Remaining

  • Districts that have not used any funds to date will forfeit 100% of its Category 2 funds if the funds are left unused in Funding Year 2019 (2019-20 school year).
  • Districts that first accessed their Category 2 budget in Funding Year 2015 will forfeit any funds not used in Funding Year 2019.  

All districts on the list have one year remaining to apply for this funding. The E-rate application process for these funds will begin later in the fall. Districts that are not on the list have either tapped into all/majority of their Category 2 funds, or first applied for Category 2 funding in 2016 or later and have additional year(s) to file for funds. For more details about your district, contact Pam Jacobs at or 515-975-0071.

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2018-19 CASA (Consolidated Accountability and Support Application) requirements

Below is an outline of this year’s reporting requirements. Questions should be directed to Meredith MacQuigg at

Due Sept. 15

Due Dec. 15

Due Oct. 15 (special reopen 10/15 - 11/15)
New - Consolidated Application for Federal Title Programs (public only)
          --Allocations and Transfers – Due 10/1 by Superintendent or School Business Official Only
          --Consolidated Application – Due 10/15
          --Resubmission of Consolidated Application for those allocated Title 1003 School Improvement funds – Due 11/15

Regional workshops are available to assist in completion of the Consolidated Application. Registration information is available here.

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Seal of biliteracy available to high school graduates

State of Iowa Seal of Biliteracy

Having the ability to know and use more than one language is a critical skill in the 21st century. Beginning with the 2018-19 school year, Iowa school districts have the opportunity to award a seal of biliteracy to high school graduates. The seal is given by a district to recognize students who have attained proficiency in two or more languages, one of which is English, by graduation. School districts may elect to participate in the program, but are not required to do so.

The Seal of Biliteracy program prepares students for the labor market and global society while it provides employers, universities, and grant/scholarship providers with a method to recognize applicants for their dedication to attainment of biliteracy. Currently, 33 states offer this recognition. Guidance will be available for districts in September. For questions, contact Stefanie Wager at (515) 725-7842 or

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Self-Paced Fine Arts Standards Modules to be released Sept. 24

Fine Arts graphic

Professional learning around Iowa’s new Fine Arts Standards will be available on AEA Learning Online on Sept. 24.


Five self-paced modules will be released:  Introducing Iowa’s Fine Arts Standards, Understanding Iowa’s Fine Arts Standards, Applying and Connecting Iowa’s Fine Arts Standards, Assessing Iowa’s Fine Arts Standards, and Resources for Implementation.


Depending on districts’ and educators’ needs, these modules can be taken individually or bundled together for license renewal credit. Modules are designed to ensure that all fine arts educators, administrators, and teacher leaders have various entry points into understanding and implementing Iowa’s Fine Arts Standards, which were recently adopted last November. The modules were designed by Iowa’s Fine Arts Leadership Team, which is comprised of Area Education Agency consultants, school district stakeholders, higher education representatives, and Iowa Department of Education fine arts consultant Angela Matsuoka.

For more information, contact Angela Matsuoka at (515) 782-7296 or

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Braille on Demand service update

Hand reading braille

Braille on Demand service through Anamosa Braille Center (ABC) expanded exponentially last year. This service provides braille transcription for small quantities of material with 24-hour turnaround. Options include rendering into Literary Braille, Braille for Math or Music, and tactile graphics.

Educators identify this service as a game-changer in providing accessible educational materials to sight-impaired students as they plan collaboratively across the curriculum. Teachers tailor transcription needs to individuals on the fly rather than the traditional method of sending in a textbook in the spring for fall use. Allowable pages in an order increased to ten per day per student in response to teacher request.

The ABC has expanded service nationwide as Express Braille. Staff will present a session at the Closing the Gap national conference this fall and publish an article in CTG Solutions magazine. Braille on Demand is funded by the Iowa Department of Education.

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Iowa Learning Online fall enrollment closing soon

Iowa Learning Online graphic

Enrollment is closing soon for the Iowa Learning Online (ILO) fall term. With more than 40 course offerings available, school districts can find high quality opportunities for students to improve digital learning skills. Each term includes a three week trial, grace period so that students and schools can make sure it is a good match. 

Fall 2018 Cohort B: Sept. 6 to Jan. 11 (early enrollment ends at 4 p.m. Sept. 12)

Spring 2019 Cohort A: Jan. 2 to May 7 (early enrollment ends at 4 p.m. Jan. 9)

Spring 2019 Cohort B: Jan. 16 to May 17 (early enrollment ends at 4 p.m. Jan. 23)

Is your school looking to start their own online program?  Check out Branch Out, where ILO provides the infrastructure and high school course, and the local school provides the teacher. 

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Celebrating Constitution Day

photo showing rolled up U.S. Constitution, U.S. flag background

Congress enacted legislation requiring all public schools to set aside one day during the week of Sept. 17 to teach all students about the U.S. Constitution and about citizenship.

This year is the 229th anniversary of our national Constitution. While compliance is mandatory, the implementation details are left to local districts. More information, including additional Constitution Day resources, are available on the social studies page of the Iowa Department of Education website.

If your district is planning something special to celebrate Constitution Day, or if you have any questions, contact Stefanie Wager at 515-725-7842 or For legal questions, contact  

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Statewide social studies professional development

Teacher using white board map of United States

Professional development is being offered throughout the state to support the second implementation year of Iowa’s new social studies standards. This document includes the dates that each Area Education Agency (AEA) and the Iowa Department of Education are offering these workshops.

The professional development is a two-day workshop that builds upon year one professional development. This year focuses on how to put the standards together to create coherent inquiry-based units. Participants will learn how to bundle and unpack standards, build more in-depth knowledge on the use of compelling and supporting questions and creating coherence throughout the unit to implement the standards. For questions, contact  Stefanie Wager at 515-725-7842 or

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United States Senate Youth Program

United States Senate Youth Program logo

High school students interested in pursuing careers in public service are urged to apply for the United States Senate Youth Program. 

Established in 1962, the annual program will be held in Washington, D.C., from March 2-9, 2018. Two student leaders from each state, the District of Columbia, and the Department of Defense Education Activity will gather for an intensive week-long study of government and those who lead it. In addition, each selected delegate receives a $10,000 scholarship.   The overall mission of the program is to help instill knowledge of the American political process and a lifelong commitment to public service. 

There are numerous deadlines in applying for the program, the first of which is Oct. 2.   Additional program information, including the student application, is available on the Iowa Department of Education U.S. Senate Youth Program webpage, or by accessing the United States Senate Youth Program website. For questions, contact Stefanie Wager at (515)725-7842 or 

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2018 International Division on Career Development and Transition (DCDT) Conference

Group of five high school students standing casually

The 2018 International Division on Career Development and Transition (DCDT)­­ Conference will be held on Oct. 24-26, at the Double Tree by Hilton Hotel in Cedar Rapids. Hundreds of educators, support staff, transition specialists and adult service providers will gather to learn about the latest and most innovative research and practices in transition, and to network with others that share a passion for transitioning individuals with disabilities.

The Oct. 24 pre-conference focuses on two important issues in transition: legal, and mental health. On Oct. 25-26, presentations include the following areas:  

  • Family/Community Partnerships
  • Personal Preparation/Professional Development
  • Transition to Employment
  • Transition to Individual Living
  • Transition to Post-Secondary Education
  • Self-Determination
  • Transition Assessment
  • Culturally Responsive Practice
  • Instructional Practices/Use of Technology
  • Mental Health/Substance Abuse

Conference information and registration is available now.

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Early Care and Education Fall Institute: It Begins with Me

Early Care and Education Fall Institute conference poster


The Early Care and Education Fall Institute: It Begins with Me, is scheduled for Oct. 5-6, at the Prairie Meadows Conference Center in Altoona. Early childhood professionals are encouraged to attend one of the pre-session trainings on Thursday, Oct. 4. 

A {R}evolutionary Approach to Inclusion with Kristie Pretti-Frontczak will focus on teaching strategies that ensure meaningful and inclusive practices for all children. Learn about managing the complexities related to creating learning experiences that support a wide range of children’s interests and abilities, and still meet the demands of delivering high quality instruction.

Exploring the Big Ideas of Math with the Erikson Institute will provide hands-on/minds-on exploration of important mathematical ideas, children’s learning progressions for concepts, and how adults can scaffold children’s developing thinking and communication skills while intentionally differentiating for various learning needs of children. Build understanding through adult learning activities, video analysis, children’s literature, role-playing and discussion with colleagues. To register, visit Iowa AEYC.

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Children and Youth in Disasters Summit

Warning sign saying Keep Schools Safe


The 3rd annual Children and Youth in Disasters Summit is scheduled for Oct. 2-3, at the Fred Maytag II Scout Center in West Des Moines, hosted by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, Iowa School Safety Alliance, and Iowa Fire Marshal’s Association.  

The purpose of this summit is to share information and support efforts between stakeholders to ensure the needs of children are integrated into disaster related efforts initiated at the state and local levels. Topics will include human trafficking, indoor air quality, fire drill curriculum, table top exercises and more. This Summit will be submitted with Heartland Area Education Agency for administrator licensure credit. Information on how to register is pending. Check the Iowa School Safety Alliance Website for updates.

Statewide Voluntary Preschool Program updates for 2018-19

Three preschool boys sitting on floor playing with plastic wild animals.

As of the 2018-19 school year, 323 of 330 school districts will offer the Statewide Voluntary Preschool Program (SWVPP). During the 2017-18 school year, the SWVPP served approximately 26,120 children (of which 24,425 four-year-olds generated state funds). Additional details are located on the SWVPP Fact Sheet.

Updated webinars addressing SWVPP assurances and requirements and preschool reporting as well as updated Implementation FAQs are available on the SWVPP webpage. Districts are encouraged to regularly check the SWVPP web page for updates.

For more information about the Statewide Voluntary Preschool Program, visit the Statewide Voluntary Preschool Program webpage or contact Jennifer Adkins at (515) 954-5652 or .

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Nominate a Presidential Scholar by Sept. 30

Presidential Scholar graphic with flag design

The Iowa Department of Education is seeking nominations for outstanding high school seniors for the 2018-19 U.S. Presidential Scholars selection cycle. We encourage you to nominate students who, while demonstrating outstanding scholarship, might not otherwise be nominated through the current SAT/ACT, arts, or CTE recognition processes. If you have an outstanding high school senior deserving of consideration, submit a nomination through the Department’s online Presidential Scholar Nomination Form by Sept. 30.

Department Director Ryan Wise will select 25 students (10 males, 10 females, and 5 in the Career and Technical Education (CTE) category) to submit to the U.S. Presidential Scholar Program for consideration. The 2019 Presidential Scholars will be selected by the Commission on Presidential Scholars and will receive the Presidential Scholars Medallion at a ceremony in their honor in Washington, DC.

Specific information to be included in each nomination is described on the Department’s online 2019 General Component Presidential Scholar Nomination form, or the 2019 CTE Component Presidential Scholar nomination form. The deadline for submissions is Sept. 30. For questions regarding the nomination process, contact Deborah Darge at 515-242-6176 or . Read more about the Presidential Scholars Program.

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Nominate a teacher for the 2019 I.O.W.A. STEM Teacher Award

Governor's STEM Advisory Council, STEM Teacher Award logo

Know a STEM teacher that goes above and beyond to engage students in and out of the classroom? Nominations are open for the 2019 I.O.W.A. STEM Teacher Award sponsored by Kemin Industries.

The fifth year of this award, offered by the Iowa Governor's STEM Advisory Council celebrates PreK-12 teachers whose leadership and dedication to STEM in Iowa increases students’ interest and awareness in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. One teacher from each of the six STEM regions will receive $1,500 for personal use, and $1,500 for classroom use.

Deadline for nominations is Oct. 9. Award recipients will be announced in January.

The nomination process is simple and open to everyone, including fellow teachers, school administrators, students and parents. Learn more and submit a nomination.

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School Radon Training and Support System grants available

Danger, Radon Gas symbol

Thanks to the Iowa Cancer Consortium and Iowa Department of Public Health, matching grants are available for approximately 21 Iowa school districts to help cover the costs of participating in the School Radon Training and Support System (SRTSS). This program is facilitated by the Energy Association of Iowa Schools.

No grant application is necessary--just acknowledge two simple Yes/No statements included on the registration form. The grants are $1000 for new schools and $500/$250 for repeat schools toward training and test kits. Participants will also have access to a $10,500 radon mitigation assistance fund to be shared as needed. Visit School Radon & Support System Grants for more details.

To receive a grant, you must register at SRTSS Registration by Sept. 21. For more information, contact Julie Weisshaar at 641-202-0949 or

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Emergency Operations Planning workshops

Now is the time to register your school emergency management personnel for this important workshop. The Department has booked the following dates for training on creating High Quality Emergency Operations Plans at the following Area Education Agencies (AEAs). This training is open to both school districts and non-public schools. Local Emergency Managers will also be invited to attend.

  • 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

Registration Search for a School Active Shooter Plan Workshop and register for the location nearest to you.

For questions, contact David Johnston with Homeland Security and Emergency Management at 515-725-3295 or, or Nicole Proesch at 515-281-8661or .

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  Word Unprepared with the UN crossed out

Legal Lessons

Attorney Nicole Proesch

We are officially back into the swing of a new school year and we were all ready to go back. While summer is a nice change of pace, it’s time to be back on a schedule and for my children to see their school friends again. I am especially looking forward to back to school picnics, fall sports, and other activities. Let the fun begin!

Now, in this edition of School Leader Update, I bring to you WHO is a Resident, Custody Court Orders and Requests for Records, and Students VISAs revisited.

Contact Nicole Proesch for all Legal Lessons items - or 515-281-8661

For questions regarding students with disabilities please contact Thomas Mayes at 515-242-5614 or .

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