October 2018 School Leader Update

school leader update - a monthly journal for iowa educators

October 2018

Taking time to celebrate successes, look ahead

director ryan wise

Think about how many times in the last week you’ve had the following exchange:


Q: “How are you?”


A: “Busy!”


This time of year can be exhausting for parents and educators alike. While teachers and administrators are busy building a positive school culture, assessing their students, and implementing and aligning key initiatives, parents are juggling schedules and doing their best to support their children. It’s times like these when it becomes especially important to pause, both to celebrate the good things happening around you and to plan ahead. In Iowa, we have much to cheer and much to anticipate.


First, Iowa’s Early Literacy Initiative has supported steady growth in the number of students on-track to reading proficiently by the end of third grade. A nearly 7 percentage-point increase in students who went from falling short of benchmarks to meeting them since 2015 represents well over 14,000 kids. The State’s early warning system is helping to identify students who need additional support. And educators are working thoughtfully and strategically to meet their needs.



Virtual Q & A sessions on new Social Studies standards

Student pointing to a place on a globe

In order to support implementation of Iowa’s new social studies standards, virtual Q & A sessions will be offered four times during the 2018-19 school year. This is an opportunity to ask questions related to the standards or implementation of those standards. There is no agenda or presentation during these sessions during the indicated time. View a list of dates for these sessions and connection information.

For questions, contact Stefanie Wager at (515) 725-7842 or stefanie.wager@iowa.gov.  

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College and Career Readiness Academy

Group of adult and college age students sitting at table studying

Registration is now open for the Iowa College and Career Readiness Academy, a suite of Iowa-specific online courses for school counselors, educators, administrators, and other college access professionals. The first course will start on Oct. 1.


The Academy is Iowa's first and only college and career readiness training program. It was developed by the Iowa College Student Aid Commission in partnership with the Iowa Department of Education, AEA Iowa, and the Iowa School Counselor Association (ISCA).


Each of the courses available through the Academy is specifically tailored for Iowa college access professionals to improve effectiveness in preparing all students for education and training beyond high school. Individuals can register as participants for no cost, or select an option to earn license renewal or graduate credit through Drake University, Morningside College, or Viterbo University.


More information about the Academy is available on the Iowa College Student Aid Commission's website.

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Search for family and school partnerships

Adult male volunteer standing over a teacher working with a student on a school assignment

Do you or someone you know have a great family and school partnership for children receiving special education services and supports? The Iowa Department of Education wants to hear from you. The Department is looking for promising practices – whether it’s a program, service, strategy or policy that shows potential for developing into an evidence-based practice. Promising practices can be any stage of implementation.


Three schools were recognized during the Special Education Symposium in June 2018. This article allows you read about their work.


See the Promising Practices Search for Family and School Partnerships form and associated documents.


For questions, contact Kim Drew, kim.drew@iowa.gov, or Deb Chiodo, deb@askresource.org.  


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IDEA Part B Desk Audit

Teacher with wheelchair bound student

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Part B Determinations and IDEA Differentiated Accountability Support Levels will be included in this year’s IDEA Part B Desk Audit. This universal desk audit will display district and Area Education Agency level data used to make determinations and to assign a level of support. The desk audit will be available beginning Oct.15 through the Consolidated Accountability and Support Application (CASA), which is accessed through the Department’s Education Portal. Public versions of this information will be posted to the Annual Determinations page of the Department’s website.

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Doing Better: Aligned Instructional Practice

Voice from the field graphic, with photo of Destiny Eldridge and April Pforts

Activist and author Maya Angelou left behind many legacies, including her regard for self-reflection as a means to improve one’s self and situation, which is illuminated in one of her unforgettable quotes: “I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better.”


This blog describes the Core Actions for ELA and mathematics for aligned instructional practices and highlights the tools, which can impact practice for the content standards, practice and process standards, and effective teaching practices. Begin using these tools today to align all aspects that improve standards implementation.

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Leadership Training and Design Team

Group of adults meeting around a table

The Leadership Training and Design Team was formed in spring 2018 to include representatives from the department, higher education, area education agency leadership, district leadership, school leadership, and School Administrators of Iowa. The team’s efforts will focus on four main areas:


  1. Supporting the revision of Iowa Standards for School Leaders to reflect the new national Professional Standards for Educational Leaders.
  2. Developing guidance for developing an evaluator approval course as a district, Area Education Agency, college/university, and educational organization.
  3. Creating a new version of iEvaluate.
  4. Constructing a revised evaluator approval course framework.


The team is committed to continual communications about the work and dedicated to sharing tentative timelines and soliciting feedback from the field.

If you have ideas and questions to share with the Leadership Training & Design Team, contact Matt Ludwig at (515) 326-5333 or matt.ludwig@iowa.gov.

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Student Reporting in Iowa reminders

Deadline Now stamped on paper in binder

Just a couple of quick reminders from the Student Reporting in Iowa (SRI) team:


  • Count Day this year for Certified Enrollment is Monday, Oct. 1.  Only students being served on that day are eligible for funding. Students expected to move into your district and students that may come back any day are not eligible to be part of your count.
  • Per Iowa Code (257.6), the Certification deadline for Certified Enrollment (public and nonpublic) is Monday, Oct. 15.  Be advised, there will be no SRI consultants available to assist districts on Saturday or Sunday of that weekend. 
  • Districts are encouraged to wait until the November board meeting to share any counts from Certified Enrollment with their school board or the public.
  • Gold Star Districts will be posted in the December edition of the School Leader Update.

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Iowa Learning Online HOME available to home-schooling families

Group of students with a laptop sitting on a couch in home environment

Home-schooling families may now directly enroll students with ILO HOME. Any Iowa resident family participating in full or partial Independent Private Instruction, Competent Private Instruction, or Private Instruction may choose to enroll in ILO courses. Families participating in dual-enrollment have two enrollment options. Option one is to enroll the student directly in an ILO course as part of their home-school instruction and assume the tuition costs. Option two is to request the local district enroll the student in an ILO course, assume the tuition costs and provide district credit (the local district has the right to decline). Parents of home-schooled students should contact the ILO registrar at registrar@iowalearningonline.org to enroll in ILO courses.


Spring 2019 Cohort A: Jan. 2 to May 7


Spring 2019 Cohort B: Jan. 16 to May 17

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Iowa 21st Century Community Learning (TITLE IV B) Grants application released

Iowa 21st Century Community Learning Centers, soaring Beyond Expectations graphic with stylized person holding a star

The Iowa 21st Century Community Learning Grants application materials have been updated. In this grant competition, $6,789,541.26 will be awarded.


A minimum of 40 percent free and reduced lunch population is required to qualify to apply. This is a competitive application to provide afterschool and summer school programs for at-risk children. 


A summary of the program is available on the IDOE website.



For questions, contact Vic Jaras at (515) 242-6354 or  vic.jaras@iowa.gov.  


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October is Healthiest State Month

Healthiest State Month logo with confetti and 5-2-1-0 building blocks

Each week in October will be dedicated to a number in 5-2-1-0:


Oct. 1-7: 1 hour of physical activity each day

Oct. 8-14:  5 fruits and vegetables each day

Oct. 15-21: 2 hours or less of recreational screen time

Oct. 22-28: Focus on drinking More water and 0 sugary drinks

The Healthiest State Initiative developed a School/Childcare Tool-Kit with resources and ideas to help celebrate. Share your Healthiest State Month fun on social media with #HealthyChoicesCount. 

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5-2-1-0 Healthy Choices Count! Summit

5210 Healthy Choices Count Summit header, October 30

Join the 5-2-1-0 Healthy Choices Count! Summit where experts working across the state in schools, child care, out of school programs, health care and communities will gather to share ideas to support healthy choices where Iowans live, work, learn, and play. 

The summit will take place on Oct. 30, from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. at Des Moines University.

Registrants are encouraged to attend with other organizations from their community to support multi-sector engagement and implementation.  


For questions, contact Carrie Scheidel at (5615) 281-4758 or carrie.scheidel@iowa.gov.

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Local Foods in Schools

Local food day logo, shaped like the outline of the state of Iowa, with school rooftop with flag on top. Word Local has apple image for the letter O.

The incorporation of local food in school meals can play an important role in creating and promoting a healthy environment. There is growing public interest in supporting local foods and schools can be part of movement


Contact the Local Food Coordinator in your area
Iowa State University Extension Local Food Coordinators support the development of local food systems by making connections between growers and schools and can assist with the procurement process


Participate in Iowa Local Food Day on Oct. 11
Schools are to serve at least two items that are locally sourced at a meal on Oct. 11. Participation can be just one school or all schools within a district. Visit the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship’s Iowa Local Food Day webpage for more information or contact Tammy at tammy.stotts@iowaagriculture.gov.


For questions, contact Carrie Scheidel at (515) 281-4758 or carrie.scheidel@iowa.gov.

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Legal Lessons

attorney nicole proesch

Fall is back and we are ready for the change in seasons. Time to break out sweaters and sweatshirts and to enjoy fall football and pumpkin spice lattes. In this October edition of School Leader Update, I bring to you Dress Codes and Enrollment policies for the Statewide Voluntary Preschool Program.


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

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