April 2019 School Leader Update

school leader update - a monthly journal for iowa educators

April 2019

Want to improve school culture and climate? Listen to student voices.

director ryan wise

Iowa is a leading state in incorporating student voice into school improvement. Did you know Iowa is…

  • One of only four states to use student surveys as a measure in its Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) plan.
  • One of only six states in which the Governor appoints a student member to the State Board of Education.
  • The only state in which the state education agency received a Pathway 2 Tomorrow innovation grant to help transform education by incorporating student voice.

Iowa educators at every level are committed to listening to students and to using what they learn to strengthen school climate and culture. This spring, students across the state will take the Conditions for Learning survey, which gauges student perception on issues like physical and emotional safety, student and adult relationships, and expectations for students. School leaders can use the survey data to identify both areas of strength and opportunities to improve the school culture and climate.  Research demonstrates students succeed academically when they feel safe, engaged, and when they have positive relationships with adults and peers at school. Iowa is at the cutting edge in taking a comprehensive, statewide approach to utilizing student voice in school improvement efforts.

I notice on my school visits how intentional some schools are in ensuring students have real opportunities to shape their learning environments. For example, on a recent visit to Woodward-Granger Community School District, I met a teacher who applied for and received a grant to redesign her classroom with a flexible seating arrangement based on feedback from a student survey she administered to her class.  

Legal Lessons

attorney nicole proesch

Now in this Spring Edition of Legal Lessons I bring you Natural Disasters and Displaced Students; Emergency Operations Plans & Confidentiality; the Four D’s Of Prom Potocol; and New Rules Noticed by the State Board of Education.

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

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

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Emergency Operations Planning regional tabletop exercise trainings

Group of teachers working at a table

The tabletop exercise trainings will be using a train the trainer model for school districts to use in their districts and individual school buildings to review their Emergency Operations Plan (EOP). There are two trainings remaining for the EOP tabletop exercise. The locations are listed below. Visit the Emergency Operations Planning website under the Training heading to register to attend the training near you. Additional information will be emailed out to participants once registered for the training.

April 9 – Ottumwa – Located at Great Prairie AEA

April 11 – Adel – Located at Heartland AEA office

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Emergency Operations Planning webinars

Sign saying webinar, blog, technology, online, connect, information, Network

The Iowa Department of Education is offering monthly webinars to establish high-quality emergency operations plans in school districts and individual schools. We encourage participation in the webinars to complete your high quality emergency operations plans (EOPs) by June 30.

Our next webinar is scheduled for April 16 at 10 a.m. Join by clicking on the following link. Each webinar is designed to provide step-by-step assistance in developing high quality EOPs. These webinars will be recorded and posted to the Department’s website.

The legislation requires high-quality emergency operations plans for all public and accredited nonpublic schools, both district-wide and individual school buildings. The plans must include (but not limited to) responses to active shooter scenarios and natural disasters. The legislation also requires an emergency operations drill based on these plans in each individual building annually.

For questions about these webinars and requirements contact Rob Olsen at (515) 281-4743 or rob.olsen@iowa.gov.

Future webinar date:  Tuesday, May 21.

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Emergency Operations Plan verification

Words strategic emergency management viewed through a magnifying glass

Legislation requires high-quality emergency operations plans (EOP) for all public and accredited nonpublic schools, both district-wide and individual school buildings. Plans must include (but not limited to) responses to active shooter scenarios and natural disasters. An emergency operations drill based on these plans is also required annually in each individual building. Iowa Code 280.30

In the 2019 Spring BEDS application, there will be a series of check boxes for the superintendent, or designee, to check verifying they have included the requirements of the law in their emergency operations plan(s) which are due by June 30, 2019. If you have any questions, contact Rob Olsen at 515-281-4743 or rob.olsen@iowa.gov

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School behavioral threat assessment training

Sign saying Serious Threat

The Iowa Department of Education in collaboration with the Iowa School Safety Alliance and Readiness and Emergency Management for Schools – Technical Assistance (REMS–TA) is pleased to offer a one-day training on School Behavioral Threat Assessment. This course is designed to familiarize schools and school districts with behavioral threat assessments as a means to preventing and reducing targeted violence at K-12 schools. Topics covered include how a threat assessment team can be integrated into the broader framework of school safety, security, emergency management, and preparedness. Visit the Department emergency operations planning website for more information and registration.

As part of a comprehensive school emergency operations plan (school EOP), it is important for schools and school districts to understand how to prevent, protect against, mitigate, respond to and recover from critical incidents. Participants will learn about effective characteristics of threat assessments for consideration when forming their own approach and team. Specialized topics will also be addressed, such as the use of social media in threat assessments. Participants will have the opportunity to discuss concepts in small- group discussions and practice a basic threat assessment in a tabletop exercise.

For additional information, contact Rob Olsen at (515) 281-4743 or rob.olsen@iowa.

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Iowa Learning Online summer term enrollment opens soon

Iowa Learning Online logo

Enrollment will open soon for the 2019 Iowa Learning Online (ILO) summer term. Visit the Iowa Learning Online website for updates or Sign Up for a school administrator or coach account to receive a direct email. For the summer term, public and non-public schools may pass on the costs of ILO courses to a parent/guardian, but the local school is still responsible for making the payment to ILO.  Home-school families enrolled through independent private instruction, competent private instruction, or private instruction will be directly responsible for fees. See our Enrollment & Tuition page for more information.  If you have enrollment questions, contact the ILO registrar at registrar@iowalearningonline.org or (515) 725-2075.

ILO is also offering a service to help schools take the first step to offering their own online service to meet local district needs. With Branch Out, we provide the infrastructure and high school courses, and the local school provides the teacher.

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Librarians: Your standards are ready

High school student looking at book in library book stacks

The new, voluntary Iowa School Library Program Standards are now available.

The Iowa School Library Program Standards were developed by a cross section of librarians from across the state, college prep programs for teacher librarians, Area Education Agencies and the Iowa Department of Education.

The standards integrate national standards with Iowa Code, Iowa Administrative Rules and best practices. Though many of the standards are not required by Iowa Code, they align with successful school library programs. Use of the standards ensures compliance with these basic code requirements.

The standards can be used by teacher librarians and leadership teams to discuss how library programs can support continuous improvement, especially universal instruction and local infrastructure, when implemented at successful levels.

For more information, contact Jen Adams at jen.adams@iowa.gov.

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Global Accessibility Awareness Day

GAAD logo

May 16 marks Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD).

The purpose of GAAD is to encourage talking, thinking and learning about digital access, inclusion and people with accessibility challenges. Awareness is the first step.

Here are some simple ways you can explore accessibility in the digital tools you use, whether
web-based, software, or mobile:

  • Go mouseless for an hour
  • Enlarge the fonts and brightness on your phone or tablet
  • Run a web accessibility tool on your district website
  • On your mobile device, try running some of your favorite apps with accessibility features of the operating system enabled. Android and Apple iOS have many accessibility tools built-in.
  • POUR on the accessibility: open a file in your learning management system and see if it is Perceivable, Operable, Understandable and Robust
  • Watch Apple videos highlighting how OS devices empower individuals with disabilities

Most importantly, celebrate GAAD and share this article with your staff.

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Bookshare: Is your district ready for next year?

Girl sitting at library table surrounded by books and holding an electronic tablet.

An online e-book meant to help students who learn better through hearing text than by reading in a traditional manner is being underused in the state. In fact, an estimated 5 percent of students could benefit from Bookshare, but only 2.4 percent are.

Bookshare is an accessible online ebook library of textbooks, bestsellers, children's books, career resources and more for people with reading barriers. Bookshare has almost 700,000 titles in accessible formats such as audio, audio with highlighted text, Braille and large print. Titles can be read on almost any device.

Why you need to know about Bookshare:

  • Availability: all districts in Iowa can have a free organizational account.
  • Student Benefits: Qualified students can have individual accounts that link to their school’s account for access to all their reading material.
  • Primary Contact: When Bookshare became available to districts several years ago, someone in the district signed up as the primary contact. In many cases, this person has left the district or changed roles. Contact Bookshare on configuring your district account.

Let Bookshare support your struggling readers.

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Accessibility and statewide testing

ISASP logo with sunshine graphic

Spring testing of the Iowa Statewide Assessment of Student Progress (ISASP) is probably already underway or quickly approaching in your district. This is a great opportunity to observe students and their use of universal features, designated supports or accommodations for testing. Noting which students used which features, supports or accommodations and whether they were helpful to the student will increase success for future administrations. 

If a feature, support or accommodation was not used or unhelpful, it should be removed from the student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP). It will also be useful to note which students did not use any features, supports or accommodations who might benefit from them in the future. These are factors to consider when developing the student's next IEP, as accessibility features necessary for the individual should be noted in the IEP.  

For more information on accessibility features for statewide assessments, reference the Statewide Assessment System Accessibility Manual.

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Aligned curriculum pushes students farther

Random blue and white numbers floating on page

Aligned Mathematics Curriculum 
Students thrive when we hold them to the standards.

When student started the year behind grade level, but had access to stronger instruction and more grade-appropriate assignments, they closed more than 7 months of the learning gap.

Source: TNTP (2018)

Strong curricula push all students further
The impact of a moderately-aligned curriculum is about the same as replacing a teacher in the 50th percentile with a teacher in the 75th percentile

  • Moderately-aligned math textbook: 0.1
  • 75th percentile teacher v. average, math: 0.11
  • Misaligned math textbook: - 0.15

Sources: Manushek and Rivkin (2010) and Kane et al. (2016).

Not sure if resources are aligned? Check out EdReports.

Looking to use the highest rated mathematics Open Educational Resource, visit this Kendall Hunt website.

For more information on Implementing the Standards in the Mathematic see Iowa Core Mathematics is more than a sum of its parts. For questions, contact April Pforts at (515) 314-6243 or april.pforts@iowa.gov.

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You won’t want to miss the Future Ready summit!

Future Ready Iowa Logo

Registration is under way for the Governor’s 2019 Future Ready Iowa Summit, to be held in Des Moines April 30.

The event is bringing together educators, students, business leaders, nonprofits, elected officials and others from across Iowa.

The day is dedicated to Iowa’s future workforce in today’s classrooms, and the ways that employers and educators are working together to assure a strong talent pipeline tomorrow. Featured will be keynotes, panelists and presenters from rural and urban, businesses large and small, big city and small-town schools, and more, who’re partnering to guarantee a strong employee pipeline.

Governor Reynolds will also announce the six recipients of Iowa STEM’s Computer Science is Elementary award during the event.

Get more information and register for the event.

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Iowa Fine Arts Education Summit registration open

Fine Arts Education Summit logo that reads connecting through standards 2019

Interested in learning more about Iowa's new fine arts standards? Are you new to the standards or familiar but needing more resources for alignment? Would you like to network with peers within and across fine arts disciplines to have conversations around curriculum and best practices? Mark your calendars for June 20 for the inaugural Iowa Fine Arts Education Summit. Come learn from leading state and national voices about the role the arts play in a 21st-century education and how arts educators can make the most of their resources.

The summit brings together teachers (who can earn a license renewal credit), teaching artists, administrators, nonprofit arts leaders and others for a day of networking, learning, and celebration organized by the Iowa Arts CouncilIowa Department of Education and Iowa Alliance for Arts Education. Early bird registration begins April 1 with a discounted rate of $25. Registration includes a light breakfast and lunch. 

For more information, contact Angela Matsuoka at (515) 782-7296 or angela.matsuoka@iowa.gov .

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Our Kids Summer Institute coming June 18-19

Girl holding globe

Save the date for the 15th Annual Our Kids Summer Institute, scheduled for June 18-19, at the FFA Enrichment Center at the Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC) campus in Ankeny. This conference will be for all educators who support English Learner (EL) students.

All PK-12 educators will have the opportunity to network with other educational professionals, discover new strategies for working with EL students in Iowa, and meet national and local experts to enrich practices for increasing EL achievement.

Conference topics Include:

  • Preventing long-term English Learners
  • Key strategies for supporting core content learning
  • EL parent engagement
  • Building academic language
  • Benefits of co-teaching for EL learners
  • EL laws and implications of the laws for instruction

Check out two institute keynote speakers and look for registration information coming soon.   

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Student Statewide Youth Broadband Advisory Council (SYBAC) applications now accepted

Statewide Youth Broadband Advisory Council logo

The application window to apply to Iowa Communication Network (ICN) Statewide Youth Broadband Advisory Council (SYBAC) for the 2019-20 school year is now open. Applications will be accepted until May 10.

ICN's SYBAC engages high school students on a variety of broadband and technology related topics. Throughout the school year, the students meet with ICN’s Leadership and technology leaders from the community to discuss the importance of true high-speed broadband. SYBAC students have discussed a range of topics including: the Internet of Things (IoT), net neutrality, broadband infrastructure, wireless access, and cybersecurity.

Students enrolled in 10th - 12th grades during the 2019-20 school year may apply for membership. Students selected will be notified by ICN in late May. Meetings will take place monthly from September 2019 through May 2020, via video conference, teleconference, and/or in-person. Council members also will communicate via email.

Visit the SYBAC webpage for the application process.

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Title I Selection of Schools opens April 15

Keyboard showing word UPDATE

The Title I - Selection of Schools collection will open in the Consolidated Accountability and Support Application (CASA) on April 15. In order to complete this collection, the certified information in the School Information Update (SIU) must be correct. As soon as possible, access the School Information Update (SIU), found in the Education Portal under EdInfo, to either correct information or to certify that the information remains unchanged for the 2019-20 school year. These data will be pulled from the SIU on April 13. If the data are not correct, your district will be unable to work on the Selection of Schools.

For questions about SIU, contact Margaret Hanson at (515) 281-3214 or margaret.hanson@iowa.gov. For questions about the Selection of Schools, contact the Title I Team

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Spring BEDS changes, updates, and training

Teachers working at table with laptops

Looking forward to spring? And Spring BEDS 2019? As usual, there will be some changes, additions, and deletions to the data collection. There will be three new forms for public districts: Iowa Test Security, EOP Verification, and Biliteracy Seal. Zoom trainings will be held in early May and the application will go live in early to mid-May. Portal users who have Spring BEDS access (as of end of March) will be sent an email in April. Check the Spring BEDS webpage for Zoom training dates (no registration required), updated information, and documentation to be added soon. If data from last year’s collection have not been saved, go to Spring BEDS in the Portal as soon as possible to save copies of the pages as the data will be wiped prior to going live for the 2019 collection.

For assistance, contact Shelly Neese at (515) 281-3111 or shelly.neese@iowa.gov.

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Equitable Services Consultation Agreement now open in the Consolidated Accountability and Support Application

Keyboard with word Learn showing

As is required by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), public schools, districts, and area education agencies (AEAs) must provide equitable services to private school students, teachers, and, in some cases, other education personnel and parents. To meet this requirement, districts and AEAs must engage in nonpublic consultation with the appropriate private school officials and submit the Equitable Services Consultation Agreement in the Consolidated Accountability and Support Application (CASA).

The Equitable Services Consultation Agreement is now open in the CASA. For guidance on the equitable services procedure, visit the Equitable Services for Nonpublic Schools section of the Department’s ESSA Guidance and Allocations page.

For questions, contact Steve Crew at (515) 326-1029 or steve.crew@iowa.gov.

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Changing Preschool Program Standards to Iowa Quality Preschool Program Standards

Preschool teacher with two students painting at easels.

School districts that have previously implemented Head Start Program Performance Standards (HSPPS) or maintained accreditation by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) across all Statewide Voluntary Preschool Program (SWVPP) locations, but plan to change program standards in any location to follow the Iowa Quality Preschool Program Standards (IQPPS) are requested to notify the Department of Education. This includes districts with new school buildings or community partners that will follow the IQPPS as well as existing SWVPP locations intending to switch program standards from HSPPS or NAEYC to IQPPS.

Contact Jennifer Adkins at jennifer.adkins@iowa.gov by June 2019 to provide notification of intent to newly implement the IQPPS for the 2019-20 school year. This communication is not necessary if the district has received an IQPPS verification visit since its original SWVPP application. The district will also need to update session Information reporting to reflect the changes program standard implementation. 

For more information on the Statewide Voluntary Preschool Program, contact Jennifer Adkins at (515) 954-5652 or jennifer.adkins@iowa.gov, or Mary Breyfogle at (515) 326-1030 or mary.breyfogle@iowa.gov.

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Shared Visions Programs - FY21 competitive grants

Group of preschool students sitting on carpet with teacher during story time

A new five year grant cycle begins for Shared Visions Programs (SVP) on July 1, 2020 (FY21) and concludes June 30, 2025 (FY25) with a renewal option for each of the five years.  Grants will be awarded on a competitive basis contingent upon the FY21 state appropriation.

Application materials are anticipated to be publicly available in Nov. 2019 for Shared Visions Preschool and Jan. 2020 for Shared Visions Parent Support.

Shared Visions grants are intended to provide services to Iowa families and children aged birth to five years who are most at-risk. For more information about SVP, visit either the Shared Visions Preschool Program  or Shared Visions Parent Support Program web page.  Interested applicants may find information regarding each program application process and timeline on the corresponding web page as it becomes available.

For questions, contact Amy Stegeman at (515) 725-2273 or amy.stegeman@iowa.gov.

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2019 hiring standard updates for school food service directors

School cafeteria workers serving students lunch

Professional Standards for school nutrition personnel who manage the National School Lunch Program were implemented July 1, 2015.  Recent flexibilities were published March 1, 2019 to be included in the final rule. These changes expand acceptable food service experience to include non-school food service for schools with 2,499 or less enrollment and allow a Master’s degree in an acceptable major without a Bachelor’s degree in one of the specific areas of study. View a chart of enrollment size and hiring requirements for Food Service Directors on the Professional Standards - School Nutrition webpage

There are some exceptions that can be granted for individuals. For questions, contact Patti Harding at (515) 281-4754 or patti.harding@iowa.gov .

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School nutrition training opportunities

Cooks being trained by cooking teacher

The Bureau of Nutrition and Health Services and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach partner together to offer school nutrition training during the summer.

The following workshops will be offered this summer. For workshop dates and descriptions visit the school meal programs training opportunities website.

  • Financial Management for School Nutrition 
  • Procurement Basics
  • Food Safety in Schools 
  • Dollars & Good Sense with Chef Cyndie Story 
  • Manager's Update 
  • Healthy School Meals 
  • New Manager Orientation
  • Culinary Skills for Healthy Meals 

Annual training is required for all who work in school nutrition. Participation in continuing education can help ensure your school meals are planned, prepared and served to meet regulations and are great-tasting, nutritious and safe every day of the school year.  Nutrition directors and/or staff are encouraged to attend. 

Annual training requirements are described below:

  • Nutrition Director 12 hours         
  • Nutrition Manager 10 hours         
  • Full Time (>20 hours) 6 hours         
  • Part Time (<20 hours) 4 hours 
  • Training requirements also apply to Authorized Representatives

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Summer Food Service Program outreach

Young students receiving lunch during summer food program at a city park.

All schools participating in the National School Lunch Program are required to conduct outreach to households on the availability and location of summer meals.

Why is this important? Learning does not end when school lets out and neither does the need for good nutrition. Summer meals provide a healthy option for all children.

Schools can outreach summer meal sites a variety of ways:

  • informational flyers and bookmarks
  • parent letters or emails
  • school newsletters
  • school web and social media pages
  • school’s robo-call system
  • electronic message boards
  • Plus more!

For outreach materials and templates, visit the Summer Food Service Program webpage under Promotional Resources and in the IowaCNP Download Forms.  The Prescription for Summer Food and Fun Outreach Notepads are available for free for use from your school nurse or main office. For more information, contact Stephanie Dross at (515) 281-4760 or stephanie.dross@iowa.gov.

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Planning to remodel your kitchen or add some equipment?

Commercial kitchen equipment

As a reminder, 2 CFR 200.319 does not allow companies that develop specifications or bid documents for projects or equipment to bid on that procurement event. Be sure to utilize an independent design firm that is not connected to a company that will participate in the bid or write your own specifications by collecting information from various sources.  An additional promoter of free and open competition is receiving multiple prices for any informal or formal procurement and to "share the wealth" with any procurements using the micropurchase method. 

For questions, contact Patti Harding at (515) 281-4754 or patti.harding@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