July 2019 School Leader Update

school leader update - a monthly journal for iowa educators

July 2019

In Search of Deeper Learning? Visit Iowa

director ryan wise

Summer provides time to catch up on reading. My mid-season standout is In Search of Deeper Learning: The Quest to Remake the American High School by Jal Mehta and Sarah Fine. I was eager to read this book as Jal was a primary professor in my doctoral program and Sarah was a classmate in a parallel program.  

In Search of Deeper Learning is insightful and thought-provoking, notable for the extensive qualitative research (six years, 30 schools, 750 hours of observation, and over 300 interviews), which results in a rich portrait of the American high school experience. While most of the schools they visited were in coastal cities, their observations aligned with my school visits here in Iowa. Jal and Sarah also issue a challenge that I believe Iowa educators are ready to accept.

Legal Lessons

attorney nicole proesch

In this July Edition of Legal Lessons, I bring to New Rules Noticed and Adopted by the State Board and Supplement Not Supplant Guidance from the U.S. Department 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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Social Justice in Education Conference

Registration is now open for the Social Justice in Education Conference, which will be held August 8-9 at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines. Attendees will hear about promising practices and strategies that support equitable access and multi-cultural instruction, rigorous and unbiased curriculum, and other accelerated interventions to help all students succeed. There is no registration fee for the event.

Training specifically for equity coordinators and administrators will be conducted by the Office for Civil Rights on August 8. Sessions covering a range of social justice topics, such as multi-generational trauma, achievement gaps, disability rights, and bias, among others, will be covered on August 9. Educators, counselors, administrators and student services staff from K-12 schools, community colleges and four-year public and private institutions, as well as business and industry, are encouraged to attend.

For more information, contact Jeanette Thomas, education program consultant at the Iowa Department of Education, at (515)281-3636, or jeanette.thomas@iowa.gov.

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When English Learners become proficient

Teacher at blackboard, students sitting at table raising their hands to answer teacher.

Students are now exited (reclassified) and move to non-EL status upon testing proficient on the English Language Proficiency Assessment (ELPA21). ELPA21 proficient students may not be kept in EL status. This is new under Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), effective in spring 2019. The ELPA21 addresses personal, social, and academic language use and needs. Note any ongoing literacy needs upon reclassification, as all students who exhibit literacy needs can expect local supports; typically in Iowa this is provided through an Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) framework regardless of categorization, label, or status.

Each district’s data entry person must ensure that exited (reclassified) students are coded appropriately as a 4 and moved into monitoring status to ensure that unwarranted weighted funding is not given. Collecting funds for non-ELs is not legal.

For more information, see the English Learners webpage and the Re-entry FAQs for English Learners. For information about monitoring, contact your AEA EL consultant.

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Emergency Operations Planning webinars

Hand with STOP RISK painted on palm

The Department of Education offered monthly training webinars throughout this past school year to support school districts in establishing high-quality emergency operations plans (EOP) in school districts and individual schools. Our last webinar was held on June 11. All of the webinars are recorded and posted to the Department’s website.

The May and June webinars covered the topics listed below.

  • Session 8 webinar – May 21 - Interview with Karen Gale from the FBI. She provides support through the Family Assistance Center after an incident occurs.

  • Session 9 webinar – June 11 - Focuses on the next steps of your EOP once your School Board has approved the plan(s).

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

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Iowa Learning Online Fall 2019 courses open for enrollment

Iowa Learning Online Logo

Iowa Learning Online is now accepting enrollments for the Fall 2019 semester. To better meet individual student needs and diverse schedules of Iowa schools, ILO will offer two separate cohorts during the term offset by two weeks.

  • Fall 2019 Cohort A: Aug. 23 to Dec. 19 (early enrollment ends at 4 p.m. Friday, Aug. 30)
  • Fall 2019 Cohort B: Sept. 9 to Jan. 17 (early enrollment ends at 4 p.m. Monday, Sept. 16)

Each standard enrollment in Cohort A or B includes a three week trial/grace period. After the grace period, the local school will be billed a $285 fee per enrollment. If a school/student situation does not fit within either cohort (such as a late enrollment or other special circumstance), schools may contact ILO to discuss options for a special accommodation.

Visit our website to see the course descriptions, log in or sign up to enroll your students.

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Secondary CTE Reporting Applications due

Photo of welder

School districts that have not yet completed the Secondary Career and Technical Education (CTE) Reporting Application are asked to do so immediately, as the June 15 due date has passed. The enrollment and performance data collected on Iowa students who complete courses in state-approved career and technical instruction is analyzed and reported to the U.S. Department of Education to fulfill career and technical education grant funding requirements (Perkins funds).

Reporting is very simple since this is a transition for states preparing for implementation of the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act, commonly referred to as Perkins V.

Directions on completing the FY19 Secondary CTE Reporting Applications is available on the Iowa Department of Education website. For questions, contact Pat Thieben at (515) 281-4707 or pat.thieben@iowa.gov.

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Submission of Perkins claims for 2018-19 school year

Urgent spelled out on cell phone screen

School districts with outstanding Perkins claims for the 2018-19 school year need to submit them as soon as possible The Iowa Department of Education must review and approve all outstanding claims for the 2018-19 school year by the end of July.

Any claims submitted by school districts after July 31, 2019, are required to go through a state appeals process with no guarantee of the claim being paid out.

For questions, contact Pat Thieben at (515) 281-4707 or pat.thieben@iowa.gov.

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Work-based learning projects now available to schools, students, through online clearinghouse

Future Ready Iowa logo

More than 100 work-based learning projects are now available to students and schools for the 2019-20 school year through a new virtual state clearinghouse.

The Clearinghouse for Work-Based Learning connects K-12 students, schools and employers through shared projects that enable students to learn through professional experiences. The goal is to expand access to work-based learning projects statewide so that students can connect what they’re learning in the classroom to careers.

The clearinghouse is part of the Future Ready Iowa initiative, which is about growing a skilled workforce statewide by connecting Iowans to the education and training needed for rewarding careers. Gov. Reynolds established the clearinghouse through an executive order last year.

The clearinghouse has two key features:

  • A project board, in which business partners post projects that can be embedded into K-12 classrooms
  • An inventory for teachers to find student internships, apprenticeships and other on-site work-based learning opportunities statewide

To check out projects, read success stories and find out how your school can participate, visit https://clearinghouse.futurereadyiowa.gov/.

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Iowa’s new Multi-Tiered System of Support data system

Data management

The Iowa Department of Education is partnering with Panorama Education to customize their Student Success product as Iowa’s new Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS) Data System. In fall 2019, the system will be provided to schools, districts, and Area Education Agencies at no cost to support early literacy for students in grades K-6. Additional features will be added over time to support MTSS and Early Warning System efforts.

During the 2019-20 year, Student Success will provide a central location to analyze screening and progress monitoring data, track interventions, and view Healthy Indicator Reports. It will not replace assessment systems (such as FAST) for assessment administration, but will receive data from those systems on a nightly basis. Information on training for Student Success will be available later this summer and it is anticipated that statewide training will occur in October.

For questions about the system, contact Janell Brandhorst at (515)281-3033, or  janell.brandhorst@iowa.gov, or Connor Hood at (515) 326-5284 or  connor.hood@iowa.gov.

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Attend a free cybersecurity session with ICN

ICN Cybersecurity Roadshow logo

October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month, and Iowa Communications Network (ICN) cybersecurity team will be traveling to various locations across Iowa to facilitate security discussions with our authorized users.

This three-hour awareness event will present information related to best practices and security challenges. This is a free event geared towards ICN's authorized users.

Cedar Falls Roadshow; Sep 26, 1 - 4 p.m.

Ottumwa Roadshow; Oct 3, 1 - 4 p.m.

Pocahontas Roadshow; Oct 10, 1- 4 p.m.    

Des Moines Roadshow; Oct 22, 1 - 4 p.m.

Council Bluffs Roadshow; Oct 29, 1 - 4 p.m.  

Check the ICN website for updates as the event approaches.

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Statewide Voluntary Preschool Program teacher assistants

Preschool teacher at table with preschool students

The Iowa Department of Education has received questions from the field regarding qualifications of preschool teacher assistants. The type of preschool program and program standards determine the type of qualifications required for teacher assistants. The Qualifications for Preschool Teacher Assistants chart provides options for meeting state and federal requirements. Program administrators and classroom staff should refer to the program standards and criteria (as well as applicable local policy and procedures) to support decisions and requirements for new hires as well as those for existing preschool staff members.

For information about the Statewide Voluntary Preschool Program for Four-Year-Old Children, 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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MyTeachingStrategies™ GOLD Assessment System Checkpoints for 2019-20

Blocks spelling preschool

The three checkpoint dates for the 2019-20 school year will be November 15, 2019, February 21, 2020, and May 22, 2020. Utilizing the three checkpoint periods ensures fidelity in administration of the assessment in a valid and reliable manner. Additionally, data from the three checkpoints is best used both in formative and summative means as teachers and administrators are determining appropriate instructional decisions for students. Districts are encouraged to complete the fall and spring checkpoints to represent the beginning and end of the preschool program year as represented in Iowa Code § 279.60.

Completing fewer than three checkpoints will affect the availability of various reports in the MyTeachingStrategies system. Guidance and procedures regarding GOLD® may be found on the Teaching Strategies in Iowa web page and the Statewide Voluntary Preschool Program web page under the subheading Assessment.  

For information about GOLD® checkpoints, contact Mary Breyfogle at (515) 326-1030 or mary.breyfogle@iowa.gov, or Teaching Strategies Tech Support for Iowa at (866)246-5352.

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