August 2019 School Leader Update

school leader update - a monthly journal for iowa educators

August 2019

Educators: Put your oxygen masks on first

director ryan wise

Summer is rejuvenating. While still busy, the warmer weather and the break from regular routines provides educators time to rest, reflect and plan for the year ahead.

One of the sure signs that the summer is winding down is the School Administrators of Iowa (SAI) annual conference. Each year, SAI assembles national thought leaders to give Iowa’s administrators a final dose of insight and inspiration before students and teachers return and a new school year begins.

This year, SAI invited me to host a “fireside chat” with the conference keynote speaker, Tom Rath. Tom is an internationally renowned author whose research focuses on finding and developing strengths in yourself and others, maximizing your contribution to the world, and ensuring your own well-being. Tom’s presentation and the insights from my conversation with him offer a formula for making summer’s rejuvenating properties last well into the school year.

Legal Lessons

attorney nicole proesch

In this August Edition of Legal Lessons, I bring to you Top Five Registration Issues, Fee Reminders, Fee Waivers, and FERPA Responsibilities.

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

For questions regarding students with disabilities  contact Thomas Mayes at (515) 242-5614 or

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Register for the 2019 Coaching Forum: Coaching to Sustain MTSS

Diverse students with arms and hands placed in center of circle.

The 2019 Coaching Forum: Coaching to Sustain MTSS will be held on Sept.10, at the Scheman Building at Iowa State University in Ames. This event features sessions that focus on developing personal coaching skills, supporting professional development for adult learners, designing effective coaching systems and using a variety of coaching tools to support the coaching process. For more detailed session information check out the Forum Agenda here.  Registration is limited to 210 attendees for this one day event. To register, access the Eventbrite link.

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Iowa Learning Online to end services after 2019-20 school year

Iowa Learning Online Logo

Iowa Learning Online (ILO), the Iowa Department of Education’s initiative to expand high-quality online learning opportunities, will be available through spring semester of the 2019-20 school year. After that, districts will either need to create their own online classes or work with an approved private provider. ILO will no longer be able to provide courses after the 2019-20 school year because there is no long-term, sustainable funding source for operating the program.

Enrollment for Fall and Spring ILO courses is under way now. Iowa Learning Online staff are happy to work with your district regarding options for your transition to use of Iowa Department of Education-approved private providers of online courses or to your own district-developed online courses.

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Training for the new student data collection process for Student Reporting in Iowa

Graphic with word TRAINING.

Registrants for the new student data collection process for Student Reporting in Iowa (SRI) will receive a confirmation email regarding the session on Monday, Aug. 5, or Tuesday, Aug. 6.

For those who have not registered, there are  limited seats available at the following locations:

Aug. 26, 12:30-3:30 p.m. at Grant Wood AEA in Cedar Rapids

Aug. 27, 8:30-11:30 am at the Grimes Building in Des Moines

Aug. 28, 8:30 to 11:30 am at Green Hills AEA in Creston

Sept. 10, 8:30 to 11:30 am at the Grimes Building in Des Moines

Sept. 10, 12:30 to 3:30 pm at the Grimes Building in Des Moines

Due to space restrictions walk-ins cannot be accepted. You must be registered to attend.

Contact Kim Wilson at (515) 281-3757 or , to register or if you do not receive your confirmation email in August.

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Student Reporting in Iowa reminders

Image of a calendar and a clock.

Does your district have new staff working with student reporting this fall?  If yes, log into Spring SRI (2019) and update the district contact information so the correct people receive the emails regarding SRI (Student Reporting in Iowa) updates, deadlines, documentation, etc. If  more than one person is listed as a contact, use a semi-colon to separate the email addresses.

If your district has new staff working with the Student State ID system or Student Locator Framework, contact Becca Wemhoff at (515)  281-5471.

Mark your calendars for these upcoming certification deadlines related to Student Reporting in Iowa (SRI) 2018-19:

Aug. 24:  Graduate Verification.  A recorded webinar is available to review on the SRI website.

Aug. 24: Non-Fall Supplementary Weighting.  Guidance on this application can be found in a recorded webinar on the SRI website. 

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Title IA, Selection of Schools limited reopen period

Executives working on finances.

This year’s decrease in Title I support affects the amount of funding districts will receive and the amount the district has available to serve nonpublic schools through the consultation process. As part of the Iowa Department of Education’s effort to mitigate any adverse effects of the decreased Title I support, the Department is offering a reopen period for adjustments to be made to the Title IA, Selection of Schools. If your district needs to make adjustments to the buildings that will be served, contact Geri McMahon at (515) 281-3944 or as soon as possible to request your submission be reopened for necessary edits. The reopen period will be Aug 15 - Aug. 30. Requests to reopen must be received by Aug. 15. 

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Register to attend Perkins V pre-conference workshop

Audience at a conference.

The Iowa Department of Education is hosting a Perkins V pre-conference workshop on Sept.16, the day before the Iowa Association of Career and Technical Education Conference.

The Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act, commonly referred to as Perkins V, was signed into law last July. The law amends and reauthorizes the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006, which provides almost $1.2 billion in federal support for programs in all 50 states and U.S. territories, including support for integrated career pathway programs. Iowa receives nearly $12 million annually, equally divided between secondary education and community colleges.

The workshop will be held at the FFA Enrichment Center in Ankeny from 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. Anyone interested in learning more about Iowa’s transition plan and hearing updates on the development of a statewide four-year plan to support full implementation of Perkins V should complete the online registration form before the Aug.30 deadline.

For questions, contact Pat Thieben,  at (515) 281-4707 or

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Leadership webinars for Career and Technical Education, Perkins

Adults participating in a webinar.

The Iowa Department of Education Bureau of Career and Technical Education will once again be hosting monthly leadership webinars for those administrators and school leaders who are interested in learning more about Career and Technical Education, Perkins and CTE programming. This is especially helpful for those  who are new or need a refresher and would like some additional training and networking. Dates, topics and times will be shared at a later time. Normally, these have been held after school on a Monday once a month. Interested?  Contact Lisa Stange at (515) 242-5032 or .

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Successful Progression for Early Readers (ELI) funds available

Two young, elementary school boys reading.

This year the Iowa Legislature appropriated 7.8 million dollars for public school districts to implement Early Literacy Progression (Iowa Code Section 279.68) during the 2019-20 school year. The application is now available on the IowaGrants website. Districts are encouraged to complete this application as soon as possible, but no later than Oct. 31. Implementation guidance and instructions for accessing the application are found on the Iowa Department of Education’s website.For questions, contact Jen Adams at (515) 418-1336 or

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FAST literacy benchmark and norms update

Teacher helping student at desk.

FastBridge Learning, provider of the FAST assessments, has updated benchmarks and norms for the 2019-20 school year. This impacts the literacy measures used in Iowa, as well as select math measures. These updates resulted from an expanded national user base that allowed a more representative view of national demographics and subgroup performance. This extensive work by FAST is intended to keep the norms and benchmarks unchanged for the next five years. No action is necessary as they will be automatically applied in the FAST system to earlyReading (composite and subtests), CBMreading, and aReading. 

Specific measures, grade levels, and a direct comparison of previous and current benchmarks will be available in the Technical Report in the FAST Knowledge Base late summer. Register to view a brief explanation of the changes. For questions, contact Jen Adams at
(515) 418-1336

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ELPA21 data now available

Elementary students taking a test at their desk.

Each spring, Iowa schools are to administer the approved English language proficiency assessment to 100 percent of the identified English language learners (EL) in Iowa. This last spring the tests were administered between Feb. 5 and March 29. Participating in the assessment were 254 public school districts and 73 non-public schools.

To access individual student, school, district, and state reports, those districts testing ELs may log into their A&A accounts on the Iowa Department of Education Portal, choose ELPA21, and then choose the Online Reporting System (ORS) from the dashboard’s pull-down menu. More information on how to use the ORS is also available.

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Statewide Voluntary Preschool Program updates for 2019-2020

Preschoolers playing musical instruments with teacher.

As of the 2019-20 school year, 321 of 327 school districts will offer the Statewide Voluntary Preschool Program (SWVPP).  During the 2018-19 school year, the SWVPP served approximately 26,711 children (of which 25,002 four-year-olds generated state funds).  Additional details can be located on the SWVPP Fact Sheet

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

For more information about the SWVPP, go to the Statewide Voluntary Preschool Program webpage, or contact Jennifer Adkins at (515) 954-5652 or, or Mary Breyfogle at (515) 326-1030 or

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School food service procurement reviews and regional training

Food service worker checking inventory in food warehouse

Procurement procedures and processes is a key focus area for the United States Department of Agriculture. The procurement review will again be conducted during the National School Lunch Program Administrative Review (AR) in  2019-20.

Individuals responsible for school food service purchases should plan to attend regional procurement training concerning procurement review.  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 (RCCIs), 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.

Register for the training by going to the IDOE calendar.  For questions,  contact Keerti Patel at (515) 681-2300 or

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Iowa school nutrition training resources

School nutrition workers

School Nutrition Professional Standards are intended to ensure staff who manage and operate school nutrition programs have adequate knowledge and training to meet program requirements. Support from administration for staff to participate in professional development is essential to the financial success of school nutrition programs.

Iowa Department of Education offers a variety of in person, webinar, and on-line training opportunities throughout the year:

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Verification webinar for 2019-20

School lunch being served to a students by school cafeteria employee.

This training will cover the purpose of verification, who must complete verification and the required timeline.  Education on choosing your sampling process and how to determine your required sample size will be provided.  The ICAVES Web verification section will also be covered.  In addition, the various forms used in the verification process will be shown. Highlights of the United States Department of Agriculture Verification Collection Report will be presented. Register for the verification training webinar now.

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