September 2019 School Leader Update

school leader update - a monthly journal for iowa educators

September 2019

Our vision: All learners are safe, healthy, engaged, prepared

director ryan wise

I’m frequently asked during the summer if the pace of work slows down at the Department of Education. With schools and the legislature both out of session, the volume of questions is certainly lighter. At the same time, Department staff use this time to continue driving toward the vision that ALL Iowa learners are safe, healthy, engaged and prepared. And we’ve made significant progress on each front over the past few months.

Legal Lessons

attorney nicole proesch

In this September Edition of Legal Lessons, I bring to you Resident or Not - that is the Question, New Rules Noticed and Adopted by the State Board, and an update on Chapter 103 Rules.

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

Top of page

New financial literacy guidance

Cash with word EDUCATION written across it.

The Iowa Department of Education has released an updated finanical literacy guidance document. Governor Reynolds signed SF139 into law during the 2019 legislative session that changes the implementation of Iowa’s new financial literacy requirement (SF2415) to the graduating class of 2020-2021. For questions, contact Stefanie Wager at (515) 725-7842 or

Top of page

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. Also, Iowa Learning Online staff are happy to work with your district regarding options for your transition to use of Department of Education-approved private providers of online courses or to your own district-developed online courses.

Top of page

Iowa 21st Century Community Learning (TITLE IV B) Grants application for Cohort 15

21st Century Grants logo

Iowa 21st Century Community Learning (TITLE IV B) Grants application materials will be updated by the first week of September.  $6,780,000.39 will be awarded in this grant competition. Three technical assistance meetings and one virtual meeting will be held to assist applicants with questions about applying for this federal program. Locations and dates for the meetings will be posted on the 21st Century page of the Iowa Department of Education website. This is a competitive application to provide afterschool and summer school programs for at-risk children.    

A minimum of 40 percent Free and Reduced Lunch is required to apply.  In the last competition (Cohort 14), 11 awards were made to fund 25 sites serving 1,555 children with an average of 69 percent Free and Reduced Lunch.  More information and a summary of the program are available on the Department website.

For questions, contact Vic Jaras at (515) 242-6354 or  

Top of page

Career and Technical Education leadership webinars

Technology graphic with word 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 (CTE), 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 Stangeat (515)242-5032 or .

Top of page

Transfer in Iowa web portal assists students with college transfers (even high school students)

Transfer in Iowa logo

Iowa’s Regent universities offer the Transfer in Iowa website to assist students navigate the college transfer process and plan for their academic future.

Each year, thousands of students, including high school students taking college-level courses, transfer from Iowa’s community colleges to state public universities. This is a big step, so the website was designed to provide information to answer the question - How will my credits transfer?  

Students will discover how their community college courses transfer to the Regents by following links on the website. They can also learn about individual program articulation agreements between various institutions.  

In addition to using this online resource, students should discuss their plans with both community college and university advisors. The website provides contact information for transfer advisors at each institution.

School districts should encourage the use of Transfer in Iowa by all students interested in attending college, as well as academic counselors.

Top of page

Registration open for fall 2019 Iowa College and Career Readiness Academy courses

Iowa College and Career Readiness Academy

Registration is now open for fall 2019 courses through the Iowa College and Career Readiness Academy. The Academy was developed by the Iowa College Student Aid Commission in partnership with the Iowa Department of Education and AEA Iowa, and has been endorsed by the Iowa School Counselor Association (ISCA). These Iowa-specific online courses designed for administrators, school counselors and other college access professionals will begin on September 16 and run through November 10.

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 they can select an option to earn license renewal or graduate credit through Drake University, Grand View University or Morningside College.

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

Top of page

Nominate a Presidential Scholar by Sept. 30

Graphic with flag image and nominate a presidential scholar on it.

The Iowa Department of Education is seeking nominations for outstanding high school seniors for the 2019-20 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 2020 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 General Component Presidential Scholar Nomination form, or the CTE Component Presidential Scholar Nomination form. Nominations must be submitted no later than Sept. 30.

For questions regarding the nomination process, contact Deborah Darge at or (515) 242-6176. Read more about the Presidential Scholars Program.

Top of page

Students: Apply for Senate Youth Program

United States Senate Youth Program logo

Students are urged to apply for the United States Senate Youth Program, which is a unique educational experience for outstanding high school students interested in pursuing careers in public service.

The annual program will be held in Washington, D.C., from March 7-14, 2020. 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, which was established in 1962, 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. 1.

The United States Senate Youth Program coordinator for Iowa is Stefanie Wager. Contact her at (515) 725-7842 or  Additional program information, including the student application, can be found on the U.S. Senate Youth Program page.

Top of page

Celebrating Constitution Day

U.S. flag with copy of U.S. Constitution

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 232nd anniversary of our national Constitution. While compliance is mandatory, the implementation details are left to local districts.  More information, including additional Constitution Day resources, is available here.  If your district is planning something special to celebrate Constitution Day or you have any questions, contact Stefanie Wager at, or 515-725-7842. If you have legal questions about the matter, contact  

Top of page  

Statewide Social Studies professional development modules available

African American woman using computer, wearing ear buds.

Two years of professional development modules in social studies are now available for educators statewide. These modules are free and available anytime from AEA Learning Online.

Year 1 Modules (2017-18)

  • Identify and apply the structure of the new standards in my classroom.
  • Understand and apply the instructional shifts of the new standards in my classroom.
  • Create and use compelling and supporting questions as part of the inquiry process with my students.

Elementary Year 1: Introduction to the Standards Course

Secondary Year 1: Introduction to the Standards Course

Year 2 Modules (2018-19)

  • Identify the basics of creating coherent unit plans.
  • Create a coherent unit based on a bundle of standards with aligned questions, sources, and tasks.

Elementary Year 2 Putting the Standards Together Course

Secondary Year 2 Putting the Standards Together Course

Year 3 modules will be available in by the fall of 2020. Questions? Email

Top of page

MINK collaborative for science educators

MINK logo

During the 2019-2020 school year Iowa will continue collaborating with Missouri, Nebraska, and Kansas (MINK) to provide professional learning and networking opportunities for science educators. The focus of this year's online meetings will be Using Formative Assessments to Improve Science Learning. To learn more about this opportunity and to access the resources from last school year, go to the MINK Website.

Top of page

Iowa Science Coaches Network (ISCN)

High school students working with a model of DNA.

The Iowa Science Coaching Network is an hour-long webinar led by instructional coaches from Southeast Polk Community School District. The webinar serves as a platform for coaches to learn about the science standards and best practices, share resources used to coach teachers, provide professional development to teachers, and reflect on coaching strategies through coaching conversations and by posing questions to other coaches. All webinars are recorded and can be found with resources on the ISCN website

For more information about either of these opportunities, contact Eric Hall at 515) 971-7238

Top of page

Reporting Individual Career and Academic Plans for academic year 2018-19

Career graphic, words about goals and education

Pursuant to IAC--281 (279) and Chapter 49, administrative rule, Iowa school districts will report career planning outcomes for the July 1, 2018 through June 30, 2019 academic year, on or before September 15, 2019 via the Consolidated Accountability and Support Application (CASA)and the Comprehensive School Improvement Plan (CSIP).  For assistance with year-end reports, contact the vendor directly. School districts should have the following in place at the end of each academic year:

  1. A District Team comprised of the required team composition 281 IAC 49.5(b) & 49.5(b)(1); 
  2. A CIS from the list of platforms that meet state standards 281 IAC rule 49.6(279); 
  3. A District Plan written by the school district staff 281 IAC rule 49.5(1); and, 
  4. Individual Career and Academic Plans (ICAPs) for students in grades eight through twelve 281 IAC rule 49.3(1). 

For questions, contact Katy Blatnick-Gagne at (515) 281-8353 or

Top of page

Student Reporting in Iowa reminders and highlights

Finger on computer keyboard pressing PROCESSING key

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

  • Your SRI contact person (as identified in Spring SRI, 2019) should have received an email in mid-late August highlighting the following:
    • A link to a recorded webinar on Certified Enrollment. 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.
    • Requirements for the Gold Star list for this year’s Certified Enrollment
  • If no one in your district (or the wrong person) received that email, make sure to update your District Contact Information on SRI Fall.
  • The SRI website is a tremendous resource for dates to remember, training opportunities this fall, recorded webinars of past trainings, and 2019-20 documentation – including the 2019-20 SRI Data Dictionary and updated addendum. Remember to share this link with all staff working on student reporting through the year and/or certified enrollment this fall.

Top of page

2019-20 Consolidated Accountability and Support Application (CASA) requirements

African American male working at computer

Below is an outline of this year’s reporting requirements. For questions, contact Meredith MacQuigg at (515) 494-5610 or

Due Sept. 15

Due Oct 15

Consolidated Application for Federal Title Programs (public only)

Due Dec. 15

Top of page

U.S. Department of Education disaster aid information

Sand bags, people in boat on flooded street.

The Assistant Secretary of the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, hosted a teleconference to provide information regarding disaster funding relief signed on June 6, 2019. Thirty-one states and territories are eligible for the $165 million of funding based upon disasters that have occurred this past year. Iowa’s eligibility stems from the tornadoes and floods that occurred in 2019.

A Disaster Recovery Unit (DRU) has been put into place at the U.S. Department of Education (USDE) for disaster assistance. The DRU has been put into place to provide technical assistance, support and accountability of dollars spent. DRU Director, Meredith Miller, provided additional information regarding the application process and available programs. The USDE will be sending additional information about timelines and the application process, including technical assistance. They anticipate the application will be made available in September. If you are one of the districts impacted, contact Rob Olsen at (515) 281-4743 or for additional information.

Top of page

New products provide local network flexibility

Iowa Communications Network logo

Iowa Communications Network (ICN) announces the launch of two new products for education users.

  • Managed Local Area Network (LAN) provides a reliable local connection. With a single LAN platform, users will have added security, better performance, and universal access to network drives, printers/scanners and software programs. Coverage for Managed LAN is based on the number of Ethernet ports required.
  • Managed Wireless LANprovides a wireless solution for increased mobility and improved end user connectivity. Coverage for Managed Wireless LAN is based on the number of wireless access points required.

Both services are E-Rate Category 2 eligible under Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) Schools and Libraries Program.

To learn more about these new services visit the ICN website.

Contact ICN’s account consultants at for additional information.

Top of page

5 reasons to attend an Iowa Communications Network (ICN) cybersecurity session

Graphic showing pad lock.
  1. Knowledge is power
    Learn about the State of Iowa's Cybersecurity Plan and the role the ICN plays in it.
  1. Hear best practices and solutions
    Vendor agnostic discussion of best practices and solutions from a program/policy and technical perspective.
  1. Network with peers 
    Share lessons and learn where others are having success in cybersecurity.
  1. Learn from case studies
    Walk though realistic scenarios with your peers and generate action plans.
  1. It's three hours + no catch
    Our goal is to educate our users on security topics. This session is meant to be informative to create an open discussion among participants.

Register today. Check the ICN website for updates as the event approaches.

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.

Top of page

Conference: Early childhood trauma-informed care

Early Learning Fall Institute conference logo and dates

Registration is under way for an Oct. 3 mini-institute to learn more about the impact of trauma and how to support children.

The institute, called the Trauma-Informed Care and Early Childhood-Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports, will take place the day before the two-day Early Learning Fall Institute, set for Oct. 4-5.

The institute will examine how young children impacted by trauma are at a particular risk for developing delays and exhibiting challenging behavior due to the vulnerability of their rapidly developing brains. Any professional who works with young children should plan to attend this session.

Due to the complexity of how trauma impacts children, it is important for early educators to integrate a trauma-informed approach to their work with children and families.  Participants will learn to:

  • Recognize the signs and symptoms of trauma;
  • Understand how trauma impacts children’s learning and development;
  • Consider what you can do to support children and families when trauma occur.

The institute will take place at Prairie Meadows Conference Center in Altoona. There are limited seats, so those who want to participate are advised to register soon.

Top of page

Renewal of Teaching Strategies GOLD®

Preschool children running outside.

Iowa Code 279.60 requires the use of the GOLD® online system to assess every resident prekindergarten student or four-year-old student enrolled in a district sponsored program. Based on these requirements, districts and community partners should renew their existing agreements. 

The existing GOLD® online contracts for programs utilizing the Iowa Department of Education’s Umbrella Agreement require annual renewal. Administrators should have received communication from Teaching Strategies regarding renewal. If a subscribing program has not received communication about renewal, please contact Teaching Strategies directly (contact details below). Existing subscribers may also complete the online renewal form

For information about GOLD® renewal, contact Mary Breyfogle at (515) 326-1030 or, or Teaching Strategies ( or 1-866-736-5913).

Top of page

Food safety boot camps

Two students in school cafeteria carrying lunch trays.

September is Food Safety Month.  The Bureau of Nutrition and Health Services is partnering with Iowa State University Extension to offer Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) Food Safety Boot Camps for school districts regionally across Iowa. School nutrition programs are required to have a written food safety plan, or HACCP, which uses a framework of Policies and Procedures to guide practices of food service staff.   

ISU Extension Specialists are trained to provide science-based food safety education; they can provide useful and practical resources for nutrition staff to help create a culture of food safety in local school communities.  Three boot camp opportunities are planned to be offered from 2 – 4 p.m. in the following locations:  

  • Van Buren County Hospital Community Services Building in Keosauqua – Sept. 23
  • Glenwood High School – Sept. 25
  • Sheldon High School – Sept. 30

The goal is to annually offer additional training locations across the state. There is no cost to attend.  For more information contact Jean Easley at (515) 360-5149 or

Top of page

news headlines

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