January 2020 School Leader Update

school leader update - a monthly journal for iowa educators

January 2020

Looking back, looking forward

director ryan wise

Each new year brings the opportunity for reflection and planning. This is particularly true for me as I prepare to transition from my role as director of the Iowa Department of Education to dean of the School of Education at Drake University. While I am still finalizing my transition timeline, I do know for certain that Iowa schools have accomplished much in the past year and have further success on the horizon.

Legal Lessons

attorney nicole proesch

A new year is finally here. It’s time for new beginnings and new resolutions. This year my resolution is to “Be the change you wish to see in the world” ~ Mahatma Gandi.  Instead of walking away from the negatively in the world I need to be a change. So don’t forget to BE THE CHANGE in your districts and schools. 

Now in this New Year’s edition of Legal Lessons I bring you information reminders on Enrollment Policies in SWVPP, Expulsion and suspension Policies in Early Childhood Classrooms.   

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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Second quarter claim period for Title programs now open

Calendar and clock images for deadline reminders

Claims for all Title programs are now submitted through the Consolidated Accountability and Support Application (CASA). All agencies are required to submit a claim during each of the following claim periods.

  • Quarter 1 - November 1-30 (CLOSED)
  • Quarter 2 - January 1-31
  • Quarter 3 - April 1-30
  • Quarter 4 - June 1-15 (expenditures MUSTbe made by June 30)

Zero-dollar claims are permissible. Only the superintendent or school business official on file with the Department will be able to submit the claim as final. For assistance, contact the Title Program consultant listed here

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Iowa Math Chats

Math symbols

Iowa Math Chats are five-minute video clips designed to share the information Iowa educators really need to know about implementing the mathematics standards.

  • Why are clusters so important?
  • What are the different types of clusters?
  • How the standards are not new math
  • What should 85 percent of instructional time be spent on?
  • What are the priority standards?

Check out Iowa Math Chats here and be sure to read the blog about how they connect to implementing the standards.

For questions, contact April Pforts at 515-314-6243 or april.pforts@iowa.gov. For additional information, visit the Q&A mathematics blog.

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Need a Spanish Teacher?

Group photo of Visiting Teachers from Spain

The Iowa Visiting Teachers from Spain Program enables foreign teachers to have the opportunity to teach in an accredited primary or secondary school in the United States as cultural exchange teachers for up to three years, with a possible two year extension. This provides school districts and accredited nonpublic schools with the opportunity to hire Spanish and dual language teachers.

The visiting teachers from Spain are certified Spanish language educators with at least three years of experience. Local school districts hire the visiting teachers in accordance with all other local policies in terms of salary scale, licensure, and local system requirements. Applications are being taken now for 2020-21. If you are interested in hiring a teacher from Spain, see Visiting Teachers from Spain to find the application and other information about the program. For more information, contact Isbelia Arzola at (515) 326-5962 or isbelia.arzola@iowa.gov.

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Schedule a visit or workshop with the 2019 Iowa Teacher of the Year

Chris Burke

Chris Burke, 2019 Iowa Teacher of the Year, would love to be part of your professional development meetings in the New Year. Burke is in his 13th year of teaching 8th grade mathematics at Eleanor Roosevelt Middle School in Dubuque, and currently serves as a mathematics content leader for his building and district. He shares a theme that defines the culture of positive relationships. Whether student to student, teacher to student, or teacher to teacher, these relationships are what drive learning every day

As part of his year of service to Iowa, he is seeking opportunities to work with the best resources Iowa has for the future of education, our currently practicing teachers. Contact Chris at cburke@dbqschools.org to schedule a complimentary visit or a workshop.

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Does your district have the next Iowa Teacher of the Year?

Teacher of the Year logo

Thousands of talented Iowa educators lead and inspire their students, but only one is chosen annually as the state’s ambassador to education. The deadline to nominate the 2021 Iowa Teacher of the Year is April 1.

The award is an opportunity to recognize an exceptional Iowa teacher who is helping redefine education. Nominations will be accepted from anyone, including students, parents, school administrators, colleagues, college faculty members, and associations (self-nominations, and nominations from family members are not accepted).

Nomination forms can be found at Iowa Teacher of the Year 2021.

The Iowa Teacher of the Year serves as an ambassador to education and as a liaison to primary and secondary schools, higher education, and organizations across the state.

George Anderson of Cedar Rapids was named the 2020 Iowa Teacher of the Year.

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Statewide 2020 Iowa Youth Straw Poll

Elections 101.org logo

It’s time to register for the 2020 Iowa Youth Straw Poll, less than one week before the historic Iowa Caucuses. Schools can be engaged in this statewide fun, interactive civics exercise to help students participate in learning about voting. Register here.

On Tuesday, Jan. 28, the Iowa Secretary of State will conduct the 2020 Iowa Youth Straw Poll. Any age group can participate. For additional resources, please review Elections 101, a curriculum written by Iowa teachers for Iowa students. This 12-day curriculum is updated with resource materials created for 30-, 60- or 90-minute modules. An addition for 2020 are lesson plans celebrating the 100th anniversary of women’s right to vote and an in-depth study of women’s role in politics. For more details, contact Sherill Whisenand at 515) 725-0427 or Sherill.Whisenand@sos.iowa.gov.

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Regional Braille Challenge event

Boy using braille

Mark your calendars for Iowa Department of the Blind’s (IDB) Braille Challenge! The event is February 29 at the IDB in Des Moines.

Developed by the Braille Institute, the Braille Challenge is the only academic competition of its kind in North America for students who are blind or visually impaired. Its purpose is to motivate students to hone their braille literacy skills, which are essential to academic and employment success.

Students in grades 1–12 who can read and write braille may participate. Categories of competition test braille skills such as reading comprehension, spelling, speed and accuracy, proofreading, charts and graphs.

Explore IDB’s Braille Challenge page for updates, resources and links to practice tests.

The top 50 students across North America will be invited to the Braille Challenge Finals in June in Los Angeles, at the University of Southern California. Let’s send a student from Iowa!

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Shared Visions Parent Support Program: Competitive grant application available soon

Parents with preschoolers

On Jan. 13, instructions for the FY21 Shared Visions Parent Support Program grant application will be available on the Shared Visions Parent Support Program web page in the Application section. To be considered for funding, applications must be submitted to the Iowa Department of Education through the online grant application system, IowaGrants.gov.  Grants will be awarded on a competitive basis contingent upon the annual state appropriation.    

Additional information regarding the application process and program requirements may also be found on the Shared Visions Parent Support Program web page. Questions regarding the competitive grant process and application must be submitted in writing to Amy Stegeman at amy.stegeman@iowa.gov by March 9.

All submitted questions will be addressed in a Frequently Asked Questions document available on the Shared Visions Parent Support Program web page.

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School wellness policy triennial assessment deadline

Students eating at tables in school cafeteria

The Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 expanded the requirements to strengthen policies and increase transparency. The final rule requires Local Education Agencies (LEAs) to conduct an assessment of their wellness policy. The first triennial assessment must be completed by June 30 that includes a report that documents:

Compliance with the wellness policy,

  • How the wellness policy compares to model wellness policies, and
  • Progress made in attaining the goals of the wellness policy.

Wellness policies are assessed during the School Nutrition Administrative Reviews that takes place every five years. Participate in an upcoming webinar to learn more about the Triennial Assessment and resources to assist with compliance. The webinar will be recorded and a link will be sent to all those that are registered.

School Wellness Triennial Assessment Overview Webinar

Wednesday, Jan. 15, from 1:30 - 2:30pm

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

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news headlines

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