March Community College Leader Bulletin

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Community College Leader Bulletin

 Volume 9, Issue 8                                                                      March 2020

Inside this issue


Jeremy Varner
Administrator, Division of Community Colleges and Workforce Preparation


Dennis Harden
 Chief, Bureau of Career and Technical  Education


Paula Nissen
Acting Chief, Bureau of Community Colleges


Heather Doe
Communications Consultant, Bureau of Community Colleges

Navigating COVID-19


While COVID-19 has disrupted our communities, campuses and schools, we are here to support our partners during this challenging time. Most of the Iowa Department of Education staff, including those in the Division of Community College and Workforce Preparation (division), are working remotely and can be reached through email or phone, just as if they were in the office.

The Department of Education has a COVID-19 webpage where you will find the most current and up-to-date guidance and information for our PK12 and community college partners. Information is added and updated as it becomes available, so please bookmark this page to have the most current information at your fingertips.

During these unprecedented times we remain focused on supporting our schools, community colleges and community partners to ensure Iowa learners are safe, healthy, engaged and prepared. We are here to help you in any way possible and we have a process in place to ensure we respond to all of your questions as quickly and efficiently as possible. 

If you have any questions or concerns, please continue to reach out to your contacts in the division. We are in this together.

Dr. Ann Lebo appointed as new director of the Iowa Department of Education

Ann Lebo

Gov. Kim Reynolds has appointed Dr. Ann Lebo to lead the Iowa Department of Education. The position became available after former director, Ryan Wise, accepted a new position as dean of the School of Education at Drake University. Her first day at the Department was March 13.

Prior to her appointment, Dr. Lebo most recently served as the executive director of the Iowa Board of Educational Examiners. She was previously a secondary principal in Grundy Center, an adjunct faculty member in education and leadership at Waldorf University and serves as Iowa's chief talent officer for the Council of Chief State School Officers. Dr. Lebo was an athletic coach and English instructor at the secondary and postsecondary levels for 17 years and worked in the private sector for five years. She also served on the statewide Teacher Leadership and Compensation Task Force in 2012 and was appointed to the Governor's STEM Advisory Council in 2017.

Dr. Lebo holds an Ed.D. and Ed.S. both in Educational Administration, a M.A. in English Language and Literature, a B.A. in English Education and a B.A. in Speech Communication.

Department issues new COVID-19 guidance related to concurrent enrollment


The Iowa Department of Education has released new guidance to help address the delivery of postsecondary coursework through concurrent enrollment and the postsecondary enrollment program options while schools are impacted by the spread of COVID-19. 

The guidance addresses course delivery, student participation, support and accommodations, withdrawal policies and school year extensions. The guidance is available on the Department's COVID-19 web page as is the previously released guidance and resources for community college leadership. All current guidance from the Department can be found on this page.

Please contact Eric St Clair, Lead Education Program Consultant, Bureau of Career and Technical Education, at 515-326-0274, or at with any questions.

Annual Condition of Secondary Career and Technical Education report now available


The Division of Community Colleges and Workforce Preparation has released its Annual Condition of Secondary Career and Technical Education report. The report provides a comprehensive overview for a five-year period covering academic years (AY) 2015 through 2019, including courses and programs, enrollment, student demographics, career and technical student organizations, career and academic planning, work-based learning, regional centers and more.

Report highlights include:

  • The service area with the most CTE programs offered was Applied Science, Technology, Engineering and Manufacturing with 620 programs representing 34.7 percent of all CTE programs offered in AY19.
  • The secondary CTE participation rate reached a five-year high in AY19, at 68.3 percent.
  • Small to medium-sized school districts had growth in the average number of CTE programs offered and taught, whereas the larger school districts experienced no change or decreased.
  • The use of college-contracted courses in secondary CTE programs grew by more than 45 percent over a five-year period. This growth differed by the size of the school districts with larger ones offering and teaching more
    college-credit contracted courses than smaller school districts.
  • The service areas in which secondary CTE teachers received the most CTE endorsements were in Business, Finance, Marketing and Management, Human Services, Applied Science,Technology, Engineering and Manufacturing and Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources.
  • One hundred percent of Iowa’s 327 school districts reported career-planning outcomes for 2018.
  • The number of work-based learning courses offered increased from AY15 to AY19 for all services areas, including the unassigned category, with the exception of the Business, Finance, Marketing and Management service area.
  • In FY19, there were 19 regional centers providing 165 career academy programs to 6,045 high school students from 125 school districts. Among the 19 regional centers, six are located on community college campuses.

Please contact Dennis Harden, Chief, Bureau of Career and Technical Education, at (515) 281-4716, or with comments or questions. 

New guidance, FAQ on temporary emergency childcare for essential workforce

child care

The Iowa Department of Human Services has issued new information for schools providing temporary emergency childcare for school-age children of essential workers. Essential workforce includes healthcare, first responders and critical infrastructure, such as food production, food service and grocery workers. 

In addition, an FAQ answers questions regarding the requirements for opening a new site.

Questions regarding this guidance may be directed to

Career Academy Incentive Fund applications for 2020-2021 academic year

Career Academy Incentive Fund

The Iowa Department of Education is currently accepting applications for the Career Academy Incentive Fund for the 2020-2021 academic year. 

The fund will provide competitive grants to Iowa school districts and community colleges that team up to start or expand career academies that meet the needs of local business and industry, communities and schools. The incentive fund was established as part of a 2019 law that extends a statewide penny sales tax for school infrastructure called Secure an Advanced Vision for Education (SAVE) through January 2051.

Applications and supporting documentation must be sent to Eric St Clair at by May 22, 2020 to be considered.

Please contact Eric St Clair, Lead Education Program Consultant, Bureau of Career and Technical Education, at 515-326-0274, or at with any questions about this process.

Work-Based Learning Conference transitioning to virtual format

WBL Conference

The Work-Based Learning Conference previously scheduled for April 22-23 is transitioning to a one-day virtual conference via Zoom on Wednesday, April 22. Registration for the conference is $125 (registration cancellation must be received through Thursday, April 2).

The conference will feature keynote speaker, Dr. Casey Sacks, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Community Colleges in the Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education at the U.S. Department of Education. In addition, concurrent sessions covering a wide range of topics will be offered throughout the day. A live chat feature will enable those accessing the concurrent sessions to interact with presenters and other participants. The sessions will be available for one month after the conference through an account on CTE Learn, courtesy of MaxKnowledge.

Instructions on how to access the WBL Virtual Conference, as well as access information for CareerPrepped will be provided to conference participants prior to the conference. More information will be provided on the ACTE National Work-Based Learning Conference page as it becomes available.

Please contact Kristy Volesky, Education Program Consultant for Business and Marketing, Work-Based Learning and the Iowa Intermediary Network, Bureau of Career and Technical Education, at, or at 515-281-3615, for more information.

Registration for careers in IT virtual employer roundtables


Employers who are struggling with filling skilled information technology workforce needs are invited to participate in one of the below interactive virtual roundtable/focus group sessions to review and discuss proposed statewide career awareness materials, which will include not only descriptions of various tech jobs, but also career pathways clearly showing how to enter and advance through a wide range of these exciting and fulfilling careers in Iowa. 

Each session is designated for a particular region of the state in order to address local needs and concerns with hiring a skilled tech workforce. Please share this information with friends, family, colleagues or others with knowledge of careers in computer science and information technology, regardless of industry (i.e. health care, manufacturing). The more participation and direct feedback we receive, the better the final product will be when released in July.

Thursday, 04/16            9 AM - 11 AM     Northeastern/Eastern IA                    

Tuesday, 04/21             1 PM - 3 PM      Southeastern/Eastern IA                    

Friday, 04/24                11 AM - 1 PM     Northcentral/Central/Southcentral IA 

Monday, 04/27              2 PM - 4 PM      Southwestern/Western IA                  

Wednesday, 04/29       10 AM - 12 PM   Northwestern/Western IA                  

This project was developed in support of the Future Ready Iowa initiative, through a public/private partnership between the Iowa Department of Education, Technology Association of Iowa, Office of the Chief Information Officer, and Iowa Governor's STEM Advisory Council.  Please contact Joe Collins, Sector Partnership and Career Pathways Consultant, Bureau of Community Colleges, at, or at 515-725-0646, for more information.

CTE leadership webinars scheduled for the 2019-2020 academic year


The Iowa Department of Education's Bureau of Career and Technical Education is hosting a series of leadership webinars for school administrators and leaders who are interested in learning more about career and technical education, Perkins funding and CTE programming.

The monthly webinars are scheduled from 3:15 to 4:15 on the third Monday of each month via Zoom Meeting, and can be accessed at

Upcoming Webinars:

April 20, 2020           Sector Partnerships 

May 18, 2020            Perkins V Update

Past Recorded Webinars – Leadership and 2020 Perkins Updates

Sept. 23, 2019         Perkins 101

Oct. 21, 2019           Perkins V Secondary/Postsecondary Claims and Ineligible Expenses

Nov. 18, 2019          Information Technology and Service Areas

Dec. 16, 2019          Secondary CTE Program Application

Jan. 21, 2020           Equity and Nontraditional Program Focus in Perkins V

Feb. 17, 2020          Comprehensive Local Needs Assessment (CLNA for Perkins V)

March 9, 2020         Work-Based Learning Intermediary Networks

Please contact Lisa Stange, Education Program Consultant for Family and Consumer Sciences, Bureau of Career and Technical Education, at, or at 515-242-5032, for more information.

Career opportunities within the division

join our team

We are seeking talented individuals who are passionate about excellence in education to fill several positions over the next few months within the Division of Community Colleges and Workforce Preparation.

We don't just talk about inclusion; it's how we do business. Our team is globally diverse and we seek candidates whose differences will challenge our ideas, spur innovation and ultimately help build stronger programs serving the people of Iowa.

The division is currently seeking applicants to fill a community college bureau chief position as well as an education program consultant for career and technical student organizations.

The division is also in the process of reviewing applicants for the community college student success consultant and expects to advertise for an executive officer position in the coming weeks.

To learn more about these opportunities, please contact Jeremy Varner, Administrator, Division of Community Colleges and Workforce Preparation, at, or at 515-281-8260.