Fall 2022 School Leader Update

School Leader Update

Fall 2022

Innovation drives us forward

Director Ann Lebo

Preparing all students for success and ensuring that we have the right tools and support in place to meet their unique needs is something that I believe sets Iowa apart. Iowans value excellence in education. We know that innovation arises by exploring what is possible, connecting ideas and building strong teams of education, business and community leaders who understand that we all play an important role in student success and outcomes. 

Growing our teacher workforce and finding new and innovative ways to streamline the path from student to educator is so important for the future of our schools. Iowa’s new Teacher and Paraeducator Registered Apprenticeship program is being nationally recognized for its innovative approach and cross-functional collaboration across state agencies, institutions of higher education and K-12 partners to get it off the ground. We are well on our way with this pilot program to support around 1,000 paraeducators and students in 134 schools, ultimately creating over 500 new paraeducators and 500 new teachers!

We can learn so much from each other and the innovative ways our schools are addressing recruitment and retention efforts locally. Take for example, the Council Bluffs Community School District and their partnership with Iowa Western Community College to offer high school students college-level courses in education. Currently 28 high school students are taking community college courses with the intent to become teachers within the district.

Does your student want to serve on the Iowa State Board of Education?

Iowa State Board of Education logo

Applications are being accepted for the student member of the Iowa State Board of Education. Each year the Governor appoints a student to serve as a nonvoting member of the State Board. At the time of application, the student must be a full-time, regularly enrolled tenth or eleventh grade student in an Iowa school district. The term of the student member starts May 1, 2023, and ends April 30, 2024. The State Board meets at least seven times during that term, with most meetings taking place in the Grimes State Office Building in Des Moines. The deadline for submitting an application with all required documents is Feb. 1, 2023. Visit the Iowa Department of Education’s website for additional information.

Top of page

Iowa e-Learning Central now offers course sharing

E-Learning Central logo

Wish your district could add a class offering? Or do you have an extra seat in a classroom you wish you could fill? Iowa e-Learning Central’s exchange is now open, enabling schools across the state to share classes.

The benefits of the exchange are three-fold:

  • It has the potential to expand a district’s curriculum offerings.
  • It can fill empty seats.
  • It enables students to take courses that either aren’t available in their own districts or when a student’s schedule doesn’t permit them to take a particular course.

The exchange enables parents and students to see whether a specific course is available from a public-facing web page. On another page that is for schools only, administrators can list empty seats and look for specific available courses. Administrators can access the school-only page by clicking the help link on the e-Learning Central main page. Directions for how to sign in will be there.

The exchange offers the user the ability to search for specific courses, including grade levels, start and end dates and whether the course is for a semester or trimester format.

For questions, contact Gwen Nagel at gwen.nagel@iowa.gov or Stacie Stokes at stacie.stokes@iowa.gov.

Top of page

School vulnerability assessment update

School building interior, hallways with student lockers

The Iowa Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (HSEMD), the lead agency for the school vulnerability assessments announced that in response to a request by Governor Reynolds, they are working with their vendor, TetraTech, to have all assessments completed by the end of this current calendar year (Dec. 31). 

Accordingly, Tetra Tech will begin the process of rescheduling those schools that were originally scheduled to be assessed next year. 

HSEMD recognizes that this may create an inconvenience for those schools that were scheduled for next calendar year. However, by shortening the timeline for assessments, schools will have more time to apply for and utilize the funding through the School Safety Improvement Fund grants and address the issues identified in the vulnerability assessment. 

Top of page

Preschool professional learning webinars

Webinar graphic

Pass this professional learning webinar information along to preschool teachers and administrators.

Panorama will host a webinar dedicated to navigating the preschool data contained within Student Success on Wednesday, Nov. 9, from 2-3 p.m. Attendees will learn how to find and drill down into data for preschool children. When: Nov. 9, 2:00 PM Central Time (US and Canada) Topic: myIGDIs and Panorama Student Success

Register in advance for the webinar.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

Immediately following the webinar, Renaissance will host a professional learning session to answer the question "myIGDIs Fall Data...Now What?" Teams and teachers administering myIGDIs are encouraged to attend. The learning session webinar is scheduled to last 90 minutes. Register here for the professional learning session.  

For questions, contact Mary Breyfogle at mary.breyfogle@iowa.gov or 515-326-1030 with questions.

Top of page

Student Reporting in Iowa updates

Reminder graphic

Another season of Certified Enrollment has closed.  The Student Reporting in Iowa (SRI) team commends and thanks school district staff for patience and hard work during that process.

Upcoming dates to remember for Student Reporting in Iowa : 

  • Cedar Connect and SRI open for Winter SRI on Dec. 1
  • Dropout Verification opens Dec. 1
  • Dropout Verification certification deadline is Dec. 15
  • SRI Winter certification deadline is Jan. 27 

If you are not familiar with the Dropout Verification application, or want a refresher, view this short webinar.

Top of page

Department launches dyslexia webpage

Dyslexia logo

Do you know how schools are required to respond to students with dyslexia or who have characteristics of dyslexia? 

In October, the Iowa Department of Education launched its new dyslexia webpage as a first step in supporting educators and families in collaborating to best meet the needs of students with dyslexia or who have characteristics of dyslexia. 

Dyslexia is a condition that impacts up to 20 percent of children. To prevent severe reading concerns, it’s important that educators recognize the characteristics of dyslexia and work with their school, Area Education Agency (AEA) and families to best meet student needs. This includes talking openly about dyslexia and characteristics of dyslexia.

The website outlines facts about dyslexia, required and recommended responses to dyslexia/characteristics of dyslexia and required dyslexia training for AEA educators, preschool and elementary teachers and others. 

See the Department dyslexia webpage for more information. 

For questions, contact Kathy Bertsch at kathy.bertsch@iowa.gov or Barb Anderson at barb.anderson@iowa.gov.

Top of page

Apply for 21st Century Community Learning grants

21st Century Grant logo

The Iowa 21st Century Community Learning Grant helps at-risk children with afterschool and summer school programs. This is a five-year grant open to schools and community groups. The application materials have been updated.  Over  $7 million dollars will be awarded in this competition.    

Applicants can access a virtual technical assistance meeting for assistance with questions about applying for this federal program.

A technical assistance meeting is scheduled for Nov. 4, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Letters of intent to apply must be submitted by Nov. 18 via an online application and survey of students’ needs.

A minimum of 40 percent Free and Reduced Lunch is required to apply.  In the last competition (Cohort 17), seven awards were made to fund nine sites serving 1,599 children with an average of 65 percent Free and Reduced Lunch. Learn more about grant application, timelines, guidance and resources.

This is a competitive application that is due Dec. 16 and then scored in a peer review.  Successful applications will start July 1, 2023.

For questions, contact Vic Jaras at vic.jaras@iowa.gov  515-242-6354 or 515-402-2729 (cell).

Top of page

Annual upload for Secondary Career and Technical Reporting Application

Career and Technical Education logo

The annual upload for the Secondary Career and Technical Reporting Application (SCTERA) courses in a program begins Jan. 2 and is to be completed by Jan. 31 (SCTERA work must be completed before a district can certify their SRI file). A state initiative in Iowa’s Perkins V state plan is the reporting of student participation in work-based learning courses. Refer to the following resources for how to report your work-based learning courses:

Reporting District Work-Based Learning

The first step is uploading a complete and finished 2022-23 Student Reporting in Iowa (SRI) file, then following the SCTERA Reporting guidance handbook.

SRI cannot be certified until SCTERA is completed. The Bureau of Career and Technical Education will be holding two virtual ZOOM training webinars to walk through the steps on how to complete the report. These training webinars will be held Wednesday, Dec. 14, 9 -10 a.m. and Wednesday, Jan. 4, 9-10 a.m.

Click here to register for this webinar.

Drop-in office hours are scheduled on the following dates and times for assistance and to answer questions. 

  • Jan. 5, 7:30 - 8:20 a.m.
  • Jan. 12, 3 - 3:50 p.m.
  • Jan. 19, 7:30 - 8:20 a.m.
  • Jan. 26, 3 - 3:50 p.m.

For questions about drop-in office hours, contact Matthew Eddy at matthew.eddy@iowa.gov.
For questions about SCTERA, contact Jeffrey Fletcher at jeffrey.fletcher@iowa.gov or 515-321-7309.

Top of page

Sign up to receive Senior Year Plus program updates

Update graphic

Want regular updates for the Senior Year Plus program? You can sign up to receive them.

Senior Year Plus serves as an umbrella for a variety of programs designed to provide high school students access to courses that have the potential to generate college credit and include programs such as concurrent enrollment, postsecondary enrollment options (PSEO), career academies, the Summer College Credit Program and Advanced Placement.

Program updates for Senior Year Plus will be shared as needed. Updates will include guidance and reports related to Senior Year Plus issued by the Iowa Department of Education. Information is applicable to postsecondary and secondary educational administrators, educators, school counselors and advisors.

Sign up to receive Senior Year Plus program updates.

For questions, contact Jen Rathje at jennifer.rathje@iowa.gov or 515-326-5389.

Top of page

Recording available for Senior Year Plus: The Basics of Concurrent Enrollment Webinar

Two people listening to a webinar

A recorded webinar is available on the Senior Year Plus Concurrent Enrollment Program.

A general overview of senior year plus and information on a variety of topics related to the Concurrent Enrollment Program is available. Topics include student eligibility, postsecondary course opportunities through the program, the difference between concurrent enrollment and Postsecondary Enrollment Options, requirements related to advising, support services, tuition, textbooks, course retakes, awarding credit and how students’ individual career and academic plans connect to senior year plus program opportunities.

The webinar recording and PowerPoint presentation may be accessed on the Department’s website.

For comments or questions, contact Jen Rathje at jennifer.rathje@iowa.gov or 515-326-5389.

Top of page

Transfer in Iowa assists students with college transfers

Transfer in Iowa logo

Iowa’s public universities offer the Transfer in Iowa website to assist students who are navigating the college transfer process and planning 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. To accommodate this big step, the website was designed with easy links to answer the question “How will my credits transfer?” Students can also use the website to learn about individual program articulation agreements between various institutions.  

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

School districts and academic counselors should encourage the use of Transfer in Iowa by all students who are interested in attending college.

Top of page

Sign up for content-specific newsletters

Person subscribing to newsletters on computer

New, content-specific newsletters are available on the Iowa Department of Education website. Sign up to receive newsletters including the Career and Technical Education Bureau Quarterly News and Updates, the Work-Based Learning Coordinator Newsletter and the Career and Academic Planning News. Other new newsletters also include:

  • Financial Literacy Update
  • Literacy News You Can Use
  • Mathematics Update: The Only Subject that Counts
  • Program Update for Senior Year Plus
  • Science Update
  • Social Studies Update
  • World Languages Update

Sign up to access newsletters and communication resources for timely updates, information, professional development opportunities and more.

Top of page

Apply for STEM BEST® + HD funds to enhance workplace experiences in the classroom

STEM graphic with glass test tubes in glass jar.

Applications are being accepted for the STEM BEST® (Business Engaging Students and Teachers) + HD (High Demand) Program, which brings schools and businesses together to provide students with real workplace experiences to explore and develop high-demand skills.

The program equips students to experience the industry or business environment firsthand and offers an introduction to career opportunities, allowing students exposure to high-demand skills required for workplace and future success.

The STEM BEST Program supports teachers and industry professionals in developing a work-based learning model that incorporates STEM subjects like mathematics and science with experiential learning opportunities to emphasize the necessary high demand skills needed for the workplace. Incentive funds can be used for curriculum development and coordination, educator training and development in workplace-classroom integration, and preparing the work-based learning environment.

This opportunity is available to Iowa public and non-public school districts and buildings serving students in grades K-12.

The deadline for submitting applications is Dec. 14.

The funds can be used for:

  • Facility upgrades
  • Purchase of industry grade equipment
  • Innovative instructional space
  • Time for program planning with partners
  • Travel needs
  • Integrating curriculum into existing courses

Read more and access the application.

Visit the STEM website.

Top of page


Career and Academic Planning News is an electronic publication that is sent out quarterly. It contains resources and professional development opportunities for school counselors, Individual Career and Academic Plan team members and teachers who support academic and career planning. Sign up for Career and Academic Planning News here.

For questions, contact Erica Woods-Schmitz at erica.woods-schmitz@iowa.gov or 515-330-0185.

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