Spring 2023 School Leader Update

School Leader Update

Spring 2023

Honoring teachers

Director Chad Aldis

One of the best parts of this job is meeting teachers, school administrators and education stakeholders—people who are passionate about the success of Iowa’s children and the future of our state. As I visit schools and see first-hand the dedication and innovation going on across Iowa, one thing is abundantly clear—Iowans value education and Iowa’s schools are a source of pride for communities across the state.

Paramount to the success of our schools are our teachers. They have helped generation after generation of students pursue their dreams and acquire the knowledge and skills they’ve needed for lifelong success. As one of those students–a proud graduate of Clinton High School—I know the difference that great teachers can make in a child’s life.

With Teacher Appreciation Week just around the corner, it is a great reminder to recognize and honor those teachers who made a difference in our lives and in the lives of our children. Without question, the success of our students and the future of Iowa are intertwined and it is our teachers who pave the way to that success. 

A map for mitigating emergencies

Superintendent, sheriff, vendor working on incident mapping

During an emergency in a school building, minutes – seconds, really – make a difference. What’s the problem? Where’s the problem? Are students and faculty somehow involved?

Putting the right location data, on the right map, for the right people, at the right time can help answer those questions and enable emergency personnel to get to the scene as fast as possible.

Iowa’s Critical Incident Mapping program is offered to public and private schools in the state at no cost by the Iowa Department of Education through private contractor GeoComm, as part of Governor Reynolds’s School Safety Initiative. The program will create and provide detailed indoor maps of schools and surrounding grounds, and key information needed by school safety authorities, public safety agencies, and first responders for streamlining and reducing response times to emergencies inside Iowa's schools.

Read more about the first school district undergoing the mapping process and hear what the superintendent and county sheriff have to say about the program.

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Guidance for House File 68 and Teacher and Leadership Compensation Choices

Teacher Leadership and Compensation logo

New guidance on House File 68 and Teacher Leadership and Compensation (TLC) programs was released Friday, April 28. The guidance document provides options for districts when utilizing TLC funds.​

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‘Teaching for Impact’ registration is open

Teaching for Impact logo

Registration is open for the June training Teaching for Impact to be held June 13-14 at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines.

Sponsored by the Iowa Department of Education and the Iowa Area Education Agencies, the training is for all educators supporting learners with disabilities. There is no cost to attend.

The purpose of the training is for educators to develop and expand knowledge and skills related to the education of learners with disabilities from birth to age 21. Emphasis will be placed on integrating information into practice across a variety of educational settings in these content areas: college and career readiness, mathematics, literacy, early childhood, leadership and positive learning environments.

Three dynamic speakers have been invited to headline Teaching for Impact including Jennifer WolfsheimerHedy Chang and Clay Cook. They bring a wealth of personal and professional experience to the field of education.

Educators and providers from early childhood to high school, school administrators, AEA professionals and higher education faculty supporting pre-service educators and providers will all benefit from the training.

Learn more on the Teaching for Impact registration site.

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Medication administration course required for unlicensed personnel

Person opening pill packet

School nurses can delegate the task of medication administration to unlicensed personnel and the Medication Administration training assists the school nurse in this delegation.

Iowa school districts and accredited nonpublic schools are required to use this free course provided by the Iowa Department of Education. The course has been condensed and updated to be interactive and engaging while promoting safety in the steps of medication administration by unlicensed personnel. The course contains basic medication administration knowledge and step-by-step procedures. There is also a voluntary module covering awareness for schools that stock medications. 

A blank certificate will be generated when an individual obtains 100 percent completion and passing scores on all 17 modules/quizzes. The certificate is only valid after a hands-on skills check to demonstrate competency in medication administration is completed and documented by the school nurse. To register, go to the aealearning online catalog  For questions, contact melissa.walker@iowa.gov

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Student Reporting in Iowa (SRI)

Reporting written on computer keyboard

Another school year is almost completed and that means it is time for Spring Student Reporting in Iowa.

Cedar Connect and Spring SRI (Student Reporting in Iowa) are currently open for test data runs. Districts are strongly encouraged to use the next few weeks to get data as clean as possible before the end of the school year so when final collection occurs (after the last day of school) there will be minimal issues. Remember to also resolve all Level II errors in SRI as well as review the SRI reports to verify data accuracy. 

Spring SRI is focused primarily on 1) Graduates; 2) Attendance/Chronic Absenteeism; 3) Non-fall Supplementary Weighting for Courses; 4) SF2360 reports; and 5) Discipline Removals.  

Spring SRI must be certified by June 22.

The Assessment Accountability application is also open – all public districts need to verify their assessment participants, sub-groups and PAY (partial academic year) students. For those who need a refresher to this application, a webinar is scheduled on May 10 at 1:30 p.m. Click here to join. Certification deadline for this application is June 23.

For questions, contact an SRI Consultant

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Pilot testing for the Iowa eTranscript Gateway has begun

Iowa eTranscript logo

The Iowa eTranscript Gateway will modernize Iowa high school transcripts by providing a platform that interfaces with a district’s Student Information System (SIS) to create and transmit  standardized electronic student transcripts. Free of charge and accessible by all Iowa school districts, this new system makes creating, sending and processing Iowa high school transcripts significantly more efficient and less costly for high schools, colleges and universities. 

The Iowa Department of Education, Iowa Board of Regents and Iowa State University have collaborated to bring this exciting idea to life. The initial phase of the pilot includes a series of internal review steps to identify and resolve issues with the Iowa eTranscript Gateway. Next, the districts that volunteered will be enrolled in the pilot testing program. 

The pilot will continue into the 2023-24 school year. Once complete, the Iowa eTranscript Gateway will be fully functional so any participating Iowa high school can begin sending their students’ eTranscripts to colleges, employers and others through a secure online system. 

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Professional Standards for School Nutrition Programs

School cafeteria staff holding container of fresh food for serving

New school food service directors are required to meet USDA minimum education and work experience standards. If your school district will be hiring a food service director, access Professional Standards-School Nutrition to review hiring and annual training requirements.

Annual training is required for everyone working in school nutrition. Encourage your director and staff to seek out professional development opportunities to ensure school meals meet regulations, are great-tasting, nutritious and safe.  

  •  Culinary Skills with Local Foods, led by Chef Brenda Windmuller, six Iowa locations, June 1,7,8,27
  •  New Director Meet-Up at the School Nutrition Association of Iowa Conference, June 21 (Des Moines)
  •  Introduction to School Nutrition Leadership, virtually-led by the Institute of Child Nutrition, July 10,17,24,31  
  •  Healthy School Meals, led by bureau consultants, July 18 and 19 (Ames)
  •  Free and Reduced Application and Direct Certification SY23-24 Webinar, July 20 
  •  Director’s Update: Fresh Ideas for School Nutrition 2023, August 1 (Ames)
  •  Back-to-School Webinar Series, led by bureau consultants, August 2 and 3 

Register at Education Events - Schools. For questions, contact jean.easley@iowa.gov .

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Iowa students complete cybersecurity training


Congratulations to the students of Iowa Communications Network’s (ICN) Statewide Youth Broadband Advisory Council (SYBAC) who have made cybersecurity a priority and completed online cybersecurity training from Fortinet.

Throughout the school year, the students worked through the Network Security Expert (NSE) 1 certificate. They developed a foundational understanding of the ever-increasing threat landscape and common network security concepts. The certificate is valid for two years from the date completed.

Do you know a high school student who would like to learn more about technology and cybersecurity? Encourage them to visit the SYBAC webpage to learn about being in the next round of students in May. For questions about the council, contact lori.larsen@icn.state.ia.us.

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Scanlan Center for School Mental Health professional learning resources

Group of professionals at conference

The Scanlan Center for School Mental Health (SCSMH) has two exciting new professional learning resources. First, save the date for Iowa BEST 2023. Join more than 1600 education professionals, school mental health champions, and researchers from across the state Oct. 5-6, at the Iowa Events Center downtown Des Moines.

Second, the SCSMH is offering free online learning modules for all Iowa educators. Scanlan Center for School Mental Health has partnered with experts across the nation to develop asynchronous learning modules spanning the topics of suicide prevention and postvention, trauma-informed instruction, educator wellness, bully-free classrooms, and much more. These are added to the other professional development and trainings designed to meet high-priority topics for Iowa schools and communities. Many of these opportunities are offered for free to Iowa educators, and some include free licensure renewal credit. Visit the SCSMH website to learn more. 

For questions, contact Dr. Kari Vogelgesang at kari-vogelgesang@uiowa.edu.

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Mental health peer support for Iowa educators

Peer support info logo

The Scanlan Center for School Mental Health has partnered with Togetherall to bring around-the-clock mental health peer support to Iowa educators.  

All PreK-12 educators in Iowa now have free, immediate access to Togetherall, an anonymous, 24/7 digital mental health and peer support community that is monitored by mental health professionals.

Togetherall provides an online community where members can share feelings, emotions, and experiences in a confidential space with those who understand what they’re going through.

Create your account today! 

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2023 Iowa School Mental Health Awards

Mental Health Awards logo and info

The 2023 Iowa School Mental Health Awards program celebrates individuals who have made significant contributions to cultivating a positive mental health culture within an Iowa PreK-12 school, district, or AEA. Nominations are now being accepted for two award categories: 

#1 Iowa School Mental Health Hero. This award honors an educator or a practitioner for their exemplary leadership and commitment to expanding, promoting, and strengthening mental health and well-being supports.

 #2 Mental Health Influencer of the Year Student Award. This award tributes a visionary youth leader who lends their voice and talents to advancing mental health awareness and initiatives within their school, district, region, or state.

Honorees will receive:

Learn more and nominate a deserving colleague or student by May 26, 2023

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Connecting classrooms together with Voice

ICN Voice services logo

Many Iowa schools are turning to the Iowa Communications Network (ICN) for deployment of Voice services to connect classrooms throughout their buildings. With Managed Voice Service platform, educators can customize settings using any web enabled device to set up voicemail, set call forwarding, manage contacts, and more. The mobility of the Voice solution allows teachers to turn their focus back to their students.

Benefits to schools include:

  • Inter-office connectivity
  • Classroom safety
  • Private network
  • Predictable billing
  • Budget savings during the summer
  • And much more.

Iowa’s educators are encouraged to learn more on ICN’s website at Connecting Classrooms Together with Voice.

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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