January Newsletter

AEA 267 Team Representatives

Happy Winter!

The team representative discipline reps have put together a newsletter for the month of January. This newsletter will take the place of team rep meetings this month. Please take the time to read it and explore the included links. See you in February!

Connect to Tech: PAR and AIM

The Assistive Technology Team will be presenting information on using the PAR to systematically answer questions relating to AIM/AEM at our February team rep sector meetings. The Read & Write Extension for Google Chrome will be used during the presentation. Prior to the February meeting please use the following link for instructions to download the extension, download the print version of the PAR, and access the AIM/AEM presentation https://docs.google.com/document/d/1R3hvyuxmjTocJIop_0myoQu70vNeSqRLJX7ICfzQuL4/edit?ts=569e8a6f#

Framework for SDI

As you've heard at your team representative meetings, the state has developed an exciting new framework for Specially Designed Instruction. This work is a critical piece of closing the achievement gap for students with disabilities. There are currently a number of schools in the state that have been identified as usability sites. In AEA 267, East Marshall Elementary is one of these sites.
To read more about how this initiative is going across the state and at North Bend Elementary in North Liberty, see the January 2016 edition of Each and Every Child.
The SDI framework will be an important topic at the Special Education Symposium on June 13-14 in Des Moines. Keep your ears open for news regarding attendance at that symposium.

Making the Grade

In Iowa we are fortunate to have many high performing schools. One of the reasons our schools perform so well, is that Iowa Educators are always seeking ways to improve the education we provide. In this spirit, the Iowa Department of Education has released its annual, Iowa Report Card. The Iowa Report Card provides a means to measure student growth and compare a school's performance with other schools in our state. The goal of this report card is to help families and educators monitor a school's growth and target areas for improvement. To create the report card, data is gathered from the Iowa Assessments, graduation rates, school attendance and staff retention. Based on the data collected, a school's performance is then examined across eight measures. These measures are then combined to create an overall score. A school's overall score is expressed as one of six possible categorizations: Exceptional, High-Performing, Commendable, Acceptable, Needs Improvement, and Priority.

For more information and to review your schools performance visit: http://reports.educateiowa.gov/schoolreportcard

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This Cloud has a Silver Lining

Cloud services such as Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides are revolutionizing the way people work and collaborate. Finding the time to learn new skills such as: live document collaboration, sharing online docs, or changing document permissions can be a challenge. Our Integrated Learning Specialist, Cari Teske, can help you utilize cloud services in your daily practice. She will be holding multiple Google training sessions this winter through spring.

If you hear the term, "ICloud" and think Apple has a new weather device, please visit our professional learning website:

  • Let’s Get Started with Google Apps for Education! #15360 (January-April)
  • Let’s Learn Google Forms # 15404 (February –June)
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    Moving from No Child Left Behind to the Every Student Succeeds Act

    In December 2015 the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) replaced the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) from 1965. Every Student Succeeds represents a shift from broad federal oversight of education and offers state and local education agencies, communities, and parents greater decision making and flexibility to focus on student needs from a more local perspective. ESSA requires that states adopt challenging standards in Reading, Math, and Science that are aligned with entrance requirements for credit bearing coursework at institutions of higher education as well as technical and career education standards. ESSA prohibits the Federal Department of Education (DE) from having any authority over a state's academic standards and whereas NCLB required states to apply the same standards to all children, ESSA allows states to develop alternative academic achievement standards for students with significant cognitive disabilities. ESSA eliminates AYP and the 100% proficiency requirement while still requiring states to develop accountability systems that meet identified criteria that are not solely based on standardized test scores alone, but that include other measures as well (such as graduation rate at the HS level, student growth at elementary/middle school level, and other indicators of school quality or student success). ESSA requires accountability in the form of a state report card (see article in this newsletter) that is publicly available. Schools Improvement is not left out; however, it is the responsibility of individual states to identify a category of schools for support and improvement. Related to, ESSA allows states the flexibility to implement improvement strategies and prohibits the DE from prescribing any. The reathorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act with the Every Child Succeeds Act has a number of other provisions, allowances, and guidelines all of which can not be reviewed here; however, as indicated above and unlike the NLCB reauthorization where the guidelines often seemed punitive, prescriptive and intrusive by the DE, this reauthorization sought to address the feedback related to those realities and give more respect and authority back to the local stakeholders in education.