Iowa Area Education Agencies

Did You Know? The Powerful Story of Iowa Area Education Agencies

April 24, 2015

From the desk of Lisa Bartusek, Iowa Association of School Boards Executive Director.

I am frequently reminded of my belief that Iowa’s area education agencies get too little credit for their important role in our state. This week I attended the AEA Boards of Directors’ Conference, an annual event the AEAs provide for the 78 members of AEA boards. I added a few more talking points to my spokesperson toolkit about the impact of Iowa AEAs. There’s much more to the AEA story, but consider these three simple takeaways. 

Creating Change: Among many examples, Iowa AEAs are working together to support Iowa school districts to develop instructional leadership through the state’s Teacher Leadership and Compensation (TLC) effort, leveraging limited resources, providing training for teachers and administrators as they take new roles, helping districts plan and then overcome challenges. If Iowa is to be successful in statewide efforts to move the needle in education, the AEAs are the mechanism to do so. The best news in my opinion, closing speaker Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds gave praise for this effort—a sign that state elected leaders (at least this one) do understand the value of AEAs.

An Impact for Students—and for Taxpayers: One session described how AEA media services support the common goal of AEAs to ensure reading and literacy. We saw an array of online literacy resources provided to Iowa schools through Iowa AEA Online. These interactive multi-media resources, such as ebooks, engage students in reading and comprehension in ways the traditional book can’t. Coupled with AEA supports for teacher instructional skills, the online resources are unlocking doors of learning for Iowa students across the state.

  • The impact for student lives: priceless.
  • The impact for taxpayers: The retail cost if schools bought these resources separately $28.30 per student. Purchased cooperatively by the AEA system: $2.77—a 90 percent savings.

A Wealth of Volunteer Leadership: Iowa’s 78 AEA governing board members have staying power.  Generally, they are among the state’s most experienced board members:

  • Total years of service among all AEA board members: 850 years
  • Average length of service: 10.9 years
  • Number with 15 or more years of service: 22

I know that many Iowa school board members and superintendents could add to these talking points about the value of our AEAs. As we celebrate their 40th year of service this year, take time to learn more about how our AEAs are Impacting Lives, and to say thank you to your AEA staff, chief administrators and governing boards.
 

Best wishes,
Lisa Bartusek, Executive Director

Iowa Area Education Agencies
Central Rivers AEA Grant Wood AEA Great Prairie AEA Green Hills AEA Heartland AEA Keystone AEA Mississippi Bend Northwest AEA Prarie Lakes AEA
All Iowa AEAs are required to adhere to state and federal laws that prohibit discrimination in programs, activities and employment practices. For specific information, contact your AEA.
Iowa Area Education Agencies
Connie Johnson
Statewide Communications Director
Iowa Area Education Agencies
712/335-3588 ext. 2015
cjohnson@plaea.org

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About AEAs
Iowa Area Education Agencies (AEAs) were created in 1974 by the Iowa legislature to ensure equal educational opportunities for all children from birth through age 21. As regional service agencies, AEAs provide special education and school improvement services for students, families, teachers, administrators, and their communities.


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