Volume 15 Num 4 March. 2021
Iowa Family & Educator Partnership Newsletter
Learn More About the
IA Family & Educator Partnership
& Access Resources at

“Do You Need Help With That?”

Sometimes asking for help can be such a struggle for some of us. And yet, we expect parents and students to ask questions, when we ourselves might have trouble asking for help? Asking for help does not make us weak or unprofessional; it's quite the opposite. We learn by asking questions. Most people are more than happy to help a student, parent, friend etc. and yet we still sometimes hesitate in asking. Over the years, I’ve taken several calls from parents after an IEP meeting only to hear that parents/guardians needed more clarification, They didn’t understand or they misunderstood and didn’t ask any questions. Why didn’t they ask questions at the meeting? They didn’t want to be perceived as not understanding the Special Education language and didn’t want their question to seem silly. I always tell parents/ guardians to, “Ask questions.” “No question is a silly question.” In this crazy ever changing world we're living in right now, we need to remember that it’s ok to ask questions/for help. And, if you are being asked the question, it’s ok to say we don’t have the answer right now, but I’ll get back to you. We are all being hit with questions that a year ago we never imagined we would ever have to answer in our lifetime. Remember to ask questions with empathy, gentleness, mindfulness and awareness, especially in those difficult conversations/meetings we all have from time to time. We’re all feeling a little overwhelmed these days, so don’t forget to ask for help when you need it. When you’re in class, chatting, or in a meeting always make families and students feel comfortable so they will feel safe in asking questions when they might need help.  

Annette Clarahan
If you, or your families have questions that we can help with, let us know. Also, remember our Family and Educator Partnership (FEP) link on the GPAEA website has great resources for parents and educators.

Kelly Wallace                                         Annette Clarahan
319-753-6561 ext. 3034                           641- 682-8591 ext. 5517 kelly.wallace@gpaea.org                           annette.clarahan@gpaea.org                                                                                             
Helpful Resources for Educators & Families

It is essential that all parents, educators, and families have access to resources and tools to support their understanding of the special education and early intervention processes in Iowa. Thus, the Iowa Department of Education, Area Education Agencies (AEAs), local school districts, and community partner agencies have collaborated to provide valuable resources on the i3 website.
Resources are filtered by the following age group:

Then filtered by Educators, or Parents and Families. With the following topics you can easily search for the appropriate resource. 

· Evaluations  
· IEP/IFSP Meetings
· Department of Education Documents
· IEP/IFSP Services and Supports
· Procedural Safeguards and Rights
· FAQs & Policy Clarification

Click on the link below to see what you’ve been missing out on:

Would you like to know more about the FEP program and the service we offer? Click on this link to watch a short, informational video about some of the services we can provide for families & educators.

Registration deadline:
Friday, May 14, 2021
*Must be registered by this date to receive the goodie bag.
Search: View Upcoming Conferences-May 22nd 2021 – Creative Play & Loose Parts Registration questions: contact Lori Mueller, CCR&R Training Specialist, lomueller@caeiowa.org
You’re invited to a FREE outdoor family concert, meal, and creative activities!
Friday - May 21st
Iowa Wesleyan University,
Mt. Pleasant
Campus grounds behind Howe Student Activity Center
RSVP at earlydevelopment.org & be entered to win a door prize.
Connect with Your Resources
Virtual Transition Conference
April 26, 2021
5:30 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.

Iowa Vocational Rehabilitation Services is hosting a virtual Transition Conference for students with an IEP in grades 9-12 and their parents. This Transition Conference will provide the opportunity to meet with various community agencies and learn about resources that will help prepare them for their transition to adulthood. We hope that you will be able to join us via Zoom and meet with resources in your community!

Resources that will be present: Indian Hills Intermediary, DHS, RISE, Great Prairie AEA, IVRS, Job Corps, Disability Services, Legal Aid & First Resources
To learn more about each Provider Breakout Room click here. 

If you have questions, please email jody.whitmore@iowa.gov or jennifer.kimble@iowa.gov.

To join the Zoom session on May 4, from 5:00-7:00 p.m. click here or go to https://zoom.us/j/97907328523.
Understanding Evaluations & Eligibility

The Iowa Department of Education, AEA’s, and districts have developed the Iowa IDEA Information (i3) website to provide parents, families, educators, and partner agencies with a one-stop-shop for procedures, guidance, and resources for both early intervention and special education. To access these additional resources, please visit the Resources page within the i3 by clicking here: https://iowaideainformation.org/resources/ .

This year in our bi-monthly FEP Newsletter we will dive into sections of the i3 website to help you prepare to be active participants in your child’s IEP Meeting. 

Per federal and state rules and regulations, for a student to be eligible for special education services and supports, the student must have both a disability and a need for specially designed instruction in order to access and make progress in the general education curriculum. AEAs, local districts, and families work together to complete comprehensive evaluations that examine whether a student needs specially designed instruction due to an educational disability. Comprehensive evaluations are completed to determine both initial and continued eligibility for special education.

By visiting https://iowaideainformation.org/special-education/evaluations-eligibility/ you can learn more about the evaluation process, including the following:

For free online educational opportunities from the PACER Center visit http://www.pacer.org/workshops/ 
Look for the live streaming symbol below, to find classes offered on the web.                         

Do you know others that would benefit from this
newsletter? Please forward it to them!

Understanding Special Education
The Iowa Family & Educator Partnership is committed to helping families and educators better understand the special education process. To do this, we offer printed and electronic materials on a variety of special education topics. Click on the documents below to learn more about them.
These bookmarks share shortcuts to locate information in the IEP/ IFSP. The reverse side provides space to list team members contact information.
This brochure will help explain FEP supports and services available to families & educators through the IA Family & Educator Partnership.
This document will help families prepare for an IEP meeting. It offers guidance on what to expect before, during and after the meeting.
Functional Behavior Assessment A Functional Behavior Assessment is a way to help you and the school understand why your child is showing problem behavior. This brochure will help you understand that process.
A Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP) is designed to increase (reinforce) positive behaviors and decrease problem behaviors. This brochure will help you understand how and why a BIP is developed for some students. 
Child Find is the process used to determine if a child needs special education services and supports. This brochure will help you understand the what, how, when and more in reguards to the child find process.
All of these documents and more are also available at:

Learn more about Family & Educator Partnership and access resources at
Great Prairie AEA | 800-622-0027 | www.gpaea.org