AEA 267 buys Pipac Center in cost-saving move

The Area Education Agency 267 (AEA 267) Board of Directors has approved the purchase of the Pipac Center from its owner at a price far below its estimated worth. The agency plans to use the facility for professional trainings for area educators as well as to consolidate its Cedar Falls-based staff and operations into one building. The board plans to sell its three buildings on Cedar Heights Drive and will use the proceeds to offset the $4 million purchase price and renovations of the Pipac Center.

“This is a win-win situation for everyone,” said Sam Miller, AEA 267 Chief Administrator. “We have long needed a space that would get all of our Cedar Falls-based employees under one roof as well as provide large-scale conference space for the thousands of teachers, parents and community members that we invite in every year for trainings and meetings. It makes economic sense for us at the price we have agreed on and it would fill this quality-built facility in the Cedar Valley with children, families and educators. This purchase is squarely rooted in our effort to ensure that we have the best programs and services available to meet the needs of those we serve.”

AEA 267 recently contracted with Struxture Architects to complete an independent facility study, which estimated a cost of approximately $3.1 million to renovate its Cedar Falls locations. The ongoing maintenance costs of housing staff in three separate buildings has taxed the agency’s budget and made it difficult to fully integrate programs and services. The purchase will enable AEA 267 to move from three separate Cedar Falls facilities to one facility ensuring that fewer resources go toward renovation, and capturing ongoing savings in maintenance and operation.

“This facility meets their needs and saves them money in the long run,” said Dr. Jane Lindaman, superintendent of Waterloo Community Schools. “The AEA helps so many children and educators in the Cedar Valley. It will be nice to see the Pipac used for this purpose.”

“As an agency devoted to professional learning and service to the Cedar Valley and our surrounding schools and communities, this location will serve to greatly enhance our services,” said Dr. Debra Rich, AEA 267 board president. “From a fiscal perspective, reducing our maintenance and overhead costs is also critically important. This allows us to do just that.”

The AEA 267 board will hold a public hearing on the sale of their existing buildings on Cedar Heights Drive sometime in the spring. The agency hopes to move its operations into Pipac around July 1, 2017.

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Iowa AEA Online: A great resource for Iowa’s students & families

Does your child have an endangered species project to complete? Reference information can be found in the Britannica School Online edition, a truly multimedia encyclopedia. Does your child need to create a presentation about a different culture? Try the resource, CultureGrams for an inside look at cultures around the world and within the United States. Or does your child want a photo of Derek Jeter? The resource, AP Images, will have many photo options that can be downloaded and used by your child for their learning. Does your child need a nonfiction book about volcanoes? The resource, TrueFLIX, has several eBook titles that can be read by the child and also includes an option for the book to be read aloud to the child.  

Area Education Agency 267 (AEA 267) offers all of these online resources and more to area students and educators served by the agency through a cooperative with all of Iowa’s Area Education Agencies. This statewide collaborative project provides no-cost access to 14 high-quality, web-based resources for all Iowa PreK-12 grade students and teachers and is known as Iowa AEA Online.

These electronic, across-the-curriculum resources allow all schools, regardless of financial or geographic constraints, to offer a “library without walls” that is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, from any Internet-accessible computer, at school or at home.  Iowa AEA Online resources give your child access to a wealth of information for assignments, classroom projects, and personal interest.

Your child can access these online resources at using the username and password for their specific school building. To learn more, contact your local school teacher librarian or an AEA 267 media and technology consultant. (Remember, the license for these resources limits use to student and school related activities.)  

Cheryl Carruthers, AEA 267 Service Area Supervisor of Media Services

Cheryl Carruthers, AEA 267 Service Area Supervisor of Media Services

Cheryl Carruthers is a library media specialist and supervisor with Area Education Agency 267, which serves over 62,000 students in school districts representing 18 counties in north central and eastern Iowa. 

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AEA 267’s Kirstey Ewald honored with Distinguished Service Award

Kirstey Ewald, AEA 267 Consultant for School Improvement

Kirstey Ewald, AEA 267 Consultant for School Improvement

Kirstey Ewald, AEA 267 Consultant for School Improvement has been awarded the Distinguished Service Award from the Iowa Council of Teachers of English (ICTE). This is the highest honor given by the Iowa Council, which is an affiliate of the National Council of Teachers of English. 

Prior to joining  AEA 267 in August of this year, Kirstey taught high school English for twenty years. She has served in various leadership roles and is currently the conference chair for the ICTE and an advisory board member/facilitator for the Iowa Writing Project.

The ICTE’s Distinguished Service Award is given to an instructional leader whose service to English Language Arts has contributed significantly, with local, regional, state or national impact in his or her own school district, area education agency, college, or other institution. 

Kirstey was chosen for this award due to her vision for the ICTE, which has helped make the organization a place of connection for all teachers. Her colleagues voice their admiration, saying that it is Kirstey’s passion that allows others to reflect on their own thinking and practices, while experiencing true professional growth.

Please join us in congratulating Kirstey on being honored with this prestigious award!

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AEA 267 to change name to Central Rivers Area Education Agency in 2017

Citing a desire to present a more unified image and take advantage of timing, the AEA 267 board of directors made a decision during their October 5 meeting to change the agency’s name from Area Education Agency 267 to Central Rivers Area Education Agency.

“The board rarely makes unilateral decisions, but in this case we felt it was appropriate to move ahead without a lengthy process that detracted from the important work that our staff and schools have to do ,” said Roberta Kraft-Abrahamson, AEA 267 board vice president. “The timing is right given recent conversations around updates to facilities, the fact that our website is in the midst of a complete overhaul and many of our building signs are in need of replacement. From a dollars and cents standpoint we had to make these improvements anyway. Why not take advantage of the timing and forge ahead?”

Previous site visits from the Iowa Department of Education echoed the sentiment that others have had about the agency’s current name for years–that it honors the past three organizations that merged back in 2003 but doesn’t project an image of one organization.

“In my many conversations with staff and the educators that we serve, the name conjured up images of “AEA 2-6-7” rather than one organization,” said Sam Miller, AEA 267 Chief Administrator. “Given our limited resources, if we were going to make this change, now was the time.”

The new name will be phased in around the first of the year when the new agency website is launched. Supplies bearing the agency’s current name will be used up throughout the spring and the official changeover will take place on July 1, 2017.

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Public input sought on Every Student Succeeds Act

image003Iowa Department of Education leaders will hit the road this fall as part of a statewide tour to gather public input as they develop a plan to meet the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

ESSA, which replaces the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 and will be fully implemented starting in the 2017-18 school year, provides a more reasonable balance between the role of states and the federal government in accountability for the success of all children. Under the reauthorized law, the federal government sets expectations, and states determine how schools will reach them.

Nine public input meetings will be held across Iowa from September through November. Each meeting will open with an overview of ESSA and the Department’s goals for developing the state plan.

“We all have a stake in the success of our students and schools, and engaging Iowans will be key to successful implementation of ESSA,” Iowa Department of Education Director Ryan Wise said. “Our goal is to build a system of accountability and support that drives student achievement and makes sense for Iowa. These public input meetings are one important way the Department is listening to what Iowans think student success should look like.”

The Department is also engaging education stakeholders in following ways:

  • Facilitating a state advisory committee representing the K-12 education system and parents. The ESSA Advisory Committee will provide input on pieces of Iowa’s ESSA plan.
  • Consulting representatives of education associations, state legislators, the higher education community, other state agencies and the business community.
  • Incorporating stakeholders’ voices into Department-led work teams that are drafting components of the state plan.

State plans must address academic standards, assessments, school and district accountability, and special help for struggling schools. Iowa’s state plan will be submitted to the U.S. Department of Education no later than July 2017.

All public input meetings will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. Meeting dates and locations are as follows:

Monday, September 26
Meeting location:
Heartland Area Education Agency
Room 107 A/B
6500 Corporate Drive, Johnston

Tuesday, September 27
Meeting location:
Green Hills Area Education Agency
Halverson Center for Education
24997 Highway 92, Council Bluffs

Tuesday, October 11
Meeting location:
Keystone Area Education Agency
Rooms D2-D3
1400 2nd Street NW, Elkader

Thursday, October 20
Meeting location:
Northwest Area Education Agency
1520 Morningside Avenue, Sioux City

Tuesday, October 25
Meeting location:
Mississippi Bend Area Education Agency
Muscatine/Scott Rooms
729 21st Street, Bettendorf

Wednesday, October 26
Meeting location:
Prairie Lakes Area Education Agency
Rooms A, B and C
824 Flindt Drive, Suite 105, Storm Lake

Wednesday, November 2
Meeting location:
Grant Wood Area Education Agency
Winter/Spring/Autumn/Revere/Stone conference rooms
4401 6th Street SW, Cedar Rapids

Monday, November 7
Meeting location:
Great Prairie Area Education Agency
2814 N. Court Street, Ottumwa

Wednesday, November 9
Meeting location:
Area Education Agency 267
Rooms B/C
3712 Cedar Heights Drive, Cedar Falls

For more information on Iowa’s plans to meet the Every Student Succeeds Act, visit the Iowa Department of Education website.

Iowans also can submit questions and feedback by sending an email to

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