Meredith Allen presented and helped my staff with tech integration on February 15th and it went wonderfully. Meredith was prepared, engaging, and met all learners at their technology level. Thanks Meredith can’t wait to have you back again!

Travis Popken – MS/HS Principal & Director of Technology, Harris-Lake Park

I just wanted to thank Meredith for taking the time to visit us during J-term. It’s always fun to have guests join us for the awesomeness! I really appreciated the MakeyMakeys she brought and thank the tech team for letting us use the Spheros stash. Most importantly, the resources and planning time she shared with me are what helped make my Coding class a big success. We had some very enthusiastic students on board!

Finally, I’d like to say it has been a pleasure working with her this year and I look forward to many more collaborative hours.  

Becky Kinnander
School Social Worker & At-Risk, Technology, ILCC Adjunct Professor

Thank you Julie Graber and Meredith Allen for meeting with us and helping to create a vision and action plan for our elementary media position.  We appreciate your knowledge and sharing of resources to help Jodi get her year started.  Thank you for also coming on our professional development day to help get our program up and running and move in the right direction!

Nancy Kriener
Director of Learning and Development
Spirit Lake Community Schools

At 10 a.m. Thursday, [September 18, 2014], the State Board of Education was presented the PLAEA Site Visit report. Our DE Consultants … made specific mention of two positives that stood out in the report. . . . These were services that were highlighted by our district partners in the many interviews that took place during our site visit in March of 2014. PBIS and technology integration earned positive mentions at the State Board meeting.

Jeff Herzberg
Chief Administrator
Prairie Lakes AEA

Hi Scott, thanks so much for working with us last Wed. evening. I could see that our board and staff were taking it all in with everything that you shared and encouraged us to look at in regard to Technology Infused instruction! We have a way to go yet… but good pieces are in place for us to move forward.

I really liked how you presented the BrightBytes data. I’m still new at using this tool. We would like to have you back in the fall to talk with our teachers!

Pam Ewell
Van Buren CSD

Erin, just wanted you to know that I had a few of your students in my homeroom today and they were pumped. You definitely made an impact today. Thank you for going the extra step and helping lead one of our sessions this week.

Melissa Devereaux
Newell-Fonda Community Schools

Just want to say that this was one of the most relevant, user friendly professional developments I have participated in in a long time.  It was easy to follow, implement, and relevant to my everyday practice.  I would definitely attend any other sessions offered by Erin Olson and Leslie Pralle Keehn.

Kirsten Doebel
Fort Dodge Community Schools

I thought this [Connected Educator] course was very helpful and relevant to my life / career. I’m excited to apply what I have seen and learned to my students and classes and even fellow teachers!

Leah McField
St. Edmond Catholic School

The Connected Educator class was very beneficial to me as an educator. So many times, PD is not relevant to me as a music teacher, but this class on the use of Twitter was great! Both Leslie and Erin are very knowledgeable, approachable, and were wonderful at helping when I ran into issues.

Thank you for offering this worthwhile class!

Gayle Strom
Storm Lake Catholic School

I just wanted to take a moment to express my appreciation to Erin and Leslie for the wonderful experience that they guided me through. They were a great team that clicked and worked well together. Their presentations were clever and relevant. They made the whole experience a very enjoyable one. I am excited to take my new learning and continue to grow with it.
Thank you!

Wendy Rice-Larson
St. Mary’s High School

Scott McLeod provided the Southeast Valley School staff with a great day of professional learning on Wednesday, November 19th. Thank you! We are very appreciative for high quality service.

Lois Irwin
Prairie Valley CSD

Julie Graber spent the better part of 2 hours with the Laurens-Marathon MS/HS staff exposing the Defined STEM program and all it has to offer teachers of all grade levels and subject areas.  This was time well spent.  Defined STEM is a powerful resource and Julie did a nice job of presenting it in a way that led every teacher to a connection with the resource.  Julie’s presentation offered a lot of things. On the surface, she was able to show staff how to find complete performance tasks that could be incorporated into existing curriculum as assessments that required true transfer of skills with an authentic purpose.  I think I valued the smaller aspects of the resource that Julie was able to reveal.  One would be Defined STEM as a resource for nonfiction grade level literature on a wide variety of topics.  Nonfiction Literature is something that is a key component to the Iowa Core and often very hard to find and fit into many subjects.   Resources are only good if they are used and used correctly.  Julie left teachers understanding how that can be accomplished with Defined STEM.  Some, of course, won’t take advantage, but Julie was able to take every individual who had desire inside the resource to a place where it could help that individual.  In some cases, she followed up days after the presentation to make sure needs were met.

Troy Oehlertz
Laurens-Marathon CSD

Wow… Julie, thanks for the information on Defined STEM … I wish I had been paying attention last fall as this is an incredible resource … I genuinely am looking forward to working with you with the multitude of opportunities we’ll have in the coming months and years!

Kevin Fiene
East Sac County CSD

Jeff, I wanted to thank you and the AEA for your support in the form of the Technology Integrationist Team.  Scott McLeod and Mike Anderson were instrumental in the development of our J-Term experience this year.  They aided our District in leading professional development opportunities as well as offering their assistance whenever it was needed. They were an outstanding support and resource for our administration and staff.

We had our culminating J-Term experience last Friday evening.  We had many community members attend the event and the students did an outstanding job presenting their artifacts and research.  Mike Anderson was present for the experience as well.  A big thanks to him for making the trip over here!
Just wanted to take the time to thank you for what you do and the team you have developed within the AEA.  Have a good one!

Matt Berninghaus
Armstrong-Ringsted CSD

The team of Technology Interventionists were great Monday, January 13 in Clarion.  Erin Olson’s presentation was particularly moving and inspiring.

Robert Olson
Clarion-Goldfield CSD

I have worked with Julie Graber through virtual meetings in developing professional development for our staff and I am thrilled that we were able to connect and collaborate together.  She provided excellent resources, listened to the needs of our district, and promptly responded to questions and requests.  Julie walked us through activities that she suggested as well as provided support and understanding as we are working through a climate change and a shift toward student centered instruction.  Her expertise has made the process of collaboration very easy and applicable to our goals in professional development.

Alicia Nelson
Curriculum Director


Thanks so much for the workshop you provided for our staff here at the Fort Dodge Middle School! The staff was very receptive to the way you presented the material as well as the content. One of the things I heard repeatedly from the staff was to have more workshops provided and in smaller groups. I don’t hear things like that after in-services very often so congratulations to your success! In the near future, maybe you, Stacey, and I could find a time to discuss you coming back to our building to provide more learning opportunities for our teachers.

Ed Birnbaum
Fort Dodge Middle School

Leslie Keehn spearheaded a fantastic project for my second grade classroom. We wrote “choose your own adventure” stories. Due to lack of time to write a lengthy email, please check it out at… bit.ly/neh2ndstories

She did a wonderful job working with my students and clearing her schedule to meet our classroom time constraints. The kids loved the project, and the final result was amazing! We would love to work with Leslie again in the future. She is a valuable resource we are lucky to have access to…

Laura Seiser
Northeast Hamilton CSD

Erin and Mike did a fantastic job at our iPad training yesterday. They had the teachers engaged, they providing thought provoking questions, and raised many of their interest levels with using technology! WAY TO GO!

Cody Tibbetts
Elementary Principal
Albert City-Truesdale CSD

Mike Anderson has been assisting my Junior history students in the creation of a video documentary, from a technology standpoint. I emailed him and asked him for help, not knowing what to expect. He immediately replied and offered to be present in my classroom to demonstrate and trouble shoot. He contacted our technology director, Brian Ruff to communicate with him about our equipment and capabilities. Mike emailed me back with ideas and then arranged 3 or 4 days that he would visit my classroom to work directly with students. Mike did a terrific job!

Mike was very approachable and comfortable to work with. I immediately felt that he listened to me and the students, understood our needs, and became part of my classroom in just minutes. He has a warm and patient personality that put me at ease and made it easy the students to ask him for help.

I would not hesitate to contact Mike again for help if I need it. He is a wonderful addition to the AEA staff.

Susan Strube
Emmetsburg High School

Thanks to Dr. Scott McLeod, Erin Olson, and Leslie Pralle Keehn for their help in organizing and presenting at the first West Central Iowa Tech Institute.

Special thanks to Dr. McLeod for his willingness to help structure the day for teachers, and pointing me in the direction of creating the webpage to promote the day. Moreover, it was great to have Dr. McLeod close the institute with his message of extracurricular empowerment.

Likewise, Erin and Leslie both helped me plan out the structure of each session so that we reserved time for teachers to create! Just like we want students to create in our classrooms, Erin and Leslie recommended we reserve half of the allotted session time for teachers to create a lesson, project, or unit based on their learning. Kudos to the two of them.

It is my hope that this tech institute becomes an annual event for Coon Rapids-Bayard and school districts in West Central Iowa.

Brent Jorth
Coon Rapids-Bayard CSD

Erin rocks! Erin has spent some time with me sharing sites and programs for use in my middle school reading classroom. I have tried several things so far, and am excited to keep going down my ever-growing list. I love her enthusiasm! It is very helpful that she used these programs and sites in her classroom and has the experience to share on how best to use the resources. She is always sending sites or programs she feels I might like. I love seeing emails from her.

She is an unbelievable resource!!! Thanks Erin!

Kim Harken
Clay Central-Everly CSD

I was a part of the Science/Health conceptual unit design group led by Julie Graber. Overall, it was an excellent day. Julie was very prepared and did an excellent job of reviewing the key concepts (of the beginning steps) of conceptual design. She also provided the teachers with additional resources that were very much appreciated. I also felt Julie was patient with the teachers and let them “vent” a little, but quickly redirected them to more positive thoughts/work. Again, it was a very productive day and I was pleased with what the teachers accomplished!
Thanks for all you’re doing to help us implement the Iowa Core and deepen the learning in our classrooms!

Alynn Coppock
High School Principal
Newell-Fonda CSD

I just want to take a quick second to thank Mike Anderson, Leslie Pralle Keehn, and Erin Olson for sharing their knowledge pertaining to I-pads and the best educational apps. to use with them.  They did a fantastic job working with the Elementary staff and hopefully sometime second semester we will be fortunate enough to get them to come back again.  GREAT training!!!!!!

Aaron Davidson
Pocahontas Area CSD

I would like to thank the three tech integrationists for helping us put on a great PD today. We are implementing iPads in our lower elementary and I wanted to come up with a way to implement them so that they were useful and not overwhelming. So, we invited the group to come and between them, myself and the district tech coordinator, we did small group sessions.

The sessions went great and the teacher response was positive.

The team was so helpful in all the stages of planning this PD. We were able to kick the idea around with Mike and Leslie and then eventually meet with Erin to start fleshing it out. Then we were able to collaborate and share docs and ideas so easily. It was great to not have to worry that not being in the same building would be an issue. These techs are easy to access and were always helpful and had positive attitudes.

I look forward to bringing them back into the district and into our buildings and establishing connections for teachers and kids. There is so much potential for everyone.

Thanks again team! You were/are great!

Emily Whitehead
Technology Integration Specialist
Pocahontas Area CSD

Julie Graber facilitated our PG&D Monday, October 7, 2013. She used a padlet, after showing teachers how to create one and organize it, to facilitate a discussion on Stage 3 of Concept-Based Curriculum & Instruction (CBC&I). Then we looked at a Concept-Based Unit and critiqued it, building on our knowledge of CBC&I and our growing expertise. It was a well developed unit, and we had several commendations, but we also had several suggestions on how to improve it. Lastly, we looked at a resource for rubrics, registered, and began building our libraries for our current units and future units. During all of the work and discussion, Julie worked with us to stretch our skills, provide structured opportunities for us to practice and share, and develop confidence in our growing expertise. She balanced the new learning with challenging work, discussion, and reflection, so that we could see how we could support each other and be independent learners using CBC&I. The afternoon block provided an opportunity for teachers to use the new skills, new resources, and apply it to current units. The day flew by- well planned, well facilitated, and everyone worked hard!

Sarah Binder
Stratford CSD

Scott, thank you so much for presenting to our staff yesterday. The reviews I got to day of how things went were outstanding. They felt like they got some very good information and lots of time to work with it and digest it so they are ready to begin creating lessons. Thanks so much!!

Brenda Geitzenauer
Humboldt CSD

Wednesday, September 25, during the PG&D early dismissal (2:00-3:45), Julie Graber worked with the Stratford teachers on Concept-Based Curriculum & Instruction. She balanced new knowledge, supported with discussion and great resources, and practice and extension, with teachers applying new learning to the current units they are developing and implementing. Teachers are beginning to be more and more comfortable with the process. The units are google docs so teachers can continue to add to units as they develop their units, Julie can provide feedback to the co-teaching teams, and she can use what she sees in the units to stretch all teachers and/or stretch the team of teachers working no the units. As a facilitator, Julie knows when to stretch teachers, when to serve as an expert, and when to put Stratford teachers in the role of teachers developing expertise in Concept-Based Curriculum & Instruction.

Rob Stone, Drake University, was observing and he wrote a very nice write-up that outlined the work and complimented the teachers and Julie.


Sarah Binder
Stratford CSD

Dr. McLeod facilitated our School Improvement Advisory Committee meeting on October 10. He did a GREAT job! As a new superintendent I feel very fortunate to be a part of Prairie Lakes AEA.  Thank you!

Lois Irwin
Prairie Valley CSD

[Erin] Olson was in our building today and like always she did a fantastic job. She always has new ideas and gets our teachers excited about technology and the opportunities available. I enjoy working with Erin.

Cody Tibbetts
Elementary Principal
Albert City-Truesdale CSD

Hi Dennis & Erin,

I have to share with you a couple projects I am working on with my 6th graders, because both projects relate to information you have shared with me.

I enjoyed reading the email you sent me (Mr. McClain) on teaching students with their passions in mind, and Erin, I so enjoyed hearing the stories you have related to me with your teaching projects that relate to changing the world.

So, my students are writing plays (using Google Docs — sharing the same document as they write plays in small groups). My only condition was that they write their plays about topics they are passionate about and would help change the world for the better. We brainstormed ideas and 4 groups evolved very naturally. The play topics are: Humane Treatment of Animals; Fitting in without having to change oneself; Saving endangered animals that are not cute –(this was a spin-off from a Scholastic News  article we had just read); and drug abuse.

My students are soooo excited. The first day of writing went great (I videotaped them working); the next day one of the groups of 4 boys told me they worked on it online for 2 1/2 hours the previous night! A group of 6 girls also worked together online the same night. They are eager to put on their plays for lower elementary and parents. So they are excited! We will see if they are long enough plays to produce, but I am totally willing to give it a shot.

The second project I am working on this weekend is a grant application for $1,000 to get camcorders for my students to use. Then I could have Erin come to my class to teach students iMovie or other movie-making applications. This grant application is through Delta Kappa Gamma Society, of which I’m a member. I’ll let you know if I get awarded the grant. Won’t know until March and it can’t be used until the following school year..but it’s a start.

All for now,

Clay Central-Everly CSD