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Mississippi Bend AEA
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The purpose of the Early Childhood Program is to provide birth to five-year-old children, families, and preschools with early learning technical assistance.  The delivered services include:  assisting families with individualized family service plans to meet birth to preschool aged children’s unique developmental learning needs; facilitating the continuous improvement of preschool education and meeting the needs of diverse learners within preschools; and coordinating early childhood supports with community and governmental agencies.  These services are delivered through specialized AEA early childhood teachers and consultants directly to children and their families that have specific and unique developmental delays and/or disabilities, and preschools.  These services also include physical therapy and occupational therapy. 

Primary Contacts

Mary Shihadeh
Coordinator of Early Childhood
Bettendorf Service Center
(563) 344-6265

Sara Gerard
Administrative Assistant
Bettendorf Service Center
(563) 344-6268

Lorry Wilson
Head - Early Childhood
Bettendorf Service Center
(563) 344-6527

Sarah Lehman
Bettendorf Service Center
(563) 344-6271

Program Services

The following services are provided to children, families, and preschools:

  • Child Find – Individualized Family Service Plans (IFSP)
  • Early Childhood Services
    • Early Access
    • Early Childhood Coordinating Council
    • Early Childhood Education
    • Early Childhood Professional Development
    • General Education Consultants
    • Iowa Quality Preschool Programs
    • Parent & Educator Connection Program
    • Parent & Educator Program Resource Library
    • “Partners”
    • Program-Wide Positive Behavior Supports
    • Quad-City Early Childhood Conference
    • Ready to Learn Conference
    • Statewide Voluntary Preschool Program
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Physical Therapy

Service Descriptions

Outcomes (Effectiveness)

The Early Childhood Program is monitored and evaluated through its program outcomes, program data, participant surveys and evaluation feedback, and regional needs assessment feedback.  The teachers, consultants, and administrators use multiple data points to ensure delivery of high quality services.  The program is also evaluated by ongoing data collection and advisory needs assessment such as the Profile of Services and specific educator advisory groups.

Program Outcomes

  • All children are ready to learn entering kindergarten.
  • All children have learning supports to meet their diverse learning needs, including special education services, so that these children are successful in school.
  • All preschool educators receive high quality professional development and learning opportunities to continually improve teaching and learning for preschool aged children.

Program Feedback

  • Program data collected, analyzed, and evaluated by AEA teachers, consultants, and administrators with the involvement of families and preschool educators.
  • Profile of services data are gathered and monitored annually to ensure schools and school districts have equitable availability of AEA services.


An expectation of area education agencies is to support and provide educational efficiencies within a statewide education system.  AEAs, in Iowa, were established, in 1974, to provide such resource efficiencies.  Early childhood services provide the following education system efficiencies:

  • Access to educational supports for birth to three-year-old children.
  • Access to diverse learner supports for preschool aged children.
  • Access to professional development learning opportunities.
  • Access to coordination of early childhood supports by the AEA partnering with community and government agencies and schools and school districts.

Resource Allocation

  • 13% of Human Resources
  • 40 AEA Staff Members
    • 2 Leaders
    • 26 Field Staff
    • 2 Support Staff


Participation: (Equitable Availability of Services)

Screening processes are utilized to find children in need of services and partnerships have been established will all eligible preschools.

Supporting Evidence:

Alignment to the Agency’s Reading, Mathematics, and Science Goals

Early Childhood services provides AEA services to children, families, preschools, and schools that support getting children ready to be successful in school.  Readiness is an essential strategy to close achievement gaps, increase graduation rates, and improve reading, mathematics, and science student performance.

Alignment of AEA Standards for Service

Early Childhood services address the following AEA Standards of Services:

281—72.4(1) School and Community Planning
281—72.4(2) Professional Development
281—72.4(3) Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment
281—72.4(4) Diverse Learner Needs
281—72.4(5) Multicultural Gender Fair
281—72.4(6) Media Services
281—72.4(7) School Technology
281—72.4(8) Leadership

Standard Alignment Document

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