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The purpose of the Focus Area Program is to provide public schools, accredited non-public schools, and school districts with the development, implementation, and evaluation of evidence-based literacy, numeracy, student engagement, and Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) practices.  The delivered services include:  implementing the Iowa Core learning standards; developing and sustaining effective curriculum, instruction, and assessment practices; improving literacy and numeracy student performance and closing student achievement gaps; creating highly effective student learning environments that elevate content rigor, learning relevance, and personalized learning opportunities; and building MTSS processes to meet every student’s learning needs.  These services are delivered through specialized AEA content consultants assisting teachers, teacher leaders, and principals with attaining high levels of learning for all students within the focus areas.  The Focus Area Program and Collaborative Partnership Program are integrated.  AEA consultants assigned to school-based teams may also provide focus area content.

The Focus Area Program provides leadership for the Mississippi Bend Area Education Agency’s support for the Iowa AEA Compact Outcomes.

Iowa AEA Compact Outcomes

Over a three to five-year period, the New Compact pledges co-ownership for student learning goals between Iowa’s Area Education Agency State System and Iowa’s public and non-public accredited schools in collaboration with the Iowa Department of Education. Our goal is that by 2018, every child in Iowa who graduates will be fully prepared for success in post-secondary studies, a career, citizenship, and in life!

To achieve this, we need to ensure that:

  • Every Iowa child is proficient in reading by the end of third grade.
  • Every child has the math skills needed to succeed.
  • Learning gaps between students with disabilities and those without are reduced by at least half.
  • That students enter post-secondary opportunities with the skills and attitude they need to succeed.

Our commitments:

  • We’ll ensure you have access and support to implement evidence-based best practices in your classroom, building or district.
  • We’ll support you in fully implementing the Iowa Core while staying true to our commitment to identifying and serving students with unique needs.
  • We’ll direct our resources toward services that research tells us will make the biggest impact.
  • We’ll work together more to be one system of AEAs that collaborates, shares resources and looks more alike no matter where you go in Iowa throughout the course of your career.
  • We will deliver on our promise to provide quality, specialized services based on individual student, building and district needs. 

Primary Contacts

Dr. Cindy Lewis
Literacy Coordinator
Bettendorf Service Area
(563) 344-6390

Holli Ebizo
Administrative Assistant
Bettendorf Service Area
(563) 344-6442

Faith Gallea
Administrative Assistant
Bettendorf Service Area
(563) 344-6543

Sarah Harbaugh
Numeracy Coordinator
Bettendorf Service Center
(563) 344-6201

Shane Williams
Student Engagement Coordinator
Bettendorf Service Center
(563) 344-6351

Karinne Tharaldson-Jones
MTSS Coordinator
Bettendorf Service Center
(563) 344-6428

Program Services

The following services are provided to schools and school districts:

  • Content Standards / Iowa Core
  • Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment (Evidence-Based)
  • Literacy
    • Reading/English Language Arts (Early Literacy Implementation)
    • Reading Recovery Program
  • Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS)
  • Numeracy (Mathematics)
  • Student Engagement
    • Career & Technical Education (Perkins Consortia)
    • Competency Based Education
    • Personalized Learning
    • School Technology
    • Science
    • STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics)
    • Technology Integration & Software Support

Service Descriptions

Outcomes (Effectiveness)

The Focus Area Program is monitored and evaluated through its program outcomes, program data, participant surveys and evaluation feedback, and regional needs assessment feedback.  The school-based consultants and administrators, in partnership with school-based participants, use data-driven decision-making teaming techniques to sustain a strong service delivery partnership.  The program is also evaluated by ongoing data collection and advisory needs assessment such as the Profile of Services, Statewide AEA Satisfaction Survey, and specific educator advisory groups.

Program Outcomes

  • Iowa AEA Compact Outcomes
    • ​​​Every Iowa child is proficient in reading by the end of third grade.
    • Every child has the math skills needed to succeed.
    • Learning gaps between students with disabilities and those without are reduced by at least half.
    • Students enter post-secondary opportunities with the skills and attitude they need to succeed.​
  • All elementary schools are fully compliant with Iowa’s Early Literacy Initiative (Iowa Code §279.68).
  • Students complete advanced mathematics coursework.
  • Students have learning environments that address their personal learning needs and accelerate student access to rigorous and relevant content at their level.
  • Students have tiered instructional environments that successfully prepare students for postsecondary success.
  • All schools and school districts have multicultural gender fair and equity assistance to meet the needs of all children and students.

Program Feedback

  • Program data collected, analyzed, and evaluated by AEA consultants and administrators with data-driven decision-making and participation by school-based educators.
  • Teachers participate in annual advisory meetings providing specific AEA service feedback.
  • Profile of services data are gathered and monitored annually to ensure schools and school districts have equitable availability of AEA services.
  • Administrators and teachers complete evaluation surveys, respond through advisory processes, and have an opportunity to complete the annual Iowa AEA Satisfaction Survey.  These data points are used to continuously provide feedback to improve AEA services to children, families, schools and school districts.  The following are general data points used to inform AEA service effectiveness. 
    • Met the professional needs of educators
    • Assist educators with Federal and/or state mandates
    • Had a positive impact on schools (continuous school improvement)
    • Assisted in improving instruction and/or job related practices
    • Created and maintained a good working relationship
    • Is responsive to student learning needs
    • Assisted in improving student achievement
    • Provided leadership to meet emerging educational needs


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.  Focus area services provide the following education system efficiencies:

  • Access to evidence-based strategies to improve student learning through supports and professional development in literacy, numeracy, student engagement, and MTSS.
  • Access to the statewide development and implementation of the Iowa Core.
  • Access to curriculum, instruction, and assessment support system for teacher leaders.

Resource Allocation

  • 10% of Human Resources
  • 33 AEA Staff Members
    • 4 Leaders
    • 27 Field Staff
    • 2 Support Staff


Participation: (Equitable Availability of Services)

All public schools, accredited non-public schools, and school districts participate in focus area services.

Supporting Evidence: 

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

The Focus Area Program develops and collaborates with schools and school districts to address literacy, numeracy, student engagement, and multi-tiered system of supports (MTSS).  These focus areas are aligned to Collaborating for Iowa Kids (C4K), the Iowa System of AEAs and Iowa Department of Education implementation partnership, goals. The focus areas directly aligned to delivering AEA services to schools and school districts that support closing the achievement gaps and improving reading, mathematics, and science student performance.

Alignment of AEA Standards for Service:

Focus Area 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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