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School Improvement

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Iowa’s model of accreditation and school improvement utilizes state and federal law and rule to position the Iowa Department of Education (Department), area education agencies (AEAs), local education agencies (LEAs) and other agencies and programs to engage in continuous improvement. Differentiated Accountability is the process developed in 2015-2016 to move schools and districts further in improvement efforts. For more information, see the Differentiated Accountability (DA) System webpage.

Chapter 12 Matrix

Offer-and-Teach Guidance: High School Education Requirements

Annual Notices and Deadlines for Public and Nonpublic Schools

Equity Education

2021 Legislative Session: School Improvement and Accreditation Changes Guidance - Summarizes new accreditation and school improvement requirements or changes to existing requirements made in Iowa Code during the 2021 session of the 89th General Assembly for Iowa districts and accredited nonpublic schools.

School Improvement Team

The School Improvement Team assists accredited districts, accredited nonpublic schools, and AEAs in continuous school improvement efforts and with accreditation standards. A school improvement consultant may assist with the following topics:

  • Charter Schools
  • Comprehensive School Improvement Plan (CSIP)
  • Desk Audits
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Nonpublic School Accreditation
  • Open Enrollment
  • Private Instruction (Home Schooling)
  • School District Waivers and Exemptions
  • Senior Year Plus
  • Specially Accredited Schools

The following contact information includes the monitoring assignments of each school improvement consultant. Schools, school districts, AEAs, and members of the public should contact the consultant assigned to their AEA for general school improvement related questions or contact the consultant assigned to specific topics.

Contact Information

Grimes State Office Building
400 E 14th St
Des Moines, IA 50319-0146

General Number: 515-281-8402

Fax Number: 515-242-5988

Hours: 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., Monday-Friday (Except State Holidays)


Tina Wahlert
Chief, Bureau of School Improvement


Holly Barnes

  • Monitors and provides technical assistance for Mississippi Bend AEA 9
  • Exempt schools assistance
  • Independent Accreditation
  • Nonpublic School Accreditation
  • Specially Accredited Schools
  • Superintendent Notes
  • Equity

Janet Boyd

  • Monitors and provides technical assistance for Green Hills AEA
  • Charter School Consultant
  • Online schools

Buffy Campbell

  • Monitors and provides technical assistance for Keystone AEA and Central Rivers AEA
  • Contact for private instruction (i.e., home schooling)

Eric Heitz
Administrative Consultant

  • Monitors and provides technical assistance for Heartland AEA
  • CASA assistance
  • Differentiated Accountability​ Equity

Sara Nickel

  • Monitors and provides technical assistance for Great Prairie AEA
  • Open Enrollment
  • Equity
Marietta Rives
  • Monitors and provides technical assistance for Grant Wood AEA
  • Equity 

Pam Spangler

  • Monitors and provides technical assistance for Prairie Lakes AEA 8 and Northwest AEA
  • Contact for whole grade sharing
  • Coordinator for feasibility studies (school district reorganization and whole grade sharing)
  • Equity