Leading through crisis

During this time of uncertainty and the ever-changing challenges of educating Iowa’s students due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Central Rivers AEA is committed to to supporting district leaders and their school communities. We have gathered a collection of resources to help you as you lead your district through this unprecedented time.

Central Rivers AEA has gathered a list of talking points to be used with districts’ stakeholders in regards to Covid-19. Topics included are

  • Well-being
  • Connectivity
  • Start date
  • How staff are spending their time
  • Budget

Please contact Beth Strike, Director of Creative Services & Communications if you have any questions or would like assistance addressing stakeholder’s concerns.


During this time, Central Rivers AEA’s Crisis Response Team is available to assist with any traumatic event that may occur in a district or community. If you have a serious illness or death caused by COVID-19 or any other means, the Crisis Response Team has put together a protocol to guide your response during these times of social distancing and school closure.

Communication during this time is extremely important and two groups that are a priority are your staff and board. Below are ideas that our agency has utilized in an effort to keep all of our staff and the board of directors well-informed during this challenging time. If you need any assistance crafting a communication, please reach out to Beth Strike at bstrike@centralriversaea.org.

The Iowa Department of Education has created a webpage with pertinent information and guidance related to Covid-19. Guidance will be updated as additional information becomes available. The DE has created a Template for Continuous Learning, that contains a checklist for schools to consider critical aspects regarding the development and delivery of voluntary and required educational programming through continuous learning options.

Also, the Iowa Department of Public Health has developed guidance for businesses, including schools to follow during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Iowa School Public Relations Association (ISPRA) has put together a collection of resources from state and federal agencies, as well as information that ISPRA members have communicated to parents, staff and community members in Iowa school districts. Use these resources to support your own district’s efforts to communicate important information around COVID-19.  For more information about communicating with stakeholders, contact Beth Strike, Director of Creative Services & Communications at bstrike@centralriversaea.org.

Board management ideas:

  • Calm, reassurance and frequent communication with the school board.
  • Sharing with the board that you are engaged in frequent communication with the DE and AEA on student learning and district management.
  • Giving the board space to share personal struggles with Covid-19.
  • Share with the board all staff communication so they know what you are doing.

For those needing assistance with pay resolutions, here is Central Rivers AEA’s COVID-19 Pandemic Pay Resolutions for hourly/non-exempt employees and for contracted, salaried and management employees. Please feel free to change to fit your district’s needs.

Staff engagement ideas:

  • Hold regular all-staff meetings through Zoom.
  • Clearly share that staff should not feel guilt for working from home and giving themselves grace.
  • Honorable intention.
  • Finding some fun activities – what they appreciate about the district, sharing pet photos etc.
  • Share information with your staff regarding caring for their well-being. Dr. Dana Miller, Central Rivers AEA School Psychologist has put together a very helpful tip sheet to share with staff.

In an effort to support our healthcare providers on the frontlines,  Central Rivers AEA Creative Services department is using resources to provide PPE, . If your district has a 3D printer and you are able to help, this document has detailed instructions on how to print the much-needed face shields.  If you have any questions, please reach out to Phil Hendricks at phendricks@centralriversaea.org.