Prairie Lakes AEA achieves full accreditation 

Prairie Lakes Area Education Agency has achieved full accreditation from the Iowa State Board of Education at its regular board meeting held Wednesday, Nov. 16. The accredited status indicates that the agency has met all requirements for services designated by Chapter 72 of the Iowa Administrative Code.

“As an agency, we take the accreditation process very seriously and use it as an important way to receive feedback about our strengths and areas of improvement,” said Dr. Susie Meade, chief administrator. “We continually strive to ensure that our services are of the highest quality and this designation by the State Board of Education affirms that.”

In the accreditation process, each of Iowa’s nine Area Education Agencies (AEAs) undergoes an intensive review of services designed to ensure that the agencies are meeting all requirements. The process includes interviews with representative local school personnel as well as agency staff members. Each of the nine AEAs have full accreditation status. 

Prairie Lakes AEA serves almost 34,000 students in preK-12th grade. In addition, over 2,500 educators in 38 public school districts and 11 accredited, nonpublic schools, rely on Prairie Lakes AEA for services in special education, school technology, media, and instructional/curriculum support. The agency's service area reaches 14 counties and over 3,000 square miles. The agency also provides direct services to families and children from birth-age 3 through Early ACCESS. 

Among a number of strengths noted by the accreditation review team, the agency was applauded for being committed and responsive to the needs of its local schools, and appreciates the agency's collaboration and commitment to the state's focus. The team also noted that our staff are clear on both individual roles and roles within the system, and shared that districts and parents are complimentary of our services. Areas of recommended focus include English Language Learners, Section 504, behavior, and gender fair/equity.

“The Iowa legislature created Iowa’s AEAs almost 50 years ago to ensure that every student in Iowa has effective and equitable access to important educational services and programs,” Meade said. “Today, our staff remain dedicated and  provide direct services to families and students, while also continuing to partner with teachers, administrators, and others to ensure each child has access to high-quality services.”

A full copy of the report and