Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Vendor Feature: Interface

With over 40 years of experience in producing innovative, lasting flooring solutions, Interface America is our vendor partner for educational flooring. Under our contract, Interface offers its portfolio of Nora rubber flooring, LVT, and carpet tiles. They also provide one-on-one consultations to meet the demands of every square foot in your facility.

What can be appreciated about Interface is not only their quality products but also their dedication to improving the overall student experience and well-being. If you are curious about the intentional design of K-12 learning environments – and the design of classrooms in particular -- Interface can help. 

To learn more about the contract and flooring options available, view their online site dedicated to K12 education here. To speak with someone directly about the needs in your building(s), contact:

Interface America
Amy Simmons 
Account Executive
*Be sure to reference contract #IFB 020-B for carpet & resilient flooring

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Food Safety Goals for the New Year

As we close the book on another year and find our cafeterias recharging and goal setting for the new year, this seems like a perfect time to “refresh” the staff and students on food safety.

Thank you to our small wares prime vendor, Rapids Wholesale Equipment Co., for providing the information below (including market basket items) as a little “food for thought” for food safety goal setting in 2022.

Start 2022 by establishing, evaluating, and/or modifying your food handling procedures.

If you're a school food service director or team member, you know just how important it is to follow proper food safety protocols - an outbreak of food poisoning at your establishment means more than just sick customers. It can hurt your business in several different ways.

That's why it's important to take the time to go over your existing procedures each year (or more frequently). This check should include making sure you are following the four major steps (clean, separate, cook, and chill) and that you have the tools you need to safely handle your food.

If you find you need to stock up on any new small wares, Rapids has you covered!

1. Keep it CLEAN
Regularly clean your hands, prep surfaces, utensils, and anything else you use to prepare your food to prevent cross-contamination.

For more general cleaning supplies, the Winco six-quart cleaning pails are color-coded to prevent cross-contamination. Green pails are used for soap solutions, while red is for sanitizing solutions (and even have a helpful formula printed on the side!).

2. SEPARATE to Stop the Spread
Cross-contamination is one of the biggest food poisoning culprits. Make it easier to separate foods that can spread germs (like raw meat and eggs) with products specifically designed to help!

The market basket has a variety of 18" x 24" cutting boards in four assorted colors and a brown 12” x 18” cutting board. Each color represents what the board should be used for: green is for vegetables, red is for raw meat, yellow is for poultry, white is all-purpose, and brown is for cooked meat.

3. COOK to the Proper Temperature
Heating foods up to the recommended temperature from the safe minimum internal temperature chart is necessary to kill any harmful bacteria that can cause illness.

As your food finishes cooking, confirm that the internal temperature is within the safe zone with a probe thermometer.

A few market basket options are the Taylor digital thermocouple thermometer with folding probe and the CDN folding thermocouple thermometer.

4. Don't Let Foods CHILL Out 
Don't wait to put perishable foods in your refrigerator or freezer. Cold temperatures help to inhibit the growth of bacteria, so refrigerate all food within two hours (within one if it's above 90°F).

Before you put your food in the fridge, label it with a Cambro 2”x3” dissolvable food rotation label (available in packs of 100 OR 250). These labels help you implement a proper first-in-first Out (FIFO) system, and dissolve underwater in less than 30 seconds when you are done using them!

All great reminders, as we say goodbye to 2021 and gear up for 2022!  Do you have a helpful tip you could share or a food safety reminder day scheduled with your staff??  We would love to spotlight your cafeteria by featuring you on the AEA Purchasing Twitter Feed and Facebook Page!!

Not an AEA Purchasing Cooperative Food Member?  We would love the opportunity to talk… email

Thursday, December 16, 2021

Vendor Feature: Midwest Technology Products

​Midwest Technology Products is an AEA Purchasing vendor partner specializing in the resell of industrial arts, vocation and technology equipment for your curriculum needs AND is based right here in Iowa (Sioux City)!

Support Iowa vendors and save with our contract! Contract details can be found here.

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Ways to Encourage Literacy During the Holidays

Happy Holidays! What books will you be sending home with your students to read over the holidays?

Every student in Iowa has free access to hundreds of excellent eBooks, audiobooks, and databases in MackinVIA.  Have your students download the MackinVIA App and download the books they can read over the winter break offline!

As you consider how to encourage literacy at your school, you may be interested in the ideas in these quick reads: 

A lot is happening in our school libraries and we appreciate the work that you do for your students and community.  A blog post to contemplate: Using Book Challenges As An Opportunity for Growth In Your School Community.

As we seek to provide resources for students to see themselves and develop a deeper understanding of others, you may be interested in this fantastic webinar series Lifting Voices: Celebrating and Advancing Diverse Perspectives.

Add some of your favorite titles to your school’s MackinVIA by visiting

All Iowa schools receive additional discounts off Mackin’s already competitive online prices through AEA Purchasing's AEPA contract (#020-C)!

  • Additional 8% off for print books
  • Additional 7% off for eBooks and digital audiobooks
  • Additional 3% off for Makerspace
  • Additional 3% off for Multimedia (DVDs, Blu-Rays, MP3s)
To connect with Mackin and grow a love for reading in your students, reach out to:

Mindy Romero
Local Sales Rep
Toll-Free: 800.245.9540

Monday, December 6, 2021

December Vendor Promos!

Have you checked out the latest info and specials from our vendor partners?

What are you waiting for? 

Check out our December promotions today! New content is added daily.

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Portolite mounds are available from our vendor partner Partac/Beam Clay!l

From our partner, Partac Peat/Beam Clay:

Portolite mounds key for one of nation's largest baseball tournaments

More than 700 teams playing on 50+ fields. When Event Director Brandon Hardy of Triple Crown Sports Baseball Division says he knows the durability of Portolite Pitchers Mounds, he means it.

Hardy oversees the Omaha SlumpBuster Tournament for Triple Crown, which is held annually to coincide with the College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska.

"These mounds are the toughest in the industry," said Hardy. "They hold up to incredible wear from our tournaments and programs. And you can't beat the portability."

Triple Crown first took a look at Portolite game mounds because so many of their baseball events were held on softball and non-high school fields, so there were no permanent mounds.

Pitchers were throwing from a flat surface. The Portolite 6" One-Piece Game Mound helped give Triple Crown a competitive edge – a way to differentiate their events.

With a tournament the size of the SlumpBuster, field staff have to move mounds around a considerable amount. Portolite's lightweight design makes that an easy two-person job. And Hardy is a big fan of the efficiency.

According to Hardy, Portolite has dominated Triple Crown baseball diamonds for the entirety of his 16-year tenure with the company.

"Portolite is a superior product," said Hardy. "Players, coaches and our event staff all believe in these mounds.”

Hardy said he's even recommended Portolite mounds to many facilities around Omaha after they've hosted Triple Crown tournament games.

If your school is interested in Portolite game mounds, look no further than the AEA Purchasing contract with Partac Peat (AEPA - AEA BID #018.5C)! 


Partac Peat/Beam Clay
Denise Pierce, Bid Manager
800-247-BEAM [2326]