38 school districts added to Iowa’s teacher leadership system

Screen Shot 2015-12-10 at 2.50.43 PMIowa Department of Education Director Ryan Wise today announced the next group of school districts chosen to launch local teacher leadership plans through Iowa’s Teacher Leadership and Compensation System.

Thirty-eight school districts have been added to the state system, bringing the total number of districts in the teacher leadership system to 332 of 333 Iowa districts in the 2016-17 school year.

“With higher expectations for all students today, we must do everything we can to support the complex work of teaching,” Wise said. “I’m pleased that so many school districts have shown they share this commitment by joining the teacher leadership system.”

Iowa’s teacher leadership system, which taps into the expertise of top teachers to improve classroom instruction and raise student achievement, is the centerpiece of the state’s landmark education reform package passed by the Legislature in 2013. It is the nation’s most comprehensive teacher leadership system. About 25 percent of Iowa teachers will be in leadership roles when the system is fully phased in.

The system paves the way for more support and greater collaboration for all teachers to learn from each other instead of operating largely in isolation within their classrooms.

All Iowa school districts have applied to join the teacher leadership system. The 38 newly accepted districts will implement their teacher leadership plans in the 2016-17 school year. The remaining district, Riceville Community School District, will refine and re-submit its plan for approval.

School districts in the teacher leadership system are at varying stages. Some are in their second year, while others are gearing up for participation.

A recent report on the first year of Iowa’s teacher leadership system found progress has been made toward each of the system’s five goals, including attracting new teachers, retaining effective teachers, promoting collaboration, rewarding professional growth and effective teaching, and improving student achievement. In addition, students in the first 39 participating school districts saw a jump in proficiency rates on state math and reading tests.

School districts are chosen for the system based on recommendations of the Commission on Educator Leadership and Compensation, which evaluates applications.

Districts that apply to start teacher leadership systems are required to set a vision and goals for what they plan to accomplish. They also must address “must-haves,” such as setting a minimum teacher salary of $33,500, improving entry into the profession through efforts that include mentoring new teachers, and a rigorous selection process for leadership roles.

The teacher leadership system cost nearly $50 million in fiscal year 2015. That amount is expected to grow to about $150 million annually by fiscal year 2017, which would enable all districts to participate.

AEA 267 congratulates the following newly accepted districts that we are privileged to partner with:

  • Dunkerton
  • Hubbard-Radcliffe
  • Lake Mills
  • St. Ansgar
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