Monday, March 3, 2014

Van Meter to Receive TLC Grant

Van Meter Community School District to Receive Teacher Leadership Grant

I am pleased to announce today that the Van Meter Community School District is in the first group of Iowa school districts selected to launch teacher leadership systems next school year.

Teacher leadership systems will allow teachers to work in greater collaboration with colleagues and school administrators to improve instruction and increase student achievement. Out of Iowa’s 346 school districts, 146 applied to start teacher leadership systems in 2014-15 and 39 were selected. Of those, two districts will share teacher leadership systems. A list of all selected school districts is at the end of this press release.

We are excited for the opportunity to continue the development of our teacher leadership system. Increasing leadership capacity in our district is not only great for our teachers, but will have a positive impact on student learning. 

Teacher leadership systems are the centerpiece of Iowa’s historic 2013 education reform package. They stand to be the foundation for implementation of other state reforms, such as high academic standards. With higher expectations for all students today, it is critical to better support the complex work educators must do.

Teacher leadership systems will be phased in over the next three years across Iowa, with the goal of all districts participating by 2016-17, although whether to do so is a local decision. The Commission on Teacher Leadership and Compensation recommended which districts should be in the first group. Iowa Department of Education Director Brad Buck made the final decision.

Our district’s teacher leadership model includes instructional strategists, mentors, and PLC leaders who will work closely with classroom teachers to better meet the individual instructional needs of students. Teacher leaders will be paid stipends in exchange for taking on extra responsibilities.

Districts that applied were required to set a vision and goals for the teacher leadership system in their community. Requirements include setting a minimum salary of $33,500 for full-time teachers, providing intensive mentoring for new teachers, and adopting a rigorous selection process for applicants for teacher leadership roles.

Districts selected will receive about $309 per pupil next school year to implement their teacher leadership systems. The annual cost statewide is nearly $50 million in FY15, growing to about $150 million annually in the third year. After the initial year of district implementation, their teacher leadership funding rolls into the Iowa school finance formula.

The next step for school districts is selecting teacher leaders. Gov. Terry Branstad’s FY15 budget recommendations include $4 million for the Iowa Department of Education, working with Area Education Agencies, to provide technical assistance and leadership development for the districts in the first group implementing teacher leadership systems in 2014-15.

We are very excited to be one of the first district in the state to receive support from this grant. It will support our work to personalize learning for each student's success today, and tomorrow.

The selected districts, enrolling about one-third of Iowa students, are:
Cedar Rapids
Council Bluffs
East Marshall
East Union
Greene County
Humboldt (in collaboration with Twin Rivers)
Le Mars
Mount Pleasant
North Polk
Rock Valley
Sioux City
Southeast Polk
Twin Rivers (in collaboration with Humboldt)
Van Meter
West Des Moines
Western Dubuque

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